Andy about to tuck into roast lamb, chips and Greek salad with Shaban and Elvira. All very healthy!
We met some of the folks from the church in Elbasan when we arrived and had coffee together in the basement of their new church building. It is just so good to meet old friends again. Here is Ann with Arjana and her little boy Mikah. This is Ann and Andy having just had a simple lunch of Greek salad and chips! Weightwatchers would approve!!
Wednesday morning saw us catching the bus from Lezhe saying our farewells to Rob and Mira and heading to Tirana the capital. Here we met with Shaban and Elvira and had coffee together from the lovely cups as in the photo. We met too their son Tani who leads worship in the church and then...surprise , surprise.. it was time to eat again. This time it was mish xengji heli me patate, roast lamb on the spit with chips and salad. As honoured guests Simon and Andy were offered the sheep's head sliced in two, that had also been roasted, of course, and they helped themselves from this first! Brave men! Then too soon we had to say our farewells and catch a furgon, minibus, to Elbasan. Here we were met by Bardha, married to Beni, whose home we are staying in. Then to the church building where we meet some of their people and had coffee. We spent some time with Ilir and Rudina who lead the church then there was time enough to watch the Barcelona v Inter Milan football match! Guys here are big fans of Inter. Then today we have seem some of the sights of Elbasan including the Ethnographic Museum, and now we must move on again this time to Librazhd. We will meet Besnik who is part of our church and Ilir and Donika who were with us last November. We must fly and we send our love,
Simon, Andy and Ann on arrival at Rinas airport with Rob, complete with guitars Rob and Mira who lead the church in Lezhe Andy outside the fish restaurant in Shengjin. Andy was quite taken with the colour scheme! And here is Lili from Burrel, in the middle, with Ann and Mira. And all of us including Klodhi, Lili's brother on the beach at Shengjin.
Oh! it is just so good to be back in Albania! It seems ages since Ann and I were here and indeed it is! Last July was when we were here with our Youth in Pogradec. Now we are here with Simon Benham our Senior Pastor and Andy Jackson who heads up the CAP (Christians against poverty) ministries in our church. We flew in late on Monday evening to be met by Rob who with his wife Mira lead a church in Lezhe an hours journey north of the airport. Simon and Andy booked into a local hotel and then we all ate a meal that Mira had prepared. After catching up on news and talking until late we then turned in for the night. This morning saw us wake to bright blue sky and warmth. After breakfast and yet more talking we headed off for coffee by the river where we met up with Lili and her brother Klodhi who come from Burrel, a town in the mountains, and with Gezim, a member of Rob's church. We have invited Lili to come to the Ladies Real conference. Klodhi gets married in August to a Ewa from Belgium. Then to Shengjin, it simply means St John, which is a small port and has an excellent fish restaurant. There we tucked in to cooked fresh fish, chips and salad. Klodhi opted for the grilled eel. I tried it and it was really tasty. What all this eating is doing for Simon's Bracknell half marathon training I'm not sure! Then to meet up with Rachel a children's worker from the UK who heads up her own ministry here and then a brief stroll on the beach with the warm water of the Adriatic lapping it and the sun beating down on us! Then we dragged ourselves away to go and see Rob and Mira's church building where we prayed with them for God to fill every seat. Rob went off to take an English class and Simon and Andy strolled back to the hotel and Ann and me with Mira to their home. So chance now to top up my Albanian SIM card and write this blog. Now evening time it is still light and really warm with children playing the usual kids games in the street. Tomorrow sees us catch a bus to Tirana to meet Shaban and Elvira who lead a church in the capital city and have lunch with them, and then on to Elbasan. Oh well, I must finish Mira has prepared another meal for us to eat!! Love to you all, 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