It was so good to see Lee here in Albania after the disruptions of the Icelandic volcano. Lee has primarily come out to meet up with Edi, above, and talk through the details of the Youth Camp planned for July in Pogradec. After arriving late on Tuesday night, Wednesday morning was spent looking round some of Elbasan including the church building where the band will play at the Sunday meeting when they come out. Then to the local TeatriSkampa in the centre of the city, which is shown below.
Ilir the church leader discovered he knew the Theatre Director from High School days. We looked round the theatre, checking out the lighting and sound systems. Discussions continued as to how we advertise the band playing there at the end of July as all schools here close mid June. We are really excited about the possibility of reaching out to so many young people. The theatre is situated right in the middle of the city where everyone promenades in the evenings to escape the heat of their homes in the summer. Thursday morning saw us catch a furgon, minibus, to Librazhd a smaller town just 30 minutes away. The church here is led by Ilir and Ladi and they had suggested to Simon the previous week that we could gather young people in their town's theatre. So we went and again checked out the theatre. It may look plainer than the theatre in Elbasan but the lighting and sound systems are probably better. Again we had discussions how we would involve Albanian singers as well as our band, what drama we could do etc. There is tremendous potential here to impact hundreds of young people.
Yet another furgon ride brought us to Pogradec and meeting Edi. A quick lunch and then onto the Nehemiah Centre where we were with Simon and Andy the previous week. This time though we had a long detailed meeting with the Centre leaders covering every aspect of our camp, dates, numbers, menu, use of sports activities and so on. Then time for Ann and me to head back on a furgon to Elbasan and for Edi and Lee to travel onto Edi's city of Korca. There Lee spoke with the young people in the evening before on Saturday heading off to Ohrid in Macedonia to meet some more young people. But that is Lee's story to tell!
Let me finish with this example of Albanian hospitality. On Lee's first evening with us AFTER a meal I went into a hotel to just check on the football scores. The chefi, the boss, spotted me and straightaway he ordered us some beers and fried whitebait for us and when the whitebait had been eaten they were followed by a plateful of mussels. I am sure the beer (this included beer for Ann!!) would have kept coming if we had not gently refused it! This is typical of Albanian hospitality from people we had not met before! Lee was impressed!
Bye for now and Naten i mire! Good night! 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