Albania. A little country I had never even heard of until a stirring up of a friendship. Mande was speaking about running and how anyone can pursue a dream when God lays it on their hearts & oddly enough, God had been stirring in my heart a rekindling of my love of running at that time too. So, we emailed some & our friendship began. Mande had shared about her dream to help people in Albania by running 1000 miles & raising money along the way. Wow what a vision! I was totally inspired! During a run together she told me stories of what people go through there & what it is like. Ripped my heart out! She had spoken of how she really had connected with them & loved them so much. My love of the people there was beginning to grow too, and I hadn’t even met them! Long story short God spoke to my heart something & in that obedience He established a friendship with a precious woman and that friendship grew into a love of a people I had not even met or knew existed.
I finally conquered my half marathon after many tears & obstacles in February 2012 & Mande finished out 1000 miles for Albania strong with a marathon in December 2011 and she raised an amazing amount of money & really blessed the people there.
2012 brought a lot of heart ache & changes for me. I finally ran a half marathon with my best friend (husband) by my side. My 17 year old nephew Alex died in a tragic car accident on the way to school one morning. My grandmother died (the last blood relative grandparent I had remaining) – just 2 months after Alex’s untimely passing. I started my new position at work…and I went to Albania! Unfortunately I had to miss my sister’s wedding while I was there but she understood that I was too invested to cancel the trip on a short notice.
I know people have wondered, why Albania? I have actually had people mention to me that there are people in other parts of the world that suffer more. Or mention the places & regions I could go to that Christians aren’t persecuted at all. So…why Albania? To that I say – I don’t know. I don’t know why God gave me a heart & desire to be a part of mission work but didn’t give me the “go” until 10 years after stirring that within me. I don’t know why over the course of time God slowly created a heart in me for a group of people I knew little about. I don’t know why He connected me to someone who has such deep connections to their people. I also don’t know why He told me to go to Albania last year. I just know He told me to. And that is enough for me. I’m thankful for people with open minds & hearts to ask bold questions, it’s good to ask bold questions…but…I have also learned that it is good to listen to that voice inside of you even when you don’t know the “why”.
As for my trip to Albania…My hope is that I was a light for Him while there. That whatever He desired for me to accomplish was completed and that He was glorified by all we did. My hope remains that whatever lies ahead for me & Albania and missions in general, that my heart will be close to Him & my ears open to His whispers…because whether I know why or not doesn’t matter…just that I go.
Love in Christ, Amy