This is Monday morning and some of the guys tucking into breakfast. It is a case of stretch or starve but I think they all manage to eat well.
It is a time of impromptu fun, praying for the day and Matt singing worship songs to us.
Later on Monday morning we headed off, just half an hour down the road, to Librazhd, where Ilir and Donika lead the church with Ladi and Ornela. Some of you girls may remember Donika and Ornela being with us for the REAL conference. As soon as we arrived a thunderstorm broke, and it absolutely poured with rain. So we had our drinks in a cafe owned by Tani, a guy in the church who is involved in the worship. He sang to us and then Flori from Korca, who travelled with us. When the storm abated we went to the Culture Centre, pictured above, and installed our equipment. This is when we found out there was no electric power at all, and wouldn't be until 3pm. So we went and had lunch. The guys did their best late afternoon to set up as there was still no power! This was getting outside every one's comfort zone! Lee was beginning to make plans as to how we could hold the concert outside. We had given out leaflets earlier in the afternoon and young people were turning up for the concert, but still no electricity! At last at 6.45, 15 minutes before we were due to start power was restored! All the guys were now rushing around getting everything done and trying to do a sound check as youngsters poured in.
Here they are sorting things before the concert got underway at 7.30. A minor miracle! There were about 150 or more teenagers there which gave it a very different feel from the concert on the Saturday night. There was lots more noise from the crowd, but this time with a smoke machine and coloured and flashing lights! Again the whole concert was very well received. The drama was powerful, the band was great and Lee spoke excellently. many came forward to talk with our people at the end and one guy prayed to be a follower of Jesus. There were lots of good conversations and one could tell the concert would be a talking point amongst the youth of Librazhd for quite a while. A meal afterwards and then back to Elbasan at 11pm.
This morning, Tuesday, it was time to leave Elbasan, load up the minibus and head off for Pogradec where we will hold our Youth Camp. Here we are about to set off, team, suitcases and equipment.
After 2 hours this is where we have come to! Pogradec beside Lake Ohrid. On the far side of the lake is Macedonia. The guys have unloaded all the kit, found their sleeping spaces and walked into town and had lunch. Now it is set up time, then an evening meal and pray for tomorrow. I am excited but also my heart aches as I think of 130 young people who tomorrow will begin their journeys from all over Albania and some from Macedonia and Kosova, to a Camp where God can change their life! Some will have their lives changed eternally and for others it will be another step along the path to knowing Him better.
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