Baptists meet needs as severe floods hit eastern Europecomment (0)
May 29, 2014
In the midst of the worst flooding Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina have faced in recorded history, International Mission Board (IMB) and Baptist Global Response (BGR) representatives are working to meet needs and share hope.
The heaviest rains in 120 years hit the eastern European countries in May, causing severe damage and forcing thousands from their homes.
Josh and Kristen, IMB workers in Kraljevo, Serbia, said the death toll is rising as the water recedes.
“Please pray for this nation we love and its people,” Kristen said. “In Kraljevo alone, there are over 1,000 flooded homes and 6,000 displaced people.”
BGR released funds May 18 to purchase food for those in need. The day before, Ondrej Franka, president of the Union of Baptist Churches in Serbia, had issued an urgent appeal for food, clothing, bottled drinking water, rubber boots, blankets and other bedding and hygiene packs.
Josh and his son, Dayne, have been gathering blankets, clothes and hygiene products for distribution to those affected by the flooding. They’ve also been involved in the hard task of clearing homes of debris.
The couple said they are amazed by the Serbian people and their resiliency.
“Rather than being frozen by despair, everyone is out working, helping people and praising the Lord things were not worse,” Kristen said.
When the flood hit, one family had just completed renovations on their home, which was damaged four years ago by an earthquake. “They said they will just begin again,” she said.
While Josh and Dayne do the manual labor, Kristen and her other four children pray and bake cookies. “At least I feel like I am helping a little,” she said.
Josh gives bags of cookies and a Bible to anyone he meets, sharing a message of hope.
Franka said above all, the Serbian people need prayers.
“This is the most important as we minister to our beloved people in the name of the Lord,” he said. “This disaster can be used in God’s providence that something good may come out of it. This is a great opportunity to help Serbia and show the people and especially authorities that God cares, and not only for the physical needs of Serbian people but spiritual even more.”
“Our prayer is that many will come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior through this awful tragedy,” Kristen said.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Surname omitted for security reasons.
For ways that you can help flood victims, visit gobgr.org.
For the water to dry up quickly now that the rain is slowing.
For those who are stranded and need assistance.
For families who have lost loved ones.
For God to protect against any type of outbreak or epidemic as a result of the flood.