Seeing effects of war reminds Americans of all that we have

Seeing effects of war reminds
Americans of all that we have

Perhaps the best way to make Americans understand how good we have it here is to send more teen-agers like Lindsay Bonanno and Erika Porsche overseas and then let them speak about what they’ve seen.

Bonanno, of Millstone Township, and Porsche, of Howell, spent two weeks on a goodwill trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia in July with the financial backing of their church, the Hope Lutheran Church, Freehold Township.

The New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America coordinated the trip and members of 12 other churches statewide were involved.

The two 17-year-olds joined the mixed group of adults and teens to help rebuild and restore churches and orphanages in one of the most war-ravaged areas in the world.

It is apparent from listening to these two young women that the trip made impressions on them that will last a lifetime. They saw the devastation war has — not only on the infrastructure of a nation, but on its citizens as well.

"We knew once we went into Bosnia, even when we were driving in and just passing the border, what the war had done. We saw it get worse and worse," Bonanno said.

"The devastation throughout Bosnia is incredible. You could see it all over, driving down the roads, looking at buildings," Porsche said.

These two young ambassadors are able to capture in words the horrible images they saw, and perhaps by telling their story they are able to make the rest of us understand just how much we in America have to be thankful for.

Both teens said what shocked them more than the conditions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia was the generosity of the people there. Though the people had little to share, what they did have they shared willingly with the foreigners who had come to lend them a helping hand.

The human spirit, it seems, can be trampled on by war but not broken.

Porsche summed it up best when she said, "It reminds you, more than anything else, that we’ve always lived in a very safe place, but unfortunately it’s not like that all over and people need whatever help you can give them."