Today was the first time we have had the privilege of holding a dental clinic in the village. Dr. Tom Johnston from Woodstock, VT. is doing dentistry for the people of Vlashi. In a span of 4 hours he saw 30 patients for preliminary exams. Appointments for follow-up work were set up for the remainder of his time here.
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.
It is so much fun to work with the ladies in the village that are making greeting cards to bring in a little more income for their families. For the past several weeks they were working hard on making Christmas cards. If anyone is interested in buying any of these cards, just respond to this notice and I will send them to you ASAP. They sell for $1.50 apiece.
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.
Or I should say, “Slider”. The path from the club to the village school is a 45 degree walkway for cows and shepherds that winds between mountain bushes. One of the many perils of not being a shepherd or a said beast with four legs is being an American with only two legs because without a doubt the American will fall and…enough said. I’ve included pictures of the children’s descent from school to our kid’s club meeting and then another picture of the aftermath of my descent with gravity. Other than the mud, I had to succumb to the jesting and laughter of the men at the bottom of the hill. The men were gracious enough to clean my stains from both mud and pride (much like the new TSA clearance rules for traveling). In this case it pays to be a cow.
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.
When the Vermont/Texas team came to Albania a few weeks ago, one of the projects that was initiated was teaching several of the young ladies how to make greeting cards. Now the ladies are busy making cards for the Christmas and New Year’s season. I believe they are trying to fill orders for over 200 cards. You can see some of their samples in the photos.