Saying goodbye to my time here in Albania...
Dear friends and family, thank you so much for praying and sharing in this journey with me. As my time in Albania comes to a close, I wanted to share some key moments. I depart for America on Tuesday morning and look forward to sharing more with you all in person very soon!
4th of July celebrations.
My English classes ended this past Thursday and Friday. One of my favorite moments from my classes was celebrating the Fourth of July with my students. With my beginner and intermediate classes, we celebrated the day by making s'mores on a charcoal grill, listening to American music, and playing trivia games about America. With my high school class, we played trivia games as well and enjoyed choftu (kind-of like hot dogs), chips, watermelon, and soda. What made it really special was that my students all wore red, white, and blue! It almost felt like I was home!
During my time in Albania, I was able to work closely with an Albanian church called Eagles Church- www.eagles.al . I am so thankful for the friendships I built with the church leadership team there, as we served alongside each other. What I loved most about this partnership is that, thought I am leaving Albania, these Albanian believers will continue to be here to get to know the families and teenagers I worked with during the English camps. They will be able to water the seeds of the gospel that we all planted together.
Friendships and sharing."The whole outlook of mankind might be changed if we could all believe that we dwell under a friendly sky and that the God of heaven, though exalted in power and majesty, is eager to be friends with us."
I am thankful to have had several occasions to share with my students about being a Christian and what it means to follow Christ. Also, members of the church I was partnering with here have built good friendships with my students and are continuing to get to know them and reach out to them. I am excited to hear what happens as God softens hearts and draws people to himself, even after I leave!
God's grace in my life and time here.
Experiencing a new culture, country, and language can be hard, even though it's wonderful. Sometimes it can bring the worst out of you, and I was no exception. One of the things God has reminded me during my time here is that I am sinful and desperately need Him. God really showed me my sin as I responded to various situations I faced. I am thankful also to live with my friend Jacqui while I was here, because God used her to bring to light my sin and help me grow in sanctification. I am so thankful that God is willing to use a sinner like me to share in His work here!
"So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: 'I admit I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is, there I shall be also.'"
Come, Magnify the Lord with me.
This past Friday and Saturday, Jacqui and I were able to join other missionaries here to visit neighboring countries- Montenegro and Bosnia. We river-rafted the Tara river, hiked, explored waterfalls, swam in freezing-cold water, ate freshly-cooked lamb, and enjoyed each others' company. Because of some mistakes on the part of our hostel, all this ended up being free. What a blessing!
Bosnia and Montenegro are both the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The Tara river gorge is the second largest in the world, after the Grand Canyon. The land is unspoiled and the river water is crystal-clear and drinkable. Wildflowers cover the landscape with purple, yellow, and white. One thought that occurred to me while enjoying this creation is that if this place is so majestic, how much more is the artist and designer of it, our Lord. It brought me back to one of my favorite Psalms in the Bible- Psalm 148. I would encourage you to read this Psalm yourself and magnify the magnificent God we serve.
"Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven."
Thank you again for all your prayers and support. I praise God for YOU!
To see more of Albania...
On the blog I capture photos of everyday life in Tirana. Pray for the people of Albania as you glance through the photos and experience a little bit of what it's like to be here.