God is providing for two single-parent families in ways that neither could have predicted only a few short years ago.
Life has been hard for parents this year with the COVID-19 pandemic closing parks and schools. For those unused to having their children home all day long and for kids who suddenly found themselves stuck indoors day after day, the lockdowns proved to be a tough and, in some cases, discouraging season.
Single parents who were trying to work and care for their family were hit with even greater challenges.
Sasha, World Challenge’s partner in the Eastern European country Bosnia, has found this season especially hard. His ministry is with the Roma people whose suffering, job losses and cases of domestic unrest have been acute during this pandemic. Doing this work while caring for his children and his own elderly mother has proven to be very difficult indeed.
Fortunately, he is not without a sympathetic friend.
Serving Together, Side by Side
Mirsad is another single father of five children. He is also a born-again Christian Roma from a nominally Muslim background. When he moved to Germany years ago for a better life, Mirsad had plans that God would derail with a new path. There in a new country, he accepted Christ as his personal Savior, and it was there that God called him to go back to Bosnia and Herzegovina to serve his people.
Over the past few months, life has not been easy for either of the fathers. However, they have kept in touch, encouraging one another and helping the other out whenever needed. When it’s difficult for Sasha to understand Roma traditions or conflicts, Mirsad has come alongside him and helped him learn.
When Mirsad’s eldest daughter ran away and got married to a young man whom Mirsad did not approve of, he was devastated. When the relationship soured and she returned, it was Sasha who helped Mirsad forgive and welcome her back into the family.
In this difficult season, God has been faithful to these two fathers, bringing them into ministry and friendship with one another. Truly, they can say that God has not forgotten them in the hard times. Together, they are serving the Roma communities that are struggling economically and spiritually in Bosnia.
Being Good Witnesses Together
David Mathis, executive editor of Desiring God, wrote about the importance of Christian community, especially in overcoming adversity and continuing to be good messengers of the gospel. “When Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, he addressed a community deeply embedded in the pagan world of the first century…. Into this embattled context, the apostle writes about how important the church’s life together is for our witness in society.
“’Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.’ (Philippians 1:27–28)
“There’s no dichotomy here between ‘outreach’ and ‘inreach.’ The two are profoundly connected, inseparable even. Our shared mission in the world strengthens our life together in the church, and harmony and depth in the church become powerful forces in our witness to the world.”
God put us in community to strengthen one another, encourage and exhort one another and to make us better witnesses in the world to his goodness and glory.
Whom has God sent into your life to help you and for you to help this year?