Hey Friends & Family!!!
A university student I had met the day before texted me through WhatsApp, inviting me & my friends for some coffee. I was going to go alone because for our team it happened to be a Sabbath day where we spent time contacting family, soaking up more scripture, and just spending time alone.
I invited everyone and most said no because they had other coffee dates or phone calls planned.
My roommate Davena was also going to say no but she heard the Holy Spirit say “go.” So praise God for her obedience in going with me!! She ended up walking with me in the cold to this coffee shop that was about a 10 minute walk past a couple of streets.
When we arrived, two of our University friends, Era & Rea (pictured in the above group photo), were waiting for us. Both are absolutely beautiful Albanian women. We talked, we laughed, we asked about their culture and they asked about ours. I mainly spoke to Rea in Spanish since she’s in love with Mexican culture & food & even “telenovelas”– which are Mexican soap operas.
We started talking about how our relationship with God was very personal and it was all made possible through Jesus. We told them that even coming to Albania was something we prayed about and and that the Lord led each one of us here.
As the conversation continued, our outreach leaders (Ava & Lexie) happened to be walking past the street. We quickly called them on WhatsApp, inviting them to join conversation. This could not have been more of a Divine Appointment! God had set this up !
The conversation went deeper. We laughed and got to know each other. We all shared some stories of hardship and how Jesus brought us through. I shared bits and pieces of my time in the hospital. Lexie shared about her dad being in prison due to drugs. Davena shared about being hurt by guys. Ava started to share about her partying days and then asked the question we all had on our mind as we were sharing: “Do you know what the Gospel is?” Both girls shook their head, they had never heard the good news before.
She then asked, “Can I share it with you?”
“Of course” they answered.
It was in that moment that Davena, Lexie and I all started silently praying for Ava that she would have boldness to speak God’s Word with the leading of the Holy Spirit. She ended up sharing the 5-finger Gospel illustration and her personal testimony more in depth. Her eyes lit up as she was sharing and this caught the girls’ attention. “All your eyes get brighter when you mention this Jesus, it’s so beautiful” Rea said. We took this seed and watered it further. We talked openly about how beautiful of a friend Jesus has been to us and how a personal relationship with God is what gives purpose & meaning for our lives.
Then Era said something that made our hearts melt in awe of the glory of God. She said “I’ve Always wanted a Personal Relationship with God— but never knew that was possible.”
It was that statement that did it for me.
The Holy Spirit had been ministering to her long before we had coffee with them– and long before we even stepped foot on Albanian soil. These Muslim University students craved a deeper relationship with God and grew up not knowing it was possible. But they knew deep down in their hearts that God was there.
Jesus had been paving the way for that Divine Encounter. Since being here, these simple conversations that lead to astronomical moments have touched my heart the most. God loves these people so much. He cares for them so deeply— and we had the honor to be a part of it.
WHAT NOW? We foster the relationship! We will have time cooking with Era & Rea, getting coffee together and in time we will bring them with us to church. Albania is a relational culture. We have been told that for someone to make a commitment to Christ may take years of relationship building and seed sowing— but God is working and the harvest is ripe!!
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!