As we quietly left the church in Durrës for the final time last Thursday, we felt a sweet satisfaction seeing the fruit of our labor. Of the 31 university students who responded to our invitations and joined us for an American night at a banquet hall on Wednesday, 17 of them returned to join us at the church in Durrës the next evening for a game night. We had greeted them as strangers 24 hours before, but now welcomed them as new friends as they entered the church for the first time. Most stayed 3 hours on this night after spending 4 hours with us the night before.
One young woman, who had said she was interested in learning more about Jesus on Wednesday, returned on Thursday to the church and remarked how peaceful she felt there. Praise God for the seeds that were planted! Please pray that they will take root in fertile soil now. Specifically pray that these students would continue to come to the church to participate in a Bible study that will introduce them to Christianity. It was also a delight to watch the Albanian Christians taking the lead to connect with the new attendees in games and several one on one conversations. Although we helped build some bridges with the university students, it was obvious to everyone that this was all about the Albanian Christians connecting with and ministering to their community.
A cancelled flight out of Albania forced us to split up our team on the way home and delayed our departure by two days for half of us. Although unexpected, those of us who remained were able to spend some extra time with Kujtim exploring Tirana, the capital city of Albania. Of particular interest, was a visit to a museum dedicated to keeping alive the memories of the horrors of Communism that reigned in Albania from WWII to 1991. Gaining a better understanding of this regime shed light on just how remarkable our week had been in a place that had not too long ago tried to violently wipe out religion and said God didn’t even exist. Praise God we had the freedom to hand out invitations, attend prayer meetings and church services, and share the gospel. And the Albanian students were able to walk into the church without fear of repercussions.
While walking in the city square of Tirana, I saw a building depicting Albanian heroes who fought on behalf of Albania throughout history. Thank you to all of you who have joined them in fighting for Albania through your prayers, giving, and going.