2021 ALBANIA MISSIONS BLOG
August 4, 2021
IN THE STEPS OF PAUL
“So that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I fulfilled the ministry of the Gospel of Christ.” – Romans 15:19
June 19 to June 27 – Many people have no idea that modern day Albania is actually ancient Illyricum (see Romans 15). We are always honored to be able to serve in this incredible country. The town of Peshkopi is near the border with North Macedonia and is unbelievably beautiful! Although culturally Muslim, the people of Albania are among the most hospitable and open of all of the countries we serve.
Initially, this team was to have been Pastor David Breidenbach, Angela Breidenbach, Pastor David Michael Carrillo and SON Director of Development, Mike Wind. However, due to a family emergency, Mike was unable to join us. After a day of prayer and discernment, we called 2019-2020 Slovakia Team Member, Heather Olson to join us. She was exactly the right fit for the older teens; especially the boys (she has older brothers)! We thank God for His provision.
Over the course of the week, we looked at How God Rescues Us: from how He rescues one through the parable of the lost sheep to how He rescued the whole world through His Son, Jesus Christ. We were also joined by a CRU team from Brazil and Chile, all of whom spoke Albanian fluently. This team was in charge of the sports rotations, but also helped with translation in the classrooms. What an incredible international Christian witness for our students!
In addition to our regular camp, we were asked to host an evening, with teaching on being an everyday Christian witness, for the adult Believers from Peshkopi. This is especially challenging in their Muslim culture. After some robust discussion, we ended the evening with Albanian dancing. This is a huge part of their identity as Albanians, and we always have a lot of fun trying to learn the steps.
Finally, we were able to host an afternoon for the elementary students at Alpha Omega church. Our theme was the story of Jonah. None of the students had heard this story and we had fun learning about: Trust, Obedience and Forgiveness.
A NEW FRONTIER WITH OLD FRIENDS
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…” – 2 Timothy 1:6
June 28 to July 3 – Our second camp in Albania was in the remote village of Kastriot.
Through some “chance” relationships, SON residential missionaries to Albania, Dan & Dawn Hall have been able to secure funding for an outreach center in this community. Our English Bible Camp was the first ever in this region.
Because Islam is more deeply rooted in the remote villages, we needed to be sensitive to our partners and work to build strong and trusting relationships. By no means did we shy away from sharing God’s love with these precious children and the week was spent looking at how God can use us and help us make our families, communities, nations and the world a better place. Many of the students know that we are Christians, and we were able to have meaningful, Gospel filled conversations with those ready to hear the Word.
Additionally, we hosted an evening program for the young children in the village, with a repeat “performance” of the Jonah theme. It was a huge success and suffice it to say we are VERY encouraged by the work that the Lord is doing in Kastriot. Our only issue is having enough team members for 2022!