Over the ten days that we were in Durres we experienced a lot of Albanian culture, from the food to the people, to the stray dogs in the streets. It was really amazing to see God’s hand over a country like Albania, and the faith and hospitality of some of the people within the church.
Albania is a predominantly Muslim country. However, due to a communism all religion was banned and Albania was declared completely atheistic in 1967, and the government banned all public religion. The persecution for the church was so severe that it could not even exist underground. In 1991, Albania gained its independence and became a democracy, this lead to a rapid explosion in people rediscovering their faith. Because of this, the atmosphere surrounding religion and faith was very interesting, people where very hungry to hear about Jesus despite maybe being a Muslim or an Atheist.
As a whole this was very interesting as we were involved in a large street evangelism team from the Albanian church in which we sang songs in English to draw in a crowd and talked to them about Jesus. This was a very powerful thing to be a part of as we were able to openly share the gospel in a community that had very little to do with the church. As a result, we saw many people hear the gospel and gave them the opportunity to respond.
As a part of our street evangelism we were able to reach out to hundreds of local children and young people, by using face paint and singing songs with them. This lead to a big atmosphere change and the church saw their children’s group grow from around 10 people to over 50, who said that they would come back after we had left.
This was a very encouraging experience and it lead to hundreds of seeds being sown. As well as the street evangelism, we were involved in lots of other projects. For example, we had the opportunity to visit the Roma community and serve children with special needs. We even cleared the church garden and moved a large pile of sand. (It was like the Noise only sunny!)
All in all, the trip to Albania was an absolute joy and a huge privilege to be a part of, and I would love to go back soon!
Thank you for all of your love and support