Winter – Spring 2013
Greetings to you from Albania
Albanian School’s have just broken up for their 12 week holiday and marks the end of our spring season, We have a lot to report on since the beginning of the new year. In this newsletter you can read about Rachel’s travels, Vali’s baby, the ‘Mattersey Hall’ student mission, the Albanian Christian Camping Network’s conference and and up dated on Spark the Urban Outreach campaign, what’s happening in Tiranaand Shengjin.
You can also check out our Praise and Prayer points.
From mid January to mid March Rachel was on the road. First to the ‘Christian Camping International – UK’ conference, travelling on to the US, then tagged on the ‘Reaching Europe’s Children’ conference in Barcelona at the end. Special thanks to Rachel’s hosts Leonard and Shila in Georgia and Mike and Lisa in New Bedford, who not only looked after her but also set up meetings and speaking engagements to raise awareness and fund raise for the ‘Spark the Urban Outreach’ project. Whist in the States she was able to visit Metro Ministries in New York (now named ‘Metro World Child’), where she was able to have an afternoon private tour, ask questions and see the design and layout of the Side walk Sunday school trucks, in preparation to the Outreach project in Albania.They were very helpful and gave lots of insight, and it was definitely a worth while visit for the ministry.
Vali our Children’s pastor in Shengjin has given
birth to a beautiful baby boy who they’ve named Sion ( as in Mt’ ‘Sinai’ – the presence of God). Both Vali and baby are doing well despite Sion suffering from colic as many babies do. She is now into her final month of maternity leave and is praying about her possible return to ministry perhaps in a part time/flexy capacity till Sion is a bit older. Vali expresses her sincere thanks to all her sponsors that have faithfully continued to sponsor her through her maternity leave.
Mattersey Hall Student Mission
On the 16th of March, 8 ‘Mattersey Hall Bible College’ students arrived along with their team leader Shannon, for a 10 day mission. Rachel partnered with King’s Church in Fush Arrez, a small mountain town in the north of Albania, for the students mission. It was a cold week, but team kept up their spirits and gave it their best without complaining. The team’s main tasks were painting the church, children’s & youth outreach and family visitations.
This was the second year that the Christian Camping Conference has been organised in the capital city Tirana. We had 25 delegates representing 11 different camping organisations between the 26th – 28th of April.This year was the first year of offering an optional extra day, tagged on to the end of the main conference, for further training purposes to equip people to do camp better and safer. Thanks to Tim Miles accompanied by Alex and Jordan we were able to offer an intensive 1st aid course, specialized to camp medical emergencies.
SPARK the Urban Outreach
With this new project, Shkendije will help to equip the local church, initially in Tirana, in reaching the children beyond their doors, so they can have the possibility of a relationship with Christ and on going nurturing. Rachel’s fund raising efforts in the States amounted to a grand total of $5344 = 88 squares. A big Thank you to every one who donated and got on board.
As I type Joe Lyon, a volunteer last summer, is already ⅔ of his way through a 1000 mile sponsored bike ride from Land’s End, the most southern part of England to John O’Groat in most Northern Scotland. (click to see approx. route). He’s got the most difficult part ahead as the last third is the Scottish highlands, so lots of tough, up hill slogs. I’m humbled again by one person’s efforts and reminded what a different one person can make. So far with his efforts and kind people donating 24 Van Squares are now covered, leaving only 30 squares. (1 square = 37.50 GBP / $60). If you would like to sponsor Joe any amount to encourage him en route here’s the link - Sponsor.
To find out more about this fund raising campaign, check out our SPARK the Urban outreach Campaign on Facebook and watch the video on YouTube.
As most of you know from previous newsletters that we have been on a journey to relocate our head office and ministry into the capital city Tirana. This is now complete and a team house has also been set up and is ready to receive new team members, including gap year volunteers.
Last month over 800 children’s questionnaires have been completed from different areas of the city in order to know better the ‘Tirana Child’ and how to serve them better.
However we are delayed in our Urban Outreach project in Tirane due to the absence of the outreach van. The main delays being having not hit our target amount needed and delays in getting back quotes from conversion companies in the UK. Now, where we were due to start the project this week, as schools broke up, we have had to push the project forward to August.
At the start of the New Year, as a board, we decided that because Rachel would be needed for the start of the new project in Tirana and because of the lack of another camp director, that our camps would not happen this summer. In hindsight we would have perhaps planned differently. But all is not lost we will be aiding other camps happening in Tirana and Durres, and others with ready children’s materials.
During the time Vali has been on her maternity leave and Rachel has been out of country or in Tirana, the young team has continued to receive ministry and care thanks to Robert Cook, who has done a bible study with them most weeks. Many of the Children in Shengjin are still asking when are the Children’s meetings starting back. At present we do not have an answer but we know that God is good, and has not forgotten Shengjin and all the seed that has been planted there over the years. Please pray for Shengjin which still does not have a church plant.
Praise and Prayer
- Thank God for Robin Stephen who has been a great help and blessing to Shkendije especially during this transitional time and his patient wife.
- Thank God for the safe arrival of Vali and Sokol’s Baby boy.
- Thank God for the the finace that has come in so far towards the outreach van and project.
- Thank God the Tirana office, team house and set up.
- Thank God for the summer opportunities to partner with others to reach out.
- Please Pray for the rest of the finance to come in for the Van, it’s purchase, conversion and transport to Albania by August.
- For the summer children’s outreaches and the summer team David and James.
- For the start of the Urban outreach project in Tirana.
- For Vali, as she seeks God for her near future and possible ministry capacity.
- For Shengjin.
- For new team members and their support.
Thank you for reading our news,
we appreciate your prayers and support.
Blessings to you and your families