Orhan’s family struggled with poverty when he was growing up in Mostar, BosniaHerzegovina. His mother, Marina, worked as a hairdresser and also as a cleaner for a local company. His father was unemployed but picked up any manual work he was offered.
Orhan grew up sharing a small house with 11 other family members: his parents, his sister who is five years younger, his grandparents, uncles, and aunts. The house had a living room, bedroom, kitchenette and inside toilet (no bathroom).
Orhan, his sister and parents slept in the bedroom at night, and the other family members in the living room.
Orhan’s family were enrolled on Mission Without Borders’ family sponsorship programme. As a result, Orhan had a childhood filled with Mission Without Borders summer camps, special children’s events, and later on, youth meetings.
His faith had its ups and downs – but Orhan always had a sense of God’s hand on his life – and was drawn to Christianity because of the people he knew. Growing up in a Muslim community, Orhan would never have been exposed to the Bible and its truths were it not for the supporters of Mission Without Borders.
Orhan, now 20, said, “It’s always been interesting for me to observe how people in MWB's and the church are full of understanding and full of love.”
It was when he recently saw a friend of his, Vanja, getting baptised, that Orhan realised he wanted to be baptised as well. He felt that baptism was a corner stone of his relationship with God – that one piece that he was missing, to demonstrate his commitment to Jesus.
As soon as he found out that the next youth conference would take a place at Boracko Lake, at a local campsite, he felt a calling and sense of perfect timing that this is where he should be baptised. This local campsite was where Orhan first went along to MWB’s summer camp – and first felt God’s presence in his life.
Drazan Jarak, the MWB staff member who supported Orhan’s family, said, “Orhan always had big eyes as a child, wide open to everything around him. He was eager to learn and to socialise, and I’m proud of the young man he is today.