Members aid peacekeeping mission

Since December 1995, when the peacekeeping mission began, there have been nearly 900 members of the Church deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and neighboring Hungary.

Military members make a significant contribution to the peacekeeping effort, performing the often tedious but valuable services of guard duty, patrolling, weapon storage site inspections and riot control.Most are young service members, separated from their families, many for the first time.

For many, the Balkan area is more than a war zone. Some struggle with feelings of loneliness, isolation, fear, intense stress and weariness. For many who deploy, there is a personal mountain to climb.

Despite the sacrifices, the value of deployment can be seen in the eyes of the children here, who no longer live in fear for their lives. Instead, they eagerly wave as convoys pass.

In June 1996, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve stood upon the ruins of the Turkish Fort overlooking the once-beautiful city of Sarajevo.

He gave a priesthood blessing over the region. As he prayed, a miracle seemed to take place that day as the sounds of hope resonated from the valley below - the sounds of a city, and even a whole nation, coming alive again. The sounds of construction, children in the streets, traffic in the city and church bells wafting over the valley could be heard.

Though the threat of war still looms over the area, those deployed to the Balkans believe their sacrifices are not in vain, but are helping to restore peace in the Balkans.

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