Wow! Today was the last day and Camp 2 is done. We went out with a bang as we ended with a program featuring each of the five classes doing dramas. The students are quite the actors, and their dramas were a wonderful demonstration of their English language skills and the seeds of faith that have been planted this week. You can watch the highlights from this week in the camp video, below!
Like last week, some parents and other family members attended the closing program at Alpha and Omega Church, some for the first time. Our prayer is that Gospel seeds were planted. They certainly know that the church is here, that they are invited, and that Pastor Ermal, "one of their own," is a very welcoming and friendly man.
All in all, the feedback that we’ve already received indicates that the two one-week English language camps here in Peshkopi, Albania, were a good catalyst for the Christian ministry that already exists here, and that was our goal. Thanks be to God!
Saturday will be a day off, and then we will journey back to Tirana on Sunday after worship. Early on Monday we will all travel to distant parts – some directly home and others to various destinations before returning home.
Thanks for your interest in this blog and ministry, and thanks to our senders for sending us and for your prayers!
What difference does it make? Our being here in Peshkopi, that is. Does it matter? Well, in terms of results, we just don’t know for certain. The answer belongs to God, because God causes any growth that comes from our mission efforts. However, we are certainly seeing signs of growth, indications that our being here does matter. The overall response of the Albanian students is their enthusiastic learning of English and welcoming and joyful acceptance of our presence and message. And many individual responses of appreciation and affection affirm our witness of making Christ known by our words and actions. Good stuff! We believe that it does matter.
This week of Camp 2 is swiftly coming to an end. It’s amazing how quickly time passes! There’s only one day left, which promises to be a lot of fun with the impending class dramas during the closing program tomorrow. The students are in fine form today, they danced up a storm after lunch, and they’re showing a lot of humor and energetic learning, in spite of a morning power outage that left David and Angela’s classes in almost total darkness, and the rest of us in the shadows. The generator is on now, and the light has returned – reminding me of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in this beautiful community. Hummm…
Thanks to our senders for sending us and for your prayers!
The story continues today with developing relationships between David and two of Saul’s children, Michal and Jonathan, as well as David’s attempt to maintain a friendship with Saul himself. Sadly, Saul’s jealousy and hatred got in the way, and there were significant consequences. On the other hand, David’s friendship with Jonathan and Michal remained strong, and serve as an enduring legacy of trust, care, and love.
In Albania, the people have a beautiful way of expressing their friendship, as I saw again this morning when I was walking on the streets of Peshkopi. Two men – friends! – were waking arm in arm in a genuine expression of affection. Natural, simple, caring – how nice to see in this age of too much animosity and suspicion!
The students have learned the song, “I Am a Friend of God,” under Arta’s splendid musical leadership, and they sing with gusto! It’s a great way to start and end the day.
Thanks for your prayers!
The rain is gently falling today, but it’s not dreary. This mountainous community in northeastern Albania is beautiful, even with all of its economic, social, and spiritual challenges. And one thing is clear: God’s faithful and gracious love continues to fall softly upon us all.
The team understands that we are ambassadors for Christ, and that God is making His appeal through us, just as He does with all His people. It happens mostly by our actions, but also with loving, affirming words. It’s not hard to do. It comes fairly naturally, as long as we’re prayerful about it. “Just be yourself,” is the old saying, and that’s what we’re doing. And we understand that it’s Spirit-empowered, joined by the prayers of our supporters and senders.
I just heard the Muslim call to prayer wafting down the mountain valley, and I’m listening to the river run as I write these words – “…you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.” We’re off to a team dinner and some time of relaxation.
Thanks for your prayers!
Pr. Phil & Carolyn Lee are the EEMN Albania Team Leaders. After serving as team members in 2017 they grew a true affinity for the people and for the stunning land of Albania. After faithfully serving Deny Park Lutheran in Seattle, Pr. Phil & Carolyn now spend much of their time serving in Arizona at Shepherd's Canyon Retreat Center for pastors, spouses, and ministry leaders in need of emotional and spiritual support.