Thursday, June 2, 2011

They Walked Off the Path

For Lent this year I fasted from non-Christian music and all books besides the Bible. During the first two or three or maybe even four weeks into Lent I thought of Lent as a time to suffer (in a very small, minute way) like Christ. But I wasn’t really open to what God wanted to show me.
Half way through Lent I was out with my friend Anna we started talking about war and the military and things of that sort. I started sharing about some of the things I saw in Bosnia when I lived there with my parents when I was little. After talking about it for a few minutes she told me that people could try to argue with me about war, but most of them could never relate to all I saw and the reason why I feel so strongly against war. That conversation really made me think. I think God used that to open my eyes to see why He had me there when I was so little. Yes, I was too young to really tell people about Christ, but I think He had me over there more for me than for them.
My first really scary memory of being in Bosnia is being in the house we lived in for two years and hearing some really freaky music start playing from somewhere outside. It sounded like someone saying something in a foreign language.  It turned out to be the “Call to Prayer”. Maybe people have no clue what the “Call to Prayer” is. It’s a muslin tradition where they all stop when they hear the creepy, scary music and pray to Allah. They do this five times each day. So, during our two-year stay in Bosnia we heard it five times a day each day. (Even though we never stopped and prayed to Allah.) After a few weeks of it I kind of got use it, but during the winter the guy singing always sounded sick; I never knew why. The “Call to Prayer” turned out to be one of the less creepy things in town.
The aftermath of the war in Bosnia is a totally different story. But, like the “Call to Prayer” it wasn’t uncommon.  We saw countless buildings that had been bombed out during the war – buildings where families had lived, eaten, laughed, and played chess (which was very popular there.) All of which was destroyed. During the Bosnian war families were torn apart as people from both sides died.  Even though the war ended several years before we even set foot in Bosnia, you still saw many of the horrors of war.
We met many people who had family members and friends that died in the war. Some had loved ones that went and never came back, and they never knew what happened to them.
Another thing after the war no one ever thinks about is the landmines that never went off. Kids were being taught in school to never go off the road for fear that they would find a landmine as they stepped on it. When you walked into a school in Bosnia you would see bomb awareness posters instead of drug awareness ones like you see in the US. When you are driving down the road and have to pee really bad and there is not gas station to stop at, you don’t really have a choice of going in the woods for fear of a landmine. They still waited on the sides of roads and fields to feel pressure on them so they can do that they were made to do: destroy whatever is near them. While we were over there, two kids were walking home from school and wandered off the path. Because of it they lost their lives to a landmine that was never meant for them. But it didn’t matter whom it was meant for, they still lost their lives that day. I never met those school boys, but they had families and friends, people who loved them. Because of war their lives were cut short. They probably didn’t know who the one and only true God was. They might have had bowed down five times a day to pray to Allah. They might have been taught for their short lives that it pleases Allah to kill. No one knows those answers.
Those two kids wandered off the path and faced the aftermath of war, and they didn’t live to tell about it. There are many more people all over the world who still face what war has felt behind. I wrote this blog post because so many people really don’t know the true destruction of war. Even though it has been 10 years since I’ve been in Bosnia I still remember all these things.
Since my conversation with Anna about war and the reason behind my living in Bosnia, (and after I talked to God about it) I feel like God put me there while I was five and six to let me see the things I saw because He knew that one day I would grow older and be able to tell people what it was like and what I saw.
This is what God showed me during Lent and also since then.


  1. Oh, Candace, that is awful. But the compassion you're feeling is not.

  2. Candace, this is incredible. People can argue over different opinions and views, but you can never argue against what you personally saw. That's yours, and I think it's great that you're using it for God's glory.