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Some of the team at upper Mokra

Some of the team at upper Mokraes in Albania.

In May a team of ten women travelled to Pogradec, Albania to encourage the churches in the remote rural villages in the southeast. It is always such a privilege to visit TEN partner Erion Cuni and the faithful leaders serving the churches in that region. Two of our wonderful team have shared their highlights.

Joy Wilson

Albania is a beautiful land of mountains, lakes, red soil, and churches full of children. Just before heading out, I received a prophesy at church to ‘sing in Albania!’ With a repaired guitar and an old keyboard, we helped to lead worship most days.

It was a real privilege to share some of our life stories during the women’s Bible studies, to hear the stories of Albanian women and pray with them. On Saturday, which was Orthodox Easter weekend, we took part in a big outreach event in Korce. Over 1,000 youth and adults were bused in from mountain villages and the gospel was preached.

Sunday morning at our Pogradec church was special as children led the worship. The church was full. Over 80% were women and children. In the afternoon, we had a bike ride and swim in Lake Ohrid. I enjoyed helping pastors Genti and Xhuli Biba lead children’s after-school Bible clubs in the mountain villages of Rodokal, Kotadesh and Katjel to an average of 70 people each time. We performed Bible stories, shared simple gospel messages, made crafts, played games and enjoyed worship. I loved how keen the children were to pray out loud and the volume of their singing!

At the end of the trip, we prayed Malachi 4:6. May God use children to turn the hearts of their fathers to God and bring men into the Albanian Church. I learnt from our prayerful team to pray immediately and always about everything. I thoroughly recommend joining a TENteam to the Balkans. Thank you, Melanie and team. It was a pleasure to serve God with you.

A craft activity
A craft activity
Melanie Griffiths speaks to the children
Melanie Griffiths speaks to the children

Hazel Trapnell

We arrived from different churches and denominations, to share our stories of encounters with Jesus, lead Bible studies, to encourage and share in the life of the young Albanian church.

Some of us were experienced in sharing the gospel in Albania, but I was ‘green’ and didn’t know what to expect. Any fears about language, food, accommodation or travel were soon put to rest. We had excellent translators and were treated very well indeed.

We shared testimonies and listened as the local women shared theirs, which were often very moving. One lady, a non-believer a year ago, explained that unable to make ends meet, she was in deep despair over her children’s futures and her own. In a dream she was visited by a man who put his hand on her shoulder and showed her some words in a book. She believes the man was Jesus and she felt that she was being encouraged to come to the year-old village church to learn more from this book, the Bible. The lady wept as she told us her story. Hers was just one of the lives being transformed.

We had to be adaptable, willing to speak informally at the drop of a hat or turn our hand to children’s work. It was an adventure and a privilege learning to work together, both us and the local team, as we travelled in small groups into remote mountainous areas over very bumpy roads, visiting bereaved families or being welcomed into house churches.

We were inspired by the dedicated and skilful pastors in these churches tending to their flocks and adding to them daily. The youngsters are being encouraged to take responsibility for the running of their churches and to use their gifts to serve.

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