I am honestly not sure where to begin. Too much happened to put it all into one blog. Perhaps I will write more than one post, for now I will just focus on this one in order to not overwhelm myself. I am already overwhelmed. I couldn’t have prepared myself for the things I witnessed. Things that I can’t really describe to you without you seeing them, but I will try my best. I saw wonderful things, heartbreaking things, weird things, amazing things…many things.
I can’t believe that little children are able to roam the streets to beg for money, sell items, etc in this massive city. I’m talking little kids too, not teens… CHILDREN. Little children. I saw a boy that was missing limbs just sitting on the sidewalk collecting donations, my stomach & heart were ripped out. I saw an older man with no legs sitting on the street edge begging. A woman standing in the MIDDLE of oncoming traffic holding an INFANT begging. An elderly woman digging in the trash. Dogs run wild & rummage for food, they are so pitifully diseased and thin. Cats also roam but seem to fare well, probably because they can climb and are more nimble than dogs & can get to other food options than just the trash left on the sidewalks at night. I met children that used to dig in the trash for their food & needs until they became part of the House of Hope. Dhuratta & Anita & Koli are doing amazing things in Lushnje. Some of the children there are in school for the first time, EVER. And they are like 12… Blows my mind. I saw one of their houses & had to dig deep to prevent myself from bursting out in sobs. The church they used to worship in is desperately in need of being rebuilt. GOD WILL PROVIDE. I believe it. And if you are interested in giving to any of the ministries I write about please contact me & I will get you info to make it happen. Every penny & every prayer is so desperately needed. We had a girl come to church that is a prostitute and I think I heard someone say she was afraid her pimp might find out. Dear Jesus, the things these people face every day. I’m so thankful for the ministry that Sedika is a part of where they help the girls that are trafficking victims get separated from the women that are actually in charge of them in jail so that they can get help through the halfway houses and adoption program. I’m so thankful for Fatije & Dhuratta and Anita, and the girls and guys that help them with both houses of hope in Tirana and Lushnje – that they can give these children a safe place to go off the streets where they can get homework help, education, food, love, kindness, support, friendship, safety, & to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m so thankful for the churches springing up like wells of life giving water in this war torn country where they are still picking up the pieces of the damage that communism and the aftermath left behind. There’s still reminders everywhere that communism is not that far in their past.
But there’s also hope. Hope welling up from the ruins. There’s beauty all around. Although you will look around & see trash all over the place, there’s also beauty. Life in the gardens & in the Christ filled & joyful smiles of the fresh generations giving their hearts to Jesus. They have an inexplicable joy & peace that can only be defined by the redemption they have found in Jesus. They life that they have found in Him. The hope. It isn’t that fake let’s go to church on Sunday morning or perhaps just on a special holiday kind of love either. It is genuine. These people have a true relationship with Jesus and it shows. You can see Him in their eyes and smiles. They literally glow for Him. It’s an amazing sight. And to hear them speak of the dreams He has placed into their hearts is awesome. You can see the life that it gives them when they speak of it. They know Him, personally, and they know that He has plans for Him and those plans excite them. They worship Him with a full heart & they look onward with passion for Him to reach the many, many lost.
I’m delighted to have met them. I love them. They are so wonderful & refreshing and I am amazed to have been able to have been sent there to meet them & encourage them and to witness what God is doing in and through them. They may mostly be first generation Christians but they are rising up as a strong, vibrant, fighting generation that is uncompromised and unwavering. God bless them!!!!!
I have more to say but I will stop for now. Thank you to every single person that gave even a penny, bought a cookie or marshmallow pop, t-shirt, said a prayer, any thing you gave is so deeply appreciated. Thank you for sending us – lives were changed because of your kindness. The lives of our team were changed too, I know mine was.
God bless you all.
Love in Christ,