“Something is stirring,” said staff member Amy, referencing the spiritual sensitivity she sensed while watching young children dancing along during the worship evening at the end of the project. To get to this point, though, required great patience and flexibility, as the project had its bumps. At the beginning, Elna from South Africa thought that doors were shutting for her to even come. She was unable to obtain the necessary visa, meaning the trip would cost far more than she had planned. She didn’t think she would get to go, but a friend challenged her to push through to try to get to Bosnia. In the end, people donated exactly the amount needed for her to go, making it very evident that God intended for her to be there!
Another difficulty arose when the set list for the worship evening kept changing, making it hard to plan or teach choreography. However, the team rolled with the circumstances and were still able to enjoy teaching worship workshops for the kids and teens and masterclasses for the older girls. In the worship workshops, the goal was to teach dances for the worship evening. The team only had 5 hours total to teach two dances to the kids and teens, some of whom had never danced before.
The masterclasses were geared for girls already dancing at studios in Čapljina and Mostar. The time for the masterclasses wound up being shortened, another hiccup in the plan. The team taught the classes to both expose the dancers to different styles of dance than they were used to and to work with them on the technical aspects of dance – things like grace, beauty, and fluidity of movement. The group in Mostar was the studio’s more advanced dancers, ranging in age from 18 to 23. They mastered their choreography, even with the shorter time to learn.
Another interesting facet of the trip was the connection with Father Miele, a Franciscan priest who is willing and making efforts to partner with the Protestant churches in the area. His church hosted the worship evening while a local Protestant church formed one of the bands playing that evening. The church has a tremendously rich history, seeing martyrs for the faith during the Nazi occupation. A mosaic in the church pictures some of those martyrs, including a nun who is holding a watch. The watch belonged to the nun, when the head SS officer spoke with her, he urged her to consider his demand that she give up her faith. He gave her some time to consider, stating it was a matter of life and death for her. When he returned, she was steadfast in her refusal to renounce Christ. Stating that he was right it was a matter of life and death and she had chosen life. Moments before she was executed, she gifted her watch to the officer, noting that he would still have need of it, while she would not.
With this history as the backdrop, the worship evening was a beautiful testimony of the Lord’s ability to work despite circumstances. Though at least one dance had to be improvised due to another last minute set list change and the team felt the tension between performing and true worship, the presence of the Lord was sensed that night. The children got up and danced along during worship, unafraid and excited to be involved. The livestream of the concert can be viewed here.
We hope to continue to partner with the studio and our contacts in Bosnia. This trip revealed that there is much potential in the area and was able to encourage our partners there that what they are doing has tremendous value. We look forward to seeing how the Lord leads us in the future!