Adelina Cipllaka and a fellow student at ISTL
Student sponsorship is one practical and strategic step we take to support new church leaders in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. We want to see the next generation equipped for God’s purposes.
We sponsor two students, Adelina Cipllaka and Flavia Buda, who study at the International School of Theology and Leadership, a partner college based in Tirana, Albania. ISTL is one of the biggest Bible colleges in the Balkan region and enables church leaders from Albania and Kosovo to receive theological training.
Adelina says, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your financial support in the school… I learned new things but I have been challenged to practice according to them… ISTL is more than just a school for every student, it is a reflection, mentoring and example of how to lead a group where God has called you.”
We are also partnered with Illyria Bible School in Kosovo. TEN has sponsored several students in the past and is looking to do this again this year. The Mathetis Bible School in Constanta, Romania, trains people for church ministry and there are other Bible schools within the Balkans.
Until now, direct financial support from supporters or TEN grants have funded student tuition fees.
We are now exploring how we support local pastors towards local financial sustainability. This could look like covering costs such as course tuition, church rent and personal support but with a gradual reduction in funds over the duration of studies. At graduation, the hope is the trained church leader’s salary will be funded predominantly by local Christians, releasing the church to fulfil their call.
By Lucy Reid, TEN Mission Engagement Worker