Terry and I are excited about a chance to travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina for a short-term mission trip – our first ever! God has provided the opportunity and the availability of time off for us to travel and we are so very thankful.
If we can raise the necessary funds, we’ll go as part of a team from our church, led by Bob and Helen Ryan. Helen leads Open Door to the World (ODW) an outreach arm of our church, Open Door Fellowship, in Phoenix and her husband Bob is an amazing musician and songwriter. The Ryans have been working for years with the people and churches of this struggling nation since the war that tore Yugoslavia apart in the 1990’s.
Open Door to the World, has worked to help bring hope and reconciliation to Bosnia since before the war’s end. Beginning with a long-term assistance program to Bosnian refugees arriving in Phoenix, and working to impact the country with yearly teams to Bosnia itself, ODW has formed long-term relationships in the struggle for peace there.
- This year, the Catfish Hunters musical duo (Terry and Bob Ryan) have been invited to perform at various venues in three towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina. What we’ve been asked to do is present songs that speak about forgiveness, hope and reconciliation to this war-scarred country. It’s a badly needed message.
Now here’s the awesome part!
Terry’s part in the team will be to use the musical gifts God has given him to minister in the cities of Mostar, Sarajevo and perhaps one other. For those who haven’t heard him, he’s now playing guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass and harmonica. Through the Coffee-bar performances, our Team’s prayer is to reach out to the communities as a connecting point between the Christians and their non-believing friends in those cities. They’ll be playing both at churches, to encourage believers, and in secular “Coffee-bar” venues to bring the message of forgiveness and reconciliation.
I hope to use my photography to capture glimpses of the stories of the Bosnian churches, people and ministries and bring them home to those who want to know more about the work God is doing there. We also look forward to opportunities to share Christ and to encourage the hearts of the believers, young churches and our own Open Door Fellowship missionary family there (the Tinlin’s) in practical ways as well. Along the way I hope to provide written and visual updates, whenever Internet access is available.
We hope to be a blessing to the people of Bosnia. And we believe that doing so in God’s name will be a blessing to us. You can share in that blessing – In prayer as we prepare and while we travel, in financially supporting this work, and by keeping in touch with what we find and experience as it happens, through our regular communications during the trip.
In a nation of several million people and fewer than 2,000 evangelical believers, the churches struggle to meet the needs of their members and to have a significant impact on their cities.
Open Door to the World ministry trips are financed through the fund raising efforts and personal contributions of team members. Your participation with us is a significant investment in the Bosnian churches and their testimony in the surrounding communities.
We would welcome any questions you have and will look forward to keeping you abreast of our plans, preparations and travels if you decide to partner with our team.
Bosnia is still filled with strife and ethnic and political division. Without Christ, there is no solution that will bring these divided people together. Your prayers and financial support will give us the opportunity to use the gifts and talents that God has given us to encourage and minister to the people of Bosnia, using the universal message of music to reach across language and ethnic barriers to share the Good News of Jesus Christ!
We’re so excited for the opportunity to use what God has given us. Here are several ways that you can help:
- Add a comment here or send an email to hannfamily[at]cox.net to let us know that you’d like to join our prayer team. We’ll keep you updated all along the way.
- Terry and I will need to raise a total of $3400 to cover the anticipated expenses for the trip. We’re about half way there! To be a part of blessing the Bosnian churches through our team, you can mail a check made payable to:
Open Door Fellowship
8301 N. 19th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85021
Important to Add: BOSNIA in the check memo field
Or go to www.ODFChurch.org now and click on the Paypal link to donate online. It’s very important to Add: BOSNIA in the memo field so they’ll know where it goes.
- ODW will be hosting a dinner and theater performance fundraiser on April 23rd and 24th. Let us know if you want information about tickets to attend. Proceeds will help with our trip, as well as others.
- There will also be a silent auction fund-raiser on that night. If you’re not able to give monetarily at this time, then maybe there’s a product, craft or service that you’d be interested in donating for the auction.
- Become a fan of “The Catfish Hunters’ Musical Bridge to Bosnia” on Facebook. You’ll find more information there, have a chance to ask questions about our trip and see what’s happening in preparation.
- To learn more about the goals of Open Door to the World visit www.ODFchurch.org and click on “Outreach”.
We hope you’re as excited about this opportunity as we are! Can’t wait to get there and see how God will use us to impact these communities.