The IAFR Blog

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Going to Bosnia!

January 26, 2022

Bosnia Herzegovina is in the Balkans of Europe. Click to open in Google Maps.

Why we're headed to Bosnia Herzegovina

Bosnia lies along a complex, difficult, and underserved stretch of the refugee highway – just the kind of place IAFR is looking for!

While it doesn’t get a lot of media attention, Bosnia has been on our radar for years. We’ve spent the past 6 months researching the refugee situation there. It is now time to take a firsthand look.

What are we learning?

Bosnia is recovering from war and hosting refugees.

Andy Pollock is leading our research team. He notes:

"The 1992-1995 war in Bosnia Herzegovina resulted in over 100,000 deaths and produced two million refugees. 25 years later, the country is still recovering. And now it finds itself host to thousands of people that have fled war and persecution in their distant homelands and are determined to press on deeper into Europe before formally requesting asylum. But it isn't easy as surrounding nations have militarized their borders to keep refugees and asylum seekers out."

An epic journey seeking safety and freedom

Men, women, and children are among the refugees and asylum seekers stuck in Bosnia. Most are from Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are on an epic journey in search of safety and freedom. They have put everything on the line only to find that they are unwanted in country after country.

Many people take shelter in abandoned buildings and makeshift shelters. Food, water, heat, and access to proper sanitation facilities are limited. Living conditions are extremely difficult.

In the words of a report released this month:

"...migrants transiting through [Bosnia]... are subject to extreme risks along the route, and become vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse." -IOM (click to read the full report)

Followers of Jesus need to show up in places like this.

We plan to establish a team there before the end of the year. Why? Because followers of Jesus and our communities of faith need to show up in tough places like this as a tangible sign of our loving and faithful God.

MaryRuth Davis is on our research team to Bosnia. She has spent the past five months on a US military base serving Afghan refugees. It was her first exposure to people from Afghanistan. She recently commented,

"I’m excited to see another stretch of the refugee highway that many Afghan people are taking in search of safety. I’ve grown to love them and look forward to meeting them in a different context in which they receive far less support and are more vulnerable.”

Please pray for the February research trip.

Would you join with us in prayer as the research team visits Bosnia in early February? Some prayer points include:

- Favor with authorities, refugees, and the people of Bosnia

- Wisdom and discernment to identify where the future ministry should be established

- Safety and health

We look forward to sending you an update this spring.

Partner with us!

We believe that followers of Jesus and their local communities of faith should be at the forefront of welcoming and rehumanizing marginalized people. The God we worship sees, hears, and cares deeply for them. And so must we.

That's why we equip and mobilize the Church to help people survive and recover from forced displacement.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the work of IAFR!

- Tom Albinson

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