Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Joshua Mission, Elbasan and Victory Church, Tirana.

Last Sunday morning we were again at the church in Elbasan where we spend most of our time and who we as Kerith church support. Since we were last here they have now moved into their new hall for their Sunday morning meetings and with the children they already nicely fill it. The next step, probably by September, will be for them to have all the children out from the beginning of the meeting.

Here are some of the church after the children have just left for their meetings with their teachers
and just before I am about to speak on the life of Joseph.
These are people we know and love but what is exciting is that new people are coming and being added all the time, so there are new faces to get to know. After many farewells to Ilir and Rudina and the church, we were invited out for lunch by two people in the church Sokol and Ankelata. Sokol is the bodyguard for the Elbasan Mayor, so he is a tall strong guy, (like Goliath head and shoulders above most people) knows all the Police, all the trouble makers and all the restaurants and the best places to eat. We had a delightful lunch together and then we collected our belongings and they drove us to Tirana to the apartment where we now are and where I am writing this.
We are in an apartment on the 9th floor. This is the view from our balcony. On the left of photo is a mosque. In Albania and most of the Balkans during the Ottoman Empire, mosques were built like a house, square shaped with a sloping pantile roof, not a dome. The minaret is a recent addition and a Saudi idea, not something one found here historically. Then in the centre is a blue glass roofed new pazar, an open sided fruit and vegetable market with new apartment buildings behind it.
We are here in Tirana for the week until we fly home just before midnight on Saturday. We have come primarily to speak to the academy students at Tomor and Miranda's Victory Church. I speak each evening apart from Thursday for 3 hours with breaks, on the Church. The history of the Church from its beginnings to the Reformation; Church structures, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregational etc; the role of the Pastor and the Mission of the Church. We know most of the students having meet some of them at Youth camp or because we have been to Victory Church several times. (It is Miranda who organises the Ladies Conference UNIKE here in Tirana that Catrina Benham will come to speak at in May) Here are some of the students.
Yesterday morning we met and spent time with Edi Morava who led a church in Korca and now is starting a new church here in Tirana. We had coffee together, as you do here a lot,
and then went for lunch with his wife Arta who works for World Vision.
Edi has his finger on the pulse of a lot that is going on church wise in Albania, so we talk about our Youth Camp in the summer, the 18+ weekend, the possibility of another Youth Camp in the north of Albania, the Ladies Conference and other matters besides.
On our travels as we do see some things. How about this written on the wall of the German restaurant where we had lunch with Edi and Arta!!
Now today, Wednesday after writing this blog, I will read through the material I speak on tonight, then we have lunch with Tomor and Miranda and in the afternoon catch up on how they are and how their church is doing and speak at their academy in the evening.
All the while the sky is totally blue, not a cloud to be seen, and by mid morning it is hot 26C, way warmer than is usual for this time of the year. Now to head to the cafe with an Internet connection. There is no wifi in the apartment. God bless you. Please keep praying for us, the students we speak to, the up coming Ladiers Conference UNIKE and Catrina who will speak and the church leaders here.
Ken and Ann


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