Last week there were 6 youth from Vlashi that went to church camp in northern Albania. Genti and Shpresa organized these youth to attend the camp with other members from the church in Tirana plus with some visiting young people from Germany. Here are some pictures that Genti emailed today. Planters had a scholarship program for these youth so they would be able to stay for the week.
Diane, from Florida, arrives with luggage missing. packing gift bags for the home visitson the village trails going to the home visits Bukeria wouldn’t let us leave without a gift of flowers from her front garden. She had a baby girl two days later.having a Bible study with Bartha (center)getting together with the girls from the girls training center My intentions were to have this news sent while I was in Albania but there was trouble getting reconnected with the internet server. Also, most of my time was spent in the village and there is no internet in the village. I did arrive home in Illinois last night and so today I’m pretending it was last week and this is the news that I would have written then.
Last week Mandi organized a school game field day for several of the mountain villages. Darshen has a great game field and so the schools of Selbe and Shkalle joined for a day of fun and competetion hosted by Darshen. Games of volleyball and soccer were played. The winning school was Shkalle. The second place school was Darshen.
Planting corn has been a sparce activity these days. Either it is too cold or too wet to put the planter in the ground. Now that we have turned May’s calendar page over, time is not on the farmer’s side anymore. The corn must go in even though conditions are not optimual. I took a picture of David as I delivered lunch to the field today. I also got to ride a couple of rounds with him and was introduced to his new on board “computer” touch screen monitor that tells him about anything he would like to know about the seeds that are going in the ground. David was getting concerned about row 2. It was planting doubles every once in a while.
Goodbyes are never what we enjoy when it comes to very good friends. Lela and her son Xhulio (Julio) left Vlashi to go live in Italy with husband and Dad. They have been waiting for eight years to get papers for living there. They were the neighbors across the street from Genti and Shpresa. They were the neighbors that became the closest of commrades. Lela was a young woman who was distant and difficult to ever see smiling. Things changed after she met Shpresa. Little by little, mostly through their sons developing friendship, did the friendship grow and Lela began to trust Shpresa. After a short two years, Lela and Shpresa depended on one another from carrying for the other’s son to guarding the house and to knowing what made each other laugh or cry. Lela left this past Sunday and will be missed by many of the young ladies in the village. We can be thrilled with one thing for sure. She has accepted Christ as her Savior. Our prayer is that she will find another good friend like Shpresa that will continue the mentoring and help Lela to live out her faith in her new home.
The village kindergarten moved in last week. So far it seems to be working out well for them. I like the one picture of the gender segragation. It starts at an early age.Genti also wrote news that one of the Albanian TV channels, Top Channel, was holding a news special featuring the evangelicals and their aid to the people in Gerdec, the village where the explosion took place. VUSH, the evangelical consortium, asked to hold this interview at our ministry center in Vlashi. We’ll update you as to what went on with this meeting.
Arjan sent some pictures this week of some of the clean up going still going on at the ministry center in Vlashi. The box that Mersin and Anselmo are carrying is filled with broken glass from windows and glass doors from inside the building. The broken slats of wood are off storage doors in the loft area on the second floor of the center. There are four doors that are going to have to be repaired. Also, today I was reading from one of the articles listed on our side bar of “related articles” that said investigators that worked on 911 wreckage sites and also the team that worked at Oklahoma City are currently in Albania working at the blast site.Lastly, in another article that I was reading, Albania was all excited since NATO has extended to them an invitation to join. Only now, they are in a mild panic because they realize they must clean up their “extralegal” affairs –where up to 90% of business and property assets are part of the black or gray economy.
(Notice the temporary housing in the background)Today we received an email attachment from Genti showing what a group of them did and experienced in Gerdec, the closest village to the explosion of three weeks ago. Genti mentioned that Mandi and his family, Olti and Anselmo (from Vlashi), and himself went to help distribute aid to the families that experienced complete devastation from the blast.
Today we found out that several families in Vlashi village have relatives that lived in the village that took the direct hit from the explosion. Their homes are completely gone and they are not going to be able to use their land because of the contamination. Genti and Shpresa took boxes of food to the families of Vlashi that now have the extra burden to house and to feed their relatives from Gerdec. The other news is that the kindergarten in Vlashi will be moving into our ministry center on Monday. Their building was destroyed from the concussion. Next week hopefully we will have pictures to show you.We talked with Mandi on the phone this week and he said that there was so much snow in the mountain pass that they were unable to go to Darshen this week. We guess spring hasn’t completely come everywhere yet.