Can you imagine being under communist rule where no religion is allowed, the very name of God would result in punishment that could consist of a beating and jail. A place where there are no churches where you can freely and publicly go to worship in. It is hard to picture that when you live in the Bible Belt, but this such place exists in the not so distant history of Albania. They celebrated 100 years of freedom from the Ottoman Empire on the 28th of November and have only been out of communism for approximately 20 years. Talk about a history of oppression. Now, picture the people that know the taste of this history first hand, picture them experiencing the life giving water and refreshment found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Now picture them in worship – I tell you it brings tears to your eyes. It did mine.
I have a lot I am thankful for when I think of my connection to Albania, my time there, and my friends… I’m so blessed. One thing I’m still beside myself over is that God called me to help lead worship there. I’m still just so deeply thankful for having been part of the worship ministry there. It was a blessing to work with Jon & Casey and to sing with Arnida and see the people there lose themselves in their offering of worship; it is honestly always a blessing to see people enter into worship. There’s something so pure about it. And it is an honor to help lead them into that place.
To be totally transparent I was stressing about doing bad at helping lead worship on the trip…for weeks up until the trip…and every time I would begin to obtain a confidence that God called me and that it was for Him and that all would be well, I would also have this creeping sense that I would somehow fail. I physically struggled a little the first couple of days there, my throat hurt and I still felt weak from being sick but I just prayed hard that God would be glorified and that He would use us to lead His people into worship despite our bodies weaknesses (by this time Casey was also sick). Well, I stopped stressing the second night we were there and I felt so alive and free! I just let go and worshipped Him. I love the feeling I have when I am helping to lead others to worship this one and only amazing God that created us and I somehow feel like I have become a part of the music and I just disappear into my own little place with Him and I. I feel alive in those moments, like I’m doing something I was made to do. I’m so deeply honored to have the opportunities I have to be a part of worship ministry. It is truly a place where my heart lies. Thank you Jesus that you have given me a gift and the opportunities to use it to glorify you. Thank you for the many others that you have blessed with talent that have blessed me and helped me grow along my path.
Thanks for reading my ramblings, I pray that you are walking in whatever gifts God has given you and finding fullness in Him as you use those gifts to honor Him.
Love in Christ,