Category Archives: Women’s Ministry

Girl Talk

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A group of Floridian women landed in Albania this weekend and 12 hours later were hiking the hillside village of Vlashaj to get acclimated to their new community for the week and acquainted with some of its female citizens.

In one day we visited six homes and heard six stories.  We heard stories of years of menial labor (37 years of digging fields, in one case), years of work abroad to support one’s family while missing her children’s formative years.  Years of living under the roof of an in-law who hurled curses and inflicted beatings.  Stories of mothers whose children are their sole source of love, security, and identity but have moved away, leaving them to bear burdens alone.  Stories of children forced by economic circumstances to take on more responsibility than most to help the family.

We met women who have a palpable excitement over the opportunity to have a break from everyday tasks, from caring for elderly parents, for a reprieve from an air of hostility in their own homes.  We were asked, “Can you make the retreat not just one day but 7?”  Others said they were looking for fellowship and fun and to meet new friends.  Another said she wanted to spend time with women in prayer. 100% of them said they had never done anything like this before. 



We were in homes of plenty and homes of want. In each home we were welcomed and served.  Acquaintances were made, family photos and testimonies shared, tears shed, and prayers prayed.

We came back to our little team apartment above the ministry center better understanding where our hosts are coming from. We were amazed to witness Spirit-driven conversations, how He weaved together pieces of our personal stories into mutually relate-able experiences that transcended cultural divides.

 

We can’t wait for more days like these!  Thank you, Lord, for this privilege!  What a JOY! Oh friends, hearts are soft.  We are expecting great things.  

 

Because of the reputation of my father, I was warmly received by this gentleman whom we passed on the road…

You might recognize him from his portrait I captured here  He didn’t recognize me… you can’t tell but he’s nearly completely blind (and 93 years strong).

re-posted from the Waggoner’s blog

 

Ladies Bible Study

Shpresa has started a village wide Ladies Night for every Wednesday evening. Since I knew we would be here in Albania this week, I asked Shpresa if I could share a lesson with the ladies.  I used the text of I Peter chapter 1 to tell the women that God had chosen them to inherit His offer of salvation and blessings which includes the living hope that we have through Jesus Christ.  Just as I was beginning the lesson, the lights went out.  This isn’t something completely foreign in a village of Albania.  It was just that I mentally hadn’t prepared for this situation and what my plan would be.  A quick prayer of “help” was said and the evening progressed by the flickering light of the candles.  The message of salvation never goes unchallenged in a world filled with darkness.  The message couldn’t have been more clearly presented that evening, and with or without electricity, the Spirit will use that message to reach the chosen.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

A lot of you will be going to Grandma’s house this week. You’ll get to share in all the goodies: Food, tradition, and family. It’s a natural thing to want to be included in holiday family tradition. Grandmas make anything special, especially when families get together.I’ve wanted to visit Grandma’s house this week in the village of Vlashaj. Flora has garnished respect from me over the years because she lives on the high corner of the village and always monitored traffic, separating dogs from donkeys. She is a grandma, one who has made her family stronger in time of trouble, happier in times of sadness, and wiser when her knowledge guided the family through low spots. She will, without knowing it, stand over her family on this Thanksgiving.Age has taken its toll. Every day from her little chair by the front gate she would wave or shake her walking stick to let you know that we’d better say “hi” and give her a hug or you would fall under the rain of strong Albanian phrases. Sadly, these days she’s been reduced to the back kitchen to sit by the cooking stove and stays warm all day to help with her arthritis and diminished legs. I was brought over to her, she was told who was there to visit her and did the proper response that guests in Albania do, I bowed low, and then promptly gave her a hearty hug. The work that she’s done in the village, the commission handed her to steer her family and the guidance that came from a much younger frame allows me to give this lady respect.

Summer Events

June 11 -18 marked several remarkable events. One of which being, a series of ladies meetings. The ladies team from The Family Church of Gainesville, FL, planned a study of the book of Ruth to share with the women of Vlashi. Through a drama depicting the relationship of Naomi and Ruth and Boaz the story of redemption was illustrated to the village ladies. The response from the women was awesome. It was met with great enthusiasm.

Ladies Night

Friday evening was ladies night in Vlashi. All of the ladies were invited to view the Mary Magdelene movie plus singing and folk dancing. Genti and Shpresa said ladies came for the evening that had never been in the center before. Hearts were encouraged and challenged. May God open these lives that have never understood the message of love for them. Genti and Shpresa were able to also distribute some items from World Vision.

Women’s Meeting

It was a great time getting to share with several of the ladies in the village who recently have accepted Christ. Just to understand and to learn what struggles they are dealing with in their “new life” is so special. They commented that the peace and joy they have experienced in their walk is something they never have had before. I think we could have talked all day if we had the time. The picture doesn’t include Noci who left early to take care of her little boy who was at home.