Monday, 7 April 2014

Childrens Workers Workshop in Elbasan

Ann and I are here in Albania again, this time with Lydia Harris-Lane who leads our childrens work at Kerith, and Catherine Felgate who is also on staff and helps Lydia. The church in Elbasan lead by Ilir and Rudina Koci asked us to help them develop their childrens work. Lydia came out 2 years ago so now it was felt it was good to come again. The Workshop was held last Saturday morning and the photo shows Lydia with Arjan Emini translating. I know Lydia has done something similar to this in Lithuania but this time there were between 40-50 people from at least half a dozen churches. Many of these were known to me and Ann, but there were many new faces. 3 churches from Elbasan were represented, and others from Tirana, Kruje, Cerrik and Korca. So a really good crowd who really enjoyed what Lydia and Catherine had to say. Afterwards they spoke of how they had been challenged and benefited from what they had to say.
Afterwards we had pizza together and questions and answers flowed and new friendships made.
Here are some of the girls from Korca who came. In Korca they gather 80 children on a Sunday morning whilst their main meeting for adults and teenagers is in the late afternoon. And just to prove that we are here, here is a photo of us with them.
Whilst Lydia and Catherine were speaking Ann and I were meeting with Nerila Qoshku and her cousin Bresilda both from Librazhd. They are both at university in Tirana and finish their studies this summer. Nerila has applied to come to our Academy. Please pray that her visa application which she will make at the beginning of July will be sucessful.
In the evening we had a meal together with Ilir and Rudina and talked about their church and the childrens work in particular. On Sunday morning Lydia and Catherine looked in on the childrens work and I spoke at the meeting. It was good to see that new people had joined them since we were here last December. Then straight afer the meeting we got on board a furgon, minibus, and headed straight to Korca.
Two and half hours later we arrived in Korca and booked into the hotel on the outskirts of the city where we are staying. No one in the church has a home big enough to take two of us let alone four of us, so we stay in a hotel.
Edi and Artina who lead the church here met us at the hotel and we had coffee together and caught up on news.

After catching up, we then headed off to their church which keeps growing numerically. It is such a joy to meet up with so many people that we know from meeting them at our Youth Camp year after year and then on the occasions when we come to Korca. The Korca band has played at our Youth Camp the last 2 years. I am sure some of our youth will recognise Elvis on the drums and Geni on the bass guitar.
And below, is Vaso leading the worship with his wife Madeleine and Xhulio on the violin.
I spoke at the meeting and then afterwards after many farewells we went for an evening meal with Edi and Arta and their son Michael.
Today, Monday, we have a break. Lydia has not been to Korca before and it is Catherine's first visit to Albania so we thought it will be good to show them some of the Korca sights. Korca is considered the cultural capital of Albania. Here was started the first school in Albania for boys and then girls, and Korca declared itself an independant Republic in the 1920's in the days after the Ist World War, that paved the way for Albania becoming an separate nation no longer under Ottoman rule.
Now we are off to the church workers (leaders) meeting and another good time with a great group of people.
Love to you all and please pray for safe journeys. Tomorrow we are up and on our way back over the border via Ohrid to Skopje the capital of Macedonia. It's all go!
Ken and Ann

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