WHY ALBANIA?  Although not part of the Soviet Union, this small Balkan country was ruled by a Marxist-Leninist style communist government from 1946 to 1992.

Albania has a rich Christian history (see Illyricum – Romans 15:19 & Timothy 4:10). Beginning around 1479, and through different periods ending in 1912, Albania was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Although Christians revolted against the Empire in 1481, Albania came completely under Ottoman rule by 1488. Resistance would continue for over 45 years and give rise to their national hero, Skanderbeg – otherwise known as Defender of Christians. However, due to enduring Ottoman influences, Albania succumbed to Islam and became a Muslim country. Additionally, from 1945 to 1990, Albania’s government forced a system of communism based on the policies of Marxist-Leninism and Mao Zedong. In 1967, the Communist Party banned any religious activity in the country, rendering all religion unlawful. After the fall of communism, a strong patriotic nature emerged, and most Albanians are nationalists first and foremost.

Today, the majority of Albanians consider themselves culturally Muslim. They hold to Muslim cultural mores and traditions, but the majority do not attend a mosque or practice daily prayer. Therefore, unlike other Islamic countries, Albania is open to the message of the Gospel and Christianity can be practiced freely. This aspect of Albanian society means that they are largely open to spiritual ideas, making the relationships we have formed both meaningful and fruitful. Albanians are highly social and it is not uncommon to meet for coffee several times a day. Additionally, due to U.S. military assistance during the Kosovo conflict of the late ’90s, Albanians are very welcoming towards Americans.

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Country Snapshot

Area: (slightly smaller than Maryland) total: 28,748 sq km (11,100 sq miles), land: 27,398 sq km (10,578 sq miles), water: 1,350 sq km (521 sq miles)

Population: 3,088,385 (July 2021 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.24% (2021 est.)

Capital City: Tirana

Independence Day: 28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)

Ethnic Groups: Albanian 82.6%, Greek 0.9%, other 1% (including Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), Macedonian, Montenegrin, and Egyptian), unspecified 15.5% (2011 est.) Note:  data represent population by ethnic and cultural affiliation

Languages: Albanian 98.8% (official – derived from Tosk dialect), Greek 0.5%, other 0.6% (including Macedonian, Roma, Vlach, Turkish, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian), unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: total population: 79.23 years / male: 76.55 / female: 82.12 years (2021 est.)

Religious Groups:
Muslim 56.7
Roman Catholic 10%,
Orthodox 6.8%
Atheist 2.5%
Bektashi (a Sufi order) 2.1%
other 5.7%
unspecified 16.2%

Note: All mosques and churches were closed in 1967 and religious observances prohibited; in November 1990, Albania began allowing private religious practice. (2011 est.)

SON’s Work in Albania

English Bible Camps

SON Partners:  SON Full-Time Residential Missionaries, Dan & Dawn Hall and Alpha Omega Church (Pr.Ermal & Sarah Lushi).

Where we work: The Diber region(rural mountain villages near the North Macedonia border).

What we do:

  • EnglishBibleCamps&Life Camps for teens (view opportunities above)
  • Raise scholarship funds for K-12 Christian education in theU.S.

Partnering with Alpha Omega Church, SON takes short term teams each summer to co-lead English Bible Camps in the mountain village of Peshkopi. Albanian Pastor Ermal Lushi and his American wife, Sarah lead this small congregation and are the only Christian church within a 2-hour driving radius. Because of their first-hand experience in working with the Muslim culture, SON creates a curriculum specific to this context. Alpha Omega truly understands the outreach opportunity that SON English Bible Camps provide. After the teams return to the U.S. they host numerous reunion activities for the students; including interactions specific to Christmas and Easter messages where students are encouraged to invite their families. This has been very successful, resulting in a steady number of baptisms and an increase in church life.

Full Time Missionaries - Dan & Dawn Hall

In 2014 Dan and Dawn Hall answered the call to move to Albania to help start an English-speaking private school in Peshkopi; a small rural village near the Macedonian border. Educators by trade, but also the son of a Lutheran pastor and daughter of Lutheran missionaries, Dan and Dawn soon realized that their true calling was to bring their love of Jesus to Albania.

They currently work alongside Alpha Omega Church (the only Christian church in the area) and have founded an Albanian organization that will allow them to start Christian outreach centers and congregations in surrounding rural villages. Dan and Dawn have six children (all grown) and three grandchildren.

You can support Dan & Dawn in their ministry directly through the SON Give page: