Hostilities Test Army MettleAs the task of relief, reconstruction and restoration continue in Sipovo, Bosnia, The Salvation Army is playing a significant role in the healing of the war-torn former Yugoslavia.
In addition to supplying personnel and funding for administrative needs, the Army is serving at least 600 meals a day, with the potential for supplying an additional 100 food parcels per week to shut- ins. The field kitchen shares a partially restored kindergarten building where the Army also operates classes for 44 youth ages three to five for two hours each day.
According to Army reports, returning hope to the country is a primary objective of Salvation Army relief programs. It is also reported that the spiritual aspect of Salvation Army work has already been noted by the population and numerous opportunities have been given to share the Gospel.
“The Salvation Army has been warmly welcomed into the community, and expressions of gratitude have been made stating that we have come and stayed,” a report notes. “There is increasing cynicism of international agencies who visit this devastated area with temporary relief and return in the evening to the comparative comfort of (the city of ) Banja Luka.”
By contrast, the Army’s continuing presence in Sipovo is not only reassuring to the residents, but it is one of the few current sources of employment for some. The five major factories were looted of their machinery and are now occupied by the international troops known as IFOR, who along with some small shops and the Army are the only source of jobs. The Salvation Army is in the process of formally registering as a non-governmental organization (NGO).
Financial and personnel reinforcements are also being sent from the United States. Captain Pat Kiddoo, Central Territory, has been installed as program director, replacing Major Alan Hickman, United Kingdom Territory.
A recent anonymous donation of $500,000 from a private individual in the U.S. was used to fund the prototype projects of reconstruction of a school and clinic and an income regeneration/loan scheme. In addition, U.S. National Headquarters, has supplied setup costs of $50,000 for salaries, travel, office, vehicle administration, and other needs and IHQ has delivered a Land Rover and other items for use in administering programs in Sipovo.
From an IHQ News Release report by Mark Kellner –