How to Use WEI
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to
me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have
commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside
the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and
saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the
head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"
"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they
have put him." 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,
but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him
away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
16 Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means
Rruga Maliq Muca, Nr 37
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Tel: + 355 42 228099
Cel: + 355 69 40 96622
cell: 069-2077079 (15 Aug 04)
Rr. Maliq Muca
Phone local: 228-099
Secretary: Sadete Hoxha
9 - 5 o'clock
Tirana = PST + 9 hr
The church in Tirana grows consistently by teaching Bible to
students who are at first interested in English. Quickly, the student's
interest turns to the Bible. WEI's school in Tirana, managed by
Erik, provides a place for teaching daily. The future of the church in
Tirana looks bright. Older family members are now increasing in numbers.
the director of WEI's school in Tirana, and his colleagues report their
work in Tirana here.
The long term missionary from
America is Ellen Walker.
For some time, Artan and Rumira
Xhaferi served as one of the Albanian leaders. Bledar Valca served Tirana
and Elbasan while doing his studies with IBIA school of preaching there.
Bledar is now in Tirana full time. Artan is in America.
This church is now tending
its members toward growth, growth in character and in talents. Beldar is
part of the ministers in Albania who are training men to preach in other
cities in Albania.
Maliq Muça, 39
(I = L in Albanian)
To the Maryville Church Family
New Year’s Celebration it is a very good time to look backward at the year
and forward to the coming year. This is one of the reasons why I like New
Year Celebrations. There is that time to “count your blessings” as you see
what God has done and a time to “look forward in hope” to the things God
has in store. We do consider you an important part of our blessings,
because you refresh our lives with your care, prayers and financial
support. We also look forward to another year of fruitful ministry to the
glory of our great God. Please read along to some of the things we have
been involved during these two months.
When the world thinks of our Savior, it is moment to capitalize on it and
use it to advance the kingdom. Every year, we use the Christmas time to do
something to celebrate and evangelize. This year, on Christmas Eve we
asked everyone to bring their lights and celebrate that “the people living
in darkness have seen a great light”. Knowing that someone of them would
fail to do it, we were able to buy “glow in the dark” bracelets at an
excellent price of 10 cents/piece. We had combined singing Christmas songs
with select readings from the Christmas story. Reading through the
passages I was amazed to see how much the theme of light comes into the
story. Also, in working to select the songs (something that you won’t
normally see me do), I was amazed to think through them and see who much
rich theology is in these songs. Doing the readings from a less used
version of the Albanian Bible, which sounds more like a paraphrase than a
translation, we were able to provide a good retell of the story. In
addition, we invited Brother Shkelqim Kafexhiu from Durres to share the
Christmas message for us. He used the story of Simeon and asked the
question: do we prepare for the coming of Christ with the same
Gifts for the children were provided through Samaritan’s Purse shoebox,
while church members donated, prepared and gave out several food packages
at this time for needy families. Another special feature for this year was
“celebrating Jesus’ birthday”. As I was reading through the book “The
Purpose of Christmas” by Rick Warren, I came to a tradition he had started
as a child in his family. When he had asked his mother to explain what is
Christmas, she had explained: “It is Jesus’ birthday”. To which he
replied: Why don’t we have a birthday party for him. To me that resonated
well, since every time Lemuel hears it is someone’s birthday he wants to
buy them a cake a have a party. Part of Warren’s tradition was to sit
around the Christmas tree with the family, sing some Christmas carols,
read the Christmas story from the gospels and share with each other the
answer to two questions: 1) What are you thankful to Jesus for this year?
2) Since it is Jesus’ birthday, what gift are you giving to him this year?
We adapted the idea with writing the answers on a piece of paper, putting
them inside an envelope and seal the envelope with their name. Sometime in
the Spring or early Summer, I plan for us to have a special Sunday where
we give back the answers and see what it would be like. At the conclusion
of the program we had food and a birthday cake catered from a local
business, and we sang “Happy Birthday to Jesus”. To me this was one of the
best Christmas celebrations I have been part of in years. The focus was on
the meaning of Christmas and sharing life together.
Bibles for Albania
Thanks to our ministry partners “Eastern European Mission” we were able to
provide 950 Bibles for the work in Albania in all the thirteen churches
plus for the Christian Camp. There were 600 hundred full pocket size
Bibles distributed. These Bibles come with a designation for girls (pink
and lily) and boys (orange and blue with the fish sign). 300 Bibles were
with a giant print, especially good for people with weak eyes and advanced
years. Finally, we were able to secure 50 Albanian study Bibles. These
Bibles were given to teachers and preachers of the Word throughout the
country. Also copies were kept to be given to student in the training
program that we will be starting in Kucova for the five churches in the
Berat area, plus a student from Lushnja. Earlier this year, EEM helped us
acquire 300 Easy to Read Bibles to us in connection to our WEI program.
Breakfast with Boys
One of the things I love doing is investing in the lives of young
Christians. Here the word “young” refers both to age and walk with God.
Every Saturday morning, I am meeting with a group of five boys who became
Christians in the last two years. We are studying the material “Walk of
Faith” that I wrote this year with brother Cimi and is being published by
EEM. It has been a joyful experience to see how God is using this time to
speak into these boys’ life and disciple them. Many years ago, the same
thing was done for me and some others by Lloyd Campbell. It has been one
of the things that has meant more to my walk than anything else. So far,
we have talked about our life being a walk, assurance of salvation,
talking to God through prayers and letting God talk to us through the
Word. It is encouraging see these boys open up to each other and learn to
lead prayers in this small group. My goal is to work with them to
integrate them into our youth ministry to an extent that it really becomes
a youth-led youth ministry.
Studying and Practicing Relationships with College Students
On Wednesday Nights, right after our mid-week gathering, we have continued
to meet with the college students. The group comes together every week,
even though there is a challenge with them balancing school and work at
the same time. Our study has focused on studying relationships using “the
Beatitudes” as a backdrop for the study. Famous Saying of Jesus by Jim
Woodroof, that was gifted to me by the author is used to glean thoughts
from. It has been an interesting thing to see their minds change from
“these ideas on relationships are utopia” to “these are doable”. Every
time we have refreshments provided, but we have experimented with using a
coffee shop to have a more relaxed attitude to teaching. Also, during
Thanksgiving, we went to a restaurant that provides a Thanksgiving menu to
enjoy ourselves and talk about gratitude in our lives. This is not an
effort to create an American church, but to use positive teaching moments.
It is way better to use Thanksgiving than Halloween (which strangely
enough is being celebrated more and more by the Albanians).
Ministry of Restoration
We continue to keep good records of the people who attend our services. We
are using these lists to contact people who are missing services. It is a
joy to me to see more people interested in this ministry - in praying
about and reaching out to those who are making it a habit to miss “our
gathering together”. Recently, someone who had not been coming for years
checked online to find the church (he knew that during this time we had
changed locations) and attend our service. He said that he had missed the
church and felt awkward to come. He felt that he would be judged if he
stepped back to church. Providently, unknown to him, his wife had been
part of our church at a different time. He dates back to a time when we
didn’t have good records of the people baptized here and I could find
neither his name nor his wife’s in our membership roll (our data is
current from 1997 and on, but not very good before that). Bona and I are
planning to meet with his family within next couple of weeks. Now, what
did we do to reach out to him? Pray! The prayer is a powerful tool that
goes underused by the people of God.
I continue to teach evangelism on Sunday Mornings. The classes are getting
very interesting and I know several people who are enjoying the “spiritual
exercises” that I give them for that week. Some of them are being more
intentional and equipped to evangelize. Sorry for being the eternal
optimist, by I whole-heartedly believe that intentional, heart-to-heart,
one-on-one, friendship or lifestyle evangelism is the most efficient way
to evangelize. I believe that the church should encourage and create
evangelistic events, but unless evangelism becomes a part of every
Christian’s life it won’t be very successful.
I have always encouraged Bona to have her own ministry. I have never
attempted to have her keep my rhythm, but always urged her to be involved.
She is a very important help in working with the college students. With
all the girls in our ministry, not only that is a safeguard, but it is
more effective as girls open up easily with each other. She is always
contacting, sending sms-es, inviting them to spend time with her, etc. She
is also helping me with contacting and meeting individuals and families
who are not attending, or who are attending but need our attention
Another area of ministry she has been heavily involved in the last year
has been that of preschoolers. She taught them for a whole year and now is
sharing the responsibility with Ellen Walker. In addition, they are
working to create a “cry room”. We have had several additions to families
in our church. Taking care of the children and being fully present at
worship is difficult for them, so we are trying to create that space for
them to be at worship and not worry. Bona and I went to Hope for Albania
recently and were able to get several children’s beds that can be used by
the babies. During January, we hope to have this room ready and in use
(including speakers, so they can hear the sermon).
Things in the Berat area have been going very well. The work is almost
done for the training program to start on January 13. A lot of work has
gone on this work and it is mind-blowing what God has done here. I believe
that we have worked a plan that answers the needs to create a future to
fully-functioning and God-honoring work. The level of involvement by the
other preachers in Albania allows us to use two days a month to teach and
mentor, while each one of us can go on and do ministry in his own context.
We will have four preachers and their wives in the program, a couple from
Kucova who is heavily involved, a woman who is active in teaching the
women in Kucova and one student from Lushnja which Tom Bonner is investing
on. The first five courses will be: Overview of the Bible (Eduart Hoxha,
Vlora); Spiritual Life (Cimi Kafexhiu, Durres downtown); Gospel of Luke
(myself); Book of Acts (Alfred Zike, Adriatik Congregation); and,
Christian Evidences (Tom Bonner, Lushnja). Interest has been expressed
from different people signing up for the Fall or even next year. Please
keep the work in this area in your prayers in this new phase of it.
On a Personal Level
Things are going well of us. As some of you already know we are expecting
an addition to our family this year. We found out that we are expecting
another boy and Lemuel is taking very seriously the idea of being a big
brother. Right now is a favorite game of his; we just hope it will not
turn into sibling rivalry when the boy is here. Bona had a doctor’s
appointment recently to consider the morphology of the organs. Everything
has developed into perfect organs and is going very well for the baby and
Bona. We don’t have a name yet for him, but hopefully by the time he is
here we will J
We look forward to hear from you!
In His service,