Hello friends, family and supporters! I debated on whether or not to start a blog documenting our trip to Albania and Macedonia, as I have never done this before. But, I decided to write on behalf of our "team" consisting of myself, Steve, Ben, Mark, and Lori. We represent Washington Ave Bible Church proudly! :) Well, here goes nothing!
The day has finally arrived. Packing is done(almost!) and we are ready more than ever to GO! We leave for Dulles at 6:30 PM and our flight departs at 12:30 AM. A 10+ hour international flight will be a first for Steve, Ben and I, but we are very grateful we will be attended by seasoned world travelers, Mark and Lori. :) We have a two hour layover in Istanbul Turkey before taking a short flight to Albania's capital, Tirana. We will arrive around 8 PM Albania time. Dave and April will be picking us up at the airport. Pray that all our luggage arrives as well...there is at least 9 pieces of luggage between the 5 of us! Also, please note that Albania is 6 hours ahead of EST.
Since there's not much to report right now, it would be great if you could be praying for the country of Albania in these specific ways:(excerpts taken from "Operation World")
-Albania emerged from communism in the 1990s but remains one of Europe's two poorest nations.
-After the communist ban was lifted in the 1990s, Albania enjoys religious freedom cherished by many.
-Albania has a long road ahead to recover from the devastation of Communism. Pray that Albania's government and business cultures might be positively impacted by the influence of believers.
-Islam is the largest religion in Albania(some say up to 70% Muslim). Pray for Albanian Muslims to encounter the Living Christ.
-There are many towns and villages without an evangelical presence. Pray for the Good News to continue to spread.
-Pray for these least reached minority groups:
>The Bektashi: beliefs are more influenced by folk religion and the occult. As many as 600,000 Albanians are associated with this movement
>The Vlach(related to the Romani Gypsy): This people group are looked down upon by many.
>The Gorani, Golloborda and Cham: Culturally Muslim and quite isolated.
>The Rufai: Another mystic group, similar to the Bektashi's.
-Over half of all Albanians live outside of Albania. Pray for the Albanians living in Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and even further afield. Their spiritual need is very great.
-Pray for accuracy, timely completion and for widespread use of the Scriptures.
-Pray for translation of useful Christian books and literature and for their impact.
-Pray for growth in Christian Radio and that there would be wider coverage so that people in more isolated areas may also be blessed.
Thanks for reading, and please bear with me as I'm not sure how often I'll have access to internet.