On Saturday evening there was a "Thank you' meal at a local Greek restaurant for all those who had been involved from the Church in planning, preparing and making the Newfrontiers Balkan Conference happen. Ann and I were invited guests! Here is one of the starters, cheese covered in sesame seeds that has been warmed through and served with cherry jam. I cannot tell you just how good the salads are here. Everything is freshly picked. The big tomatoes, lettuces, spring onions, cucumbers are all straight from the local fields.
Below is Arjan with his wife Blerina and son Elion and daughter Orantia. The very first time I came to Albania and to Elbasan I slept in Elion's bed! Needless to say, he wasn't in it!
I thought this was going to be a meat loaf, but it was chicken and mushrooms in a lovely cream sauce covered in filo pastry. Yum! It is hard to lose weight here!
After the meal, Arjan and Blerina took Ann and me home but on the way we saw these dancers from Kosovo. So we stopped to see them, talk with them and take a few photos. Every village and town of Albania and Kosovo, which is Albanian speaking, have their own distinctive costume.
On Saturday afternoon before the "Thank you" meal we went to Librazhd just 25 minutes away to meet the young people from the church we know there. Five years ago Ann and I met 5 young people from Librazhd and they came to our first Youth Camp and all of them became Christians there. The next year there were 12 from Librazhd and then the last 2 years 25-30. The youth group continues to flourish and here are the ones who could make it to see us.
I have shown them all here as our young people from Bracknell who have been to the Camp will know them or recognise most of them. There are some new faces here, which is a good sign.
Igli, Ani and Kledi, who did all the technical stuff, and very well too!
Arselad, ? and Gledisa
A new girl to me who told me she wants to be an actor, Nerila and Xhorxhe pronounced Georgie
Artin, Lenin and Marsel
Ida, Sinoli and a new guy I don't know
Paola, one of the first who came to Camp with Erlisa who now leads the group and Gezim
Xheni pronounced Jenny, Ira and Junada who translated for me. I told them that they take the presence of God with them where ever they go. I think this is very important to remember for all of us but especially here when several of them have Muslim parents or attend the best local school which is Turkish and wants to pull them to Islam and a Muslim way of thinking. These schoools offer scholarships to the brightest and best. It reminds me of Daniel and his friends in the Bible.
These guys really look forward to seeing Liam and Dave and our guys again at the Youth Camp in July. Then it was into a taxi, you can wait ages sometimes for a local minibus, and back to Elbasan for the Thank you meal.
Sunday was going to be another full day, and that means another blog!
Ken and Ann