Friday, 17 March 2017

Springtime in Elbasan


Ann and I are here again in Elbasan, Albania but this year a little earlier than would normally be the case. One of the key events in 2017 for us is that my sister and her husband from Auckland, New Zealand come to stay with us in mid May for 6 weeks. This has made us look at our diary and plan accordingly. So here we're in Albania in mid March a month or 6 weeks earlier than usual. We left the grey skies of the U.K. on Wednesday morning and have arrived to blue skies and sunshine and warmth in the day. 18C at midday, but the clear skies mean a low of 2C at night!. Ann has been to the pazaar, open air fruit and veg market (bazaar is a enclosed market) and bought local fresh strawberries, all ripe and juicy.

It is similar with the tomatoes, which are red and really ripe all through, along with the lemons and madarins Ann purchased.
We were met at the airport by Tomor and Miranda Ajeti who run Victory Church, Tirana. It is Miranda who leads the Ladies Conference UNIKE that Catrina Benham will come to speak at in early May. A nice surprise was also to be met by Ida Ashley's sister Mira and her husband George. Ida and Tom were on the same flight as us and have come to see her parents for a few days. For those who don't know, Ida and Tom are part of Kerith. A lunch of fish soup and then fresh fish was to follow with Miranda and Tomor, before getting our transport to Elbasan. Here we were met by Ilir Koçi who leads the church Joshua Mission in Elbasan and helped us with our cases into the apartment.
We almost didn't come to Albania. We were all set to come but on Monday this week my left foot swelled up for seemingly no reason so that I was in real pain and hobbling about. Ann persuaded me to go to the doctor, (why do men need persuading?) who said I had an infection and has given me a strong dose of penicillin. I am much improved but regularly plunge my foot into a bowl of cold water to cool my foot down. No you don't need to see a photo!!
Tomorrow Saturday, we will go to Librazhd and meet many of the young people we know from that church. We have been coming for 10 years now, so many of those who were teenagers when we first came have finished schooling, been to university or college and now are in employment and looking to marry! But what is great that they have evangelised and seen many other young people now take their place in the church following in their footsteps. Sunday I will speak at the church here in Elbasan and catch up with many people we know.
How do we know it is springtime in Albania? It is warm in the sunshine but the air itself is cold and the tops of the mountains that surround Elbasan are still covered in sparkling white snow. But at the end of April and early May, God turns a switch, and suddenly the air is warm, the snow has gone and the long summer has begun, just in time for Catrina to arrive for the Ladies Conference!
God bless you! Zoti bekoft!
Ken and Ann


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