Yesterday after 4 pm we went to a family home in a hamlet just outside Librazhd, where they were just starting an Alpha course Albanian style. By that they mean they do not call it a course, that would put people off, rather they say we are meeting to have coffee and talk about a topic then people are open to coming. The 2 leaders are Ilir, bottom left and Ladi, top right who lead several groups like this. The lady in the white headscarf Ruzhdie, aged 68, next to Ann was brought up Muslim. One time when she was in bed at night she was not able to move her arms at all, they were completely rigid. For the first time she prayed to Jesus to help her and immediately she was able to move her arms. She saw a beautiful face surrounded by light and a voice said I am Jesus follow me! So she has ever since. The lady sitting on the other side of Ann is Ruzhdie's daughter Mahie also a follower of Jesus and so is her son Sami who is bottom right in the photo. The young girls in the photo, Brisilda, Paola and Marcela have been invited to the Youth Camp in July that our Youth band are going to. Please pray that they want to go and that Jesus changes their lives. After we went to Ilirs home, no apostrophes on this key board, where we met his wife Donika and family, and then ate a delicious meal with boiled potatoes for once. After the children were in bed we talked about many things including buildings and finances.
On Monday when we met with Ilir and Rudina they took us for coffee in a cafe 13 stories up that overlooks Elbasan. The video clip shows some of the mountains and hills overlooking the city and the number of apartments blocks, pallati, that have been built in recent years. Elbasan was built on the via Egnatia, the Roman road that led from Rome to Constantinople, now Istanbul. It has been and still is the main highway for traffic from Italy and Albania to Macedonia, northern Greece and Turkey. It follows the route of the Shkumbini river up into the mountains.
Today the weather has changed. Gone are the thunder clouds and it is blue sky and HOT. Local men still walk round with a thick shirt, pullover and a jacket on, where I am in my shirt sleeves. Now off to the pazaar, get lunch, change money and then to a meeting to talk about the future of childrens work here. Another day here then off to Korca. We will keep in touch Ken and Ann
Some of the varied Books I've read recently in no particular order....
The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. Another one of those books I wish I could have read 20 years ago. Excellent about how to achieve organisational health.
The Orthodox Church by Timothy Ware. very helpful in helping to understand Orthodox history and thinking. The Orthodox Church is the main church in Serbia and Macedonia.
Austria-Hungary and the orgins of the first world war. Helps with the historical background to the Balkans. The Powers at work then are still at work today, politically, economically. Samuel R Williamson Jr
Bradt Guide to Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia etc (excellent and sometimes the only guides avaiable for lesser known countries)
Jesus through Middle Eastern eyes. Opened my eyes to see the Gospels in a new way. Kenneth E Bailey