In Albania, the one who holds the keys hold the power! Every gate and every door has a lock with a unique key! As we have served in Albania, we have searched for keys to reach our neighbors for Christ. Planters has used farming, kids clubs, English classes, after school programs, and many other activities as keys to reaching out into the Vlashaj community, but we have struggled to reach men!
We learned that some men were avoiding entering the building known locally as the ‘Jesus Center,’ so we moved our men’s Bible study to the local cafe. While that made our group less intimidating to some, it still was only once a week and was limited to those who were already interested in a Bible study!
What if we could find an activity that would allow us to interact with men everyday in a place that was un-intimidating to everyone? Through prayer and guidance, we believe that the key to reach the men in our community is shaped like a soccer ball!
In the summer of 2017 Planters began raising funds to build an indoor soccer field known in Albanian as a “kalçeto”.
At the time of this writing, approximately $45,000 of the $100,000 project has been pledged or raised! If you would like to join this project, you can mail a check with “Soccer” in the memo line to:
Planters Seed Foundation
2515 Black Oak Dr
Pekin, IL 61554
Or, if on-line is easier for you, World Gospel Mission has set up a donation page at https://www.wgm.org/albania-soccer (electronic gifts have a percentage deducted to cover processing and credit card fees)
Your gift could be the key to reaching men in Albania for Christ!
[hr] Albania had a special guest from America yesterday. The news covered Hilary’s visit with great enthusiasm. Government offices excused their employees so they could be in the city’s center to greet her coming. Albanians always know how to make visitors feel special!
We have finished up our time for now in Albania. It is always mixed emotions for us to pack up the suitcases for the return trip to Illinois. We were able to get most of the “to do list” completed. The trip home never gets any shorter. It was late Thursday (or better yet, early Friday morning) when we arrived in Green Valley. It was a big contrast from the balmy 65 degree temps we had in Tirana to the snow we came home to in Peoria. Right now, we will be going back towards the end of January. We have several guests coming and have some exciting things planned for January and February.
Not always does modern technology smile friendly on “the older techie”s of this world. In fact, we were held hostage by the internet earlier during our stay in Albania. But thankfully, after much effort and attempts, we have been able to access the “outer world” and even to have a business conference call yesterday. We are making plans for hosting an event which will be over Valentine’s weekend for Albanian pastors. We are very excited and are looking forward to stepping out of our usual role. The photo shows David, Genti and Shpresa talking to Len and Lynne Benson along with David Lind, the pastor of Calvary Bible Church of Rutland, VT.
The days fly by when you’re having fun, right? Of course, there is always an element of fun when missions work is involved. But, some may disagree when there is a consecutive rainy season of 12 days back to back. Our recent guests were a testimony to walking everywhere with an umbrella in hand. In fact, last Friday we were all set to leave for the village when the call came that it was impossible to get to the village because the road was blocked due to more than 40 inches of water on the road. There had been 3 hour rain storm in the village and no one could go in and out for several hours. Villagers said they had never seen anything like it before.
We were about to lose heart after working 5 hours and 3 techs to get our internet going. It was a joyous time to see “Google” again. We really don’t want to know what happened to the cable line from here to there. It was something like “community sharing” I think. This morning we had a staff meeting with Genti and Shpresa and then this afternoon we took off for the village with Arjan’s team to Kasalle. Today’s story was Nicodemus. The children were very attentive listening but what really touched my heart was their singing that rang out from the building. I just stepped out to take a picture of the view from the balcony of the building where we meet. With the background sound of music of “Oh Be Careful Little Ears What you Hear”, I couldn’t help but reflect of the contrast of worlds as I snapped a picture of a mosque and a Catholic church just within a good throwing distance from us to them. Will these little minds someday be able to understand the meaning of all of this? Just like Nicodemus…hopefully they will ask the question of what it means to be “born again”.
It is that time again. Tomorrow we will be leaving to return to Albania to mainly get end of the year business done. Sounds like no fun to me. Anyway, we are looking forward to seeing everyone once again. The main thing is to get lots of pictures taken for some new blog posts so that all of you can enjoy the latest news. Next entry will be written from Tirana.
This week the Pastor’s Alliance of Tirana held their meeting at our center in Vlashi. It was a great opportunity to share our work with a group of leaders in a format that is difficult to just duplicate anytime. They were able to see firsthand what we do in the village.
It was just last month that Planters finally got the keys for the newly acquired property that has been in the works for over a year now. The family finished their new home and recently moved and so we have the key to use the property as we need. Little did we realize that the community kindergarten would be interested in using the facility for their classes. They previously have been meeting in our main building but now they can have more space and their “own place”. Here are some pictures of the new tables and chairs the children will be using.