As I write I am starting my fourth to last week here in Albania! I can't believe it. I'm excited to be heading back home soon and to see what my next step is after I return to the States.
Two weeks ago we spent the week getting ready for our mission outreach week last week. We had a fun day where everyone wore plaid. I borrowed a shirt from one of my friends for the occasion. It was fun.
My team and I headed to Shkodra for a week, this past week. It is located in the North of Albania. It is about half Muslim and half Catholic with a few Protestant churches thrown in the mix. We headed to Shkodra with goal of encouraging a very young church, who had met for just three weeks including the Sunday we were there.
On Sunday we helped with leading worship for the new church. We went and visited the lake near Shkodra and prayed for the city. Then on Monday we spent the morning and evening in prayer with the Pastor and his wife (Denis and Elsa) and then the church. Those were hard spiritual work days.
On Tuesday we started more with the outreach to places where people from the church were working. On Tuesday morning we went to a "Kindergarden" at a community center where we taught the 2-6 year olds the chicken dance, played games, and did face painting. That day for lunch I made chicken curry and it was pretty good. The girls went on a walk with one of the church members and saw the beautiful sign of spring in the flowering plumb tree! That evening we prepared for the next day.
On Wednesday we went to a school and worked with 9th graders on English and attempted to do a team building exercise, but recess got the better of us. Some groups still participated. We also went into the mountains this day. We followed a river and it was so beautiful! On this evening the girls did a house visit. It was a really good time praying for a lady named Ela. She shared some pretty deep stuff with us and her heart is burdened for her husband who isn't a believer.
On Thursday we had a pretty busy day. In the morning we went to the castle in Shkodra. It is the biggest castle in the Balkans. It was important in stopping the spread of the Ottoman Empire as it was the only castle they could not conquer. We again prayed over the city while we were there. After the castle visit we took the pastor and his wife out for lunch and then had a come and go coffee time with the youth (high school and college age) of the church. The girls then helped to host the women's group for that day where the women made crafts to give their friends for International Women's Day which is this coming Wednesday. The guys hung out with some guys while we were crafting.
We capped off our week Friday afternoon by holding a youth meeting. Three of our team members shared their testimonies. We did a little bit of Albanian dancing and listened to a band play Albanian songs. The students then wanted us westerners to sing a song, so we attempted Kuq e Zi, which the Albanian flag song. We then had a last dinner with Denis and Elsa and their family. Then next morning we came back to Ersekë.