Flooding stirs response in Eastern Europe

Baptist Press
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Posted: May 22, 2014 4:52 PM
KRALJEVO, Serbia (BP) -- In the midst of the worst flooding Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina have faced in 120 years, International Mission Board and Baptist Global Response representatives are working to meet needs and share hope.

Heavy rains hit the Eastern European countries this month, 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, 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 have also helped clear debris from homes.

The Serbian people have shown tremendous resiliency since the disaster, Josh and Kristen say.

"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 have been collecting supplies and helping repair homes, Kristen and her other four children have been praying together for the Serbian people and baking cookies to be given away. Josh hands out bags of cookies and a Bible to anyone he meets, sharing a message of hope.

Franka, president of the Union of Baptist Churches, 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 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."

Kristen agreed: "Our prayer is that many will come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior through this awful tragedy."

Pray:

-- 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.

To learn more about how you can help flood victims, visit gobgr.org.

*Last name omitted for security reasons. Nicole Lee is a writer for the International Mission Board based in Europe. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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