Sunday, 2 August 2009

And finally...for now...

Ann and I thought it would be good to round off this series of blogs with some further information. We have focused quite rightly on Ethos playing at the Youth Camp. But we want you to know there were many other things going at the same time.

On our first day there, Ann and I had lunch with some friends Aleksander and Elena from Macedonia. They had come over the border with two of their friends to see us and catch up with what we are doing. The photo shows us having lunch together. Soon they will move to a church in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, and they have asked us to go and see them there. Aleksander is an evangelist and we have already met the senior pastor of their new church.
Not only did we transport our own guitar cases and equipment to Albania, but we took out two pieces of equipment that we left there. Edi and Artina from Korca had asked our church to provide them with a laptop computer with the usual software and some song software too. Colin Boyle our Fine Arts Director sorted the song software for them. This will be a huge help to them and raise the quality and capability of what they can do. The only computer they have had the use of was one they borrowed from Artina's workplace.
We also paid for and flew out a 16 input mixer desk for Roberti and Mira's church in Lezhe. Roberti (Robert is English, but a male name in Albanian usually ends in the letter i ) not only plays keyboard in his own church but usually at all the church gatherings in Albania he attends. They don't have a mixer desk and anyway cannot get one of the quality that we are used to here in the UK.
We also took out face paints for the children's work in Elbasan, as well as children's medicines and 4 rolls of wallpaper and wallpaper paste! You wouldn't believe what we have in our suitcases sometimes!
At the Youth Camp Roberti suggested to the other church leaders that the musicians from the churches get together soon. Not all churches know the same songs, which is the same here of course, and many of the songs that were originally written in English, have been translated differently by different people. The Albanians also want to write their own songs and encourage one another in this and maybe also use Albanian musical instruments! That will be exciting and a different sound.
When will we next go to Albania? We are not sure, maybe in the late autumn. Meanwhile we are planning for church leaders Roberti and Mira and Ilir and Donika to come to the Willow DVD conference here in Bracknell. It is so exciting to be part of building the Kingdom of God.
Thank you for your comments and e-mails. They are a huge encouragement to us. With much love,
Ken and Ann

Ethos returning

On Saturday morning we worshipped God and then we prayed in turn for each church represented at the Youth Camp. Finally we prayed for Ethos. There were many words of encouragement for people personally and for churches as a whole.

Edi Morava from Korca, who had the desire and vision in the first place for this Youth Camp, then called for people to respond to God's call to them to give their life to Him. Eleven girls and nine guys responded. Here are some of the girls who came forward...

and here are some of the guys. The guy on the right is jumping for joy!

Then sadly it was time to say our farewells. This is never done quickly in Albania! But at last we got on our way to Elbasan for lunch. As we travelled we were able to enjoy the amazing mountainous countryside. It had been dark when we arrived 5 days earlier and we had not seen just how stunnung it is. Lunch was whole roast lamb, head and everything, (yes you can eat the brains if you wish), Greek salad and chips. It went down well. It certainly got eaten quickly. Then a walk to the swimming pool to chill out.

It is not just that there is blue, blue sky and real heat, but again one is surrounded by mountains on all sides. It is such an attractive setting. As I was swimming in the pool, I met Ilir the leader of the church from Librazhd. He was amazed to see me and I him. Librazhd is where the 4 girls and 1 guy came from. (Photo on the first blog). He told me they talked none stop about the camp on the way home. All four girls have became Christians and they experienced the Holy Spirit in their life! They had read about this in their Alpha course they had been doing, but now they said we have experienced Him for ourselves. Wow! Ann and I chatted to Ilir and Donika who would like to come to the Willow Creek DVD conference.

After a swim it was definitely chill out time!
Then into yet another furgon (minibus), and on our way to Rinas airport near Tirana. A good flight home, a few slept, and then into Gatwick, collect our bags and Mick Wade met us at 11pm. Was it worth it? All that energy, planning, money, time, perspiration, preparation? Absolutely!! I am sure the guys will tell you for themselves, but for me I would do that all again any day!

Ethos were excellent, not just in their musical ability, but in their humility, openness, friendliness, kindness and giving of themselves. They were a credit not only to themselves but to their families, to our church and above all to God himself.
We have already been invited back for next year! And we look forward to catching up with you personally.
Lots of love,
Ken and Ann