My story begins immediately upon the mission team's arrival in the city of Korce, Albania. Actually, the story begins with my last trip to the same city in 2014 when a 19-year-old girl adopted me as her grandpa in the place of the grandfather she had dearly loved and had lost in December 2013. Asja is her name and Kadri is her fiancé, and both accepted Christ during the 2014 trip.
Upon my arrival, Asja, Kadri and a young boy came to welcome me in the lobby of the hotel. Asja had a long stem white rose, a welcome note in her hand, and a big smile on her face. She confidentially shared with me that the young boy, whose name is Amareldo, was her younger brother who had been harassing her for the past year when he found out that Asja had converted to Christianity from Islam. She said that he had been hiding her Bible at home and not allowing her to read it. He had threatened that if she stayed in her newfound faith, he would report it to their parents, the consequence of which would have been disastrous.
I suggested that we all go out to a nearby park and visit. The Lord clearly spoke to my heart that I should resolve this problem by explaining to Amareldo what Asja had done and why! Then I shared my story with him and presented the Gospel as his sister was translating. Continuing to share the Gospel, I noticed that the demeanor of Amareldo was changing from an angry young man to a loving young man with a conservative smile. In the conversation that followed, it was my desire to make certain he understood what I had shared with him; and his answer was a resounding "yes." At this time the Lord impressed on my heart to ask him if he was ready to give his heart and life to Jesus. He gave a big smile and said, "yes." The four of us stopped still in the park, and I held Amareldo's hands and led him to pray and accept Christ in his heart. What happened next amazed me greatly: Amareldo turned to his sister, hugged her and apologized for his behavior in the past. We four hugged and prayed and thanked the Lord for His continued miracles all over the globe!
The next day I visited the parents as well as the rest of the members of Asja's family at their home in a village. With the permission of her father I prayed in the name of Jesus for the family at the lunch table. They all bowed and listened carefully to the translation of the prayer.
Amareldo joined the English camp. We met in the evenings along with a CRU member as an interpreter. He was discipled as we studied the Bible in his language, and his questions were answered.
Asja is graduating from the university next year with a bachelor's degree in biology. Kadri is studying computer engineering and has two more years to graduation. Amareldo is a sophomore in high school. I see Amareldo joining his sister and Kadri as a team, a team with the potential of becoming the leaders of a future church in Korce! They all are attending the small evangelical church in that city now. I am praying for them and also for the parents to observe the changes in their children and accept Christ into their own hearts and life. Almareldo created a thank-you card for me - the greatest gift I received!