Thursday, July 2, 2009

Yearbook Experience - Halim Curi

(experience of Halim Curi - pgs 195 & 196 / 2009 Yearbook)

"In 1992 the city of Sarajevo was under siege. When there were no literature shipments, we studied older magazines. Using an old typewriter, the brothers typed copies of available study articles. Although there were only 52 publishers, we had more than 200 at our meetings, and we conducted about 240 Bible studies. In November 1993, during the worst of the war, our daughter, Arijana, was born. It was a difficult time to bring a child into the world. We had no running water or electricity for weeks at a time. We used furniture as fuel, and our trips to the meetings took us through dangerous areas. Snipers fired indiscriminately, so we had to run to cross certain streets and barricades. One quiet day, my wife, our baby, Brother Drazen Radisic, and I were on our way home from the meeting when machine-gun fire suddenly erupted. We lay down on the street, but a bullet hit me in the stomach. The pain was intense. Many people saw what happened from their windows, and some courageous young men came running out of the houses to take us to safety. I was rushed to a hospital, where they urgently wanted to administer a blood transfusion. I explained to the doctor that my conscience would not allow me to take a blood transfusion. They pressured me to reconsider; but I was determined, and I was prepared to face the consequences. They operated anyway, for two and a half hours, and I recovered without having a blood transfusion. After the surgery, I needed to rest, which was impossible because of the war. We decided to visit our family in Austria. However, the only way to leave Sarajevo was through a tunnel under the airport. The tunnel was a half mile long and about four feet high. My wife carried the baby, and I tried to carry the luggage. But because of the surgery, she had to help me.

We can hardly describe the joy our stay in Austria brought us. When we left Sarajevo, we had made a promise to our brothers and to our Creator that we would return. It was very hard to leave our family in Austria, especially my mother. We explained, though, that we had promised God we would return to Sarajevo if he helped us to get out and get a bit of rest. How could we now say to God: "Thank you for helping us to come here. We really enjoy being here, and now we would like to stay"? Also, the brothers in Sarajevo needed us. In all of this, my wife, Amra, was a great support. So in December 1994, we arrived at the tunnel in Sarajevo. This time we were going into Sarajevo from the outside. Seeing us return through the tunnel, people asked: "What are you doing? Everybody wants to get out, and you are returning to the besieged city?" I cannot find words to describe the wonderful reunion we had with our brothers at the Sarajevo Kingdom Hall. We have never regretted that we returned."