Sunday, 5 May 2013

Friends...and onto Korca

One of the most important things we do here is meet people, build friendships and then maintain that friendship.  We love and are surprised at who God brings across our path.  Last Sunday I spoke at the church here in Elbasan and then in the afternoon we had coffee with Blerim and Rudina with their baby daughter Amaris who was born last December.  We stay in an apartment that is owned by Blerim's aunt.  So we have got to know this couple well. Blerim is an artist, a painter, and uses his art to introduce Christ to people. 

Later we walked down the old Via Egnatia, the old Roman road that went from Rome to the New Rome, Constantinople.  Constantin wanted to call it New Rome but the people named it after him.  The road runs through Elbasan on, up into the mountains, into Macedonia and then onto Thessaloniki and then Istanbul.  This road is still the main road, used by all the truck drivers coming from Turkey and northern Greece, who are heading for Italy and western Europe.  This is a bit of the original road, now one of the back streets in Elbasan that has been re-cobbled with EU money.

Then an evening meal with Ilir and Donika and their children Daniel and Lysania, another excellent family in the church.

On the Monday we had a meal with Ilir and Rudina and their 3 girls Sara, Eliada and Abigaila. It is Ilir and Rudina who lead the church we go to, so it was a meal but conversation all the time about their church, the way ahead, the people they are using and hope to use, the vision they have, the hard work they have done, their thankfulness for all that the Bracknell have done for them. Colin, Dave Betts, Liam, Lydia and many others have all been here providing training for them and other Albanian churches plus the concerts we have held here with our bands with Matt Price and others and then the money we have given to provide their kitchen.  I count them as an excellent couple who have a great love for God, and believe in excellent standards that is so evident in all they and their church do.  Now though it was time to say Goodbye for the moment, as we planned  to be back there next Sunday.

Tuesday meant another day travelling, this time to Korca about 3 hours away or a bit less. Those of you who have been here now this is not always easy or straight forward. We travel by local transport, a minibus called a furgon, that can vary in standards considerably.  There is no MOT here!  Let it be said though, I have never felt not safe.  Many people, especially young people know some English, so usually you can strike up a conversation.  So we prayed, seriously we pray for a furgon to leave straightaway for Korca when we get to the furgon station.  Else you can hang around for half an hour or an hour in the heat waiting for customers.  (It has been 28-30C all the time this past 2 weeks.  It was 32C in Elbasan the day we left, unusually hot for this time of the year.) But God answered wonderfully, the moment we arrived, the fugon was full and away we went to Korca and the next bit of our time here.


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