Thursday saw us all aboard a minibus bound for Elbasan. This is Albania's 3rd largest city of 125-150,00 people and the city where Ann and I spend most of our time when in this country. It was an opportunity to get out of the capital city, see some countryside and meet Ilir and Rudina Koci who lead the church in Elbasan that we are most closely connected to.
No sooner had we arrived than it was time for coffee or cold drinks in the sunshine.
Ilir and Rudina joined us so we then made our way to their church building.
Ilir and Rudina showed the girls round the premises including the kitchen and basement that we as a church have helped kit out. Here are Penny, Catrina and Ann in the main meeting hall. It makes me think of some of our people who have been here over the years...Lydia Harris-Lane and Catherine Felgate for childrens work, Colin Boyle for worship, Liam Parker and Lee Layton-Matthews for youth work, Ida Sinakoli an Albanian young lady in our church, and Simon Benham and Andy Jackson. And now nine of our ladies who have come to be involved in a Ladies Confernce!
We felt as though we could have sat and talked for ages, but we needed to return to Tirana, city of 800,000, before the rush hour traffic really snarled the road, and so we made our way back to our hotel.
After a break it was time to do some work. The girls had all played different parts in ordering, collecting and buying several items to bring out to Albania and then make up small bags that would be given out as gifts to the ladies attending the confernce. The bags contained a necklace, handcream and a scripture.
Showered and changed, an evening meal together and our day was done. The first big day of the conference, the day we had all been looking forward to, planning for, praying for and dreaming of for months now lay just one nights rest away!
What had God got in store for tomorrow!