On Friday evening the 490 Christian centre runs a bible training school that Marija teaches at. Here is Marija with a couple of the students Trieche and Oliver.
Saturday morning saw me on a walking tour of Skopje with Aleksander. First to the main Orthodox church and then onto the old fortress walls called Kale, with the river Varder in front of it.
We walked through the old part of the town that was built in the Ottoman period and now is the home to the small stalls and markets like any souk or bazaar and sells amongst many things unusually for nowadays real fur coats and jackets. Then having toured the castle walls we walked through the town centre in warm autumn sunshine to the old railway Station where the clock stopped at 5.17 pm on 26th July 1963 when a major earthquake shook Skopje. Over 1,000 people died and over 200,000 were made homeless. The Railway building was never repaired and stands now as a museum.
Where we were was right next to the Mother Teresa monument house. She was born here in Skopje. The architecture of the house is strange to say the least and has been built it seems to me like a almost a idol to her.
Then onto a wonderful meal at Aleksander and Elena's home, where we caught up on the news of each other. This is when I really wished that Ann was with me as Elena really enjoys Ann's company.
Sunday morning saw us getting a taxi to the 490 Christian Centre church who hold their meetings in a rented hall with theatre style seating. The preacher was a visiting Kosovo Albanian from Gjakove! (the 490 comes from How many times must I forgive my brother? 70x70). Then for a fish a chip lunch Macedonian style. A wonderful big salad followed by chunky chips, not french fries, which is what you find nearly everywhere here, followed by the fresh fish excellently cooked.
After a brief respite it was off again to Naomi's, the 4 yr old daughter, birthday party in a nearby hall. It was all kitted out as these places are with the music and games and food to suit the children whilst the parents sat in a side room in quieter surroundings and fed good Macedonian fare. There I had chance to talk to Zoran, one of the church leaders, and hear about the history and leadership structure of the church.
Time to move on this time to "Glasnost", their youth church; but not really youth rather 18-28's. What started as a youth church has of course grown older! This operates quite separately it seems from the main church and is planting churches in other parts of Macedonia. An interesting chat with one of the leaders Alpin, afterwards over kebabs was called for until late. Then home and to bed.
Now time on Monday morning to write up this blog, post some cards to my family, pack my case and in a few minutes they will come to take me away! To the Aleksander the Great Airport and home via Budapest. So interesting to see how God is yet again at work in a very different culture from home. Lets see what doors God will open from these last two and a half weeks in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia.