Investing in Bosnia's future

21 Oct, 2013 | Bosnia & Hercegovina
OM International
Marisa wants to become a doctor, but cant afford many basic school supplies. So OM Bosnia stepped in to help.
Jessica Streu, a worker from OM Bosnia’s team in Bihać, has a passion for education. In Bosnia many school children cannot afford to pay for books and supplies. So, God laid it on Jessica's heart to start a scholarship fund for talented high school and university students from needy families. Last year the programme sponsored three students—now it has grown to five. This is how she met Marisa*.

Marisa is an intelligent, fun-loving 18-year-old girl, who receives high marks in school. She dreams of becoming a doctor, but her family can't afford the long and expensive process of medical school. They were thrilled when Jessica told Marisa that OM Bosnia would be giving 150 euros toward her education.

A shopping trip was in order, as Marisa needed textbooks, notebooks, and a jogging suit and shoes for her physical fitness class. Marisa had already picked out two jogging suits on sale when Jessica picked her up from school, but they discovered when they arrived at the store that the suits had already been sold. But God had a better plan in mind.

Marisa’s eyes lit up when she saw jogging suits in the children’s section for half the price of the adult suits. The salesperson protested, but Marisa was unfazed.

“If it fits, why does it matter?” she said, choosing a purple suit.

Next they looked in several stores for the right shoes. They finally found “the pair” hidden on the bottom shelf. As they purchased the shoes, Marisa confided that she had never in her life had a jogging suit or new, brand-name shoes.

“I couldn’t help but think how unworthy I was to be the one to take her shopping,” Jessica said. “She was very conscientious, wanting quality but not willing to waste money.”

Their last stop was the supermarket, where Marisa purchased food for lunches. The cafeteria is much more expensive than homemade lunches.

“When we arrived at Marisa’s home with all her treasures, I realised just how special this girl really is,” Jessica said, explaining that Marisa walks 45 minutes to school every day, rain or shine. Their home still bears the pockmarked holes of the civil war in its façade, and neither one of her parents has been able to find a steady job for years.

Marisa made it clear Jessica was not to come into the house, but that they would drink coffee in the garden because “it’s more suitable”. While the coffee brewed, Marisa showed off her purchases and tried on the new jogging suit for her mother. She stood on a chair to see her reflection in the window, and with a cute little pose, looked down at her mother and Jessica and said, “Oh, how I look beautiful!”

As Jessica left, Marisa and her family showered her with gifts of vegetables and grapes from their garden—their only way of paying her back.

“How I hope the Lord makes it clear to Marisa that it is He who provided these gifts for her,” Jessica said, “and He has been constantly watching over her since the day she was born. I am only a messenger, but this was a wonderful day to be a messenger!”

To learn more about the work of OM Bosnia, go to their news web page.

Credit: OM International · © 2013 OM International This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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