Hey Friends & Family!!!
The needs of Albania are centered on Prison Ministry, Women’s ministry, youth ministry, discipleship in the growing church, and raising up a stronger foundation by teaching the Word of God.
Ministry was interesting when we first arrived. The culture here in Albania is extremely relational so for the first week and a half, outreach looked more like getting to know the Pastors, establishing deep relationships through cooking together, drinking coffee together & sharing our mutual love for Jesus together. We didn’t just get unleashed to go out in the streets and openly share the gospel at first since it’s a Muslim country. We don’t have that freedom to do so by the government. Instead, we covered the streets by praying. We pray day and night for revival to sweep across Albania & for “the man dressed in white” to appear in the dreams of His people.
After spending time getting to know the culture and getting acclimated to how this nation operates —and acclimating to the weather— we started doing more hands-on work, like serving Pastor Kristian & his wife Ersina in whatever areas they need help in.
TESTIMONY: The Abundant Provision of God Through His Orange Tree
One day Kristian took my friend Emma and me along with a shop owner and the food she set side to donate, to a house in the village/outskirts of Elbasan. What we saw when we arrived would break our hearts, and made an unforgettable impression on us.
Kristian had been ministering to this man named Luan who was in prison for 7 months. Luan told Kristian that he didn’t need anything, but really wanted his wife & two little girls to be taken care of. Kristian and Ersina would then take food, pay for electricity & even schooling for his little girls, and really made sure that they had what they needed. Around the time we came to Elbasan is when Luan got released, so Kristian took Emma and I to the house, along with a local shop owner.
We saw that the family lived in a mangled shack amidst piles of rubble. The brick lining of the walls had been lightly cemented but for the most part wasn’t finished. They didn’t have a roof, and around the house were piles of trash and broken masonry and debris– as if a bomb had exploded. The house had dirt floors, no heating, no water system or anything that we could see to fill the very basic needs of a family.
The only part of the shell of a house that had a roof was the place the family of four slept. One of the natural beauties of the house was an orange tree that served as a canopy & a natural roofing system over most of the house.
We walked in, and there was no bed, no kitchen, no stove or sink— just a small room with a medium sized couch in the middle where they all bundled up together at night. Emma and I made eye contact—and without saying a word, we agreed we would hold back our tears until we got back home to our apartment.
If this wasn’t shattering to the heart already, we went into another room of the house where there was a mere sheet as a door, no roof, and just a bucket. Our contact Kristian let us know that this was their bathroom. The shop owner who came with us to drop off the food she donated was shocked.
Kristian explained to us before that he doesn’t want to just take donations from the people for the church, but wants the Albanian people themselves to come with him when he gives their donations to the needy. By doing this, connections are made and compassion arises deep inside them for what God is doing through them.
This is what happened with this woman shop owner: She saw the devastation and not only brought the food, but offered to pay 3 months’ worth of electricity AND offered Luan a job!!
We not only got to see the suffering, but God was so good in letting us see the provision. What we noticed was that God had been providing for this family even before we got there. Luan’s wife offered us several oranges as a hospitality gift & Emma & I realized that this beautiful orange tree had been Gods provision for His people. They probably went several weeks with nothing but oranges to eat & that in & of itself was so precious. They offered us this beautiful gift, the only thing they had, as a gift for their guests. I couldn’t help but think, how much more does God gift us in our time of need?
When we got back to our apartment, the tears flowed.
From the core of my heart to yours,
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have poured into my life with prayer and finances. As a “faith missionary” all of my financial support comes from the generous donations—whether through a “one-time” gift or monthly offering— of people who believe in what I am doing. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated!