Wow! How time flies. Our team landed in Atlanta from Albania almost two weeks ago, and we are still in awe of the beautiful work our God did. The tiny country of Albania (roughly the size of Maryland) may be small in size, but it more than makes up for that in heart and beauty. When our team first arrived, we were overwhelmed with how gracious, kind, and warm the Albanian people were.
Our students we were teaching English to were certainly no exception! When they arrived on Sunday afternoon, they immediately struck us with their friendly, cheerful, and eager attitudes. As we got to know and spend time with our students more, it became evident that they had a thirst for knowledge--any knowledge. This thirst for knowledge is common in Albania, stemming from the effects of a communist dictatorship that allowed no outside information for 50 years. This included a ban on any religion, a ban that was lifted only 25 years ago. The people of Albania have now been freed to experience the "outside world," and our desire for our students was to introduce them to the most beautiful thing this world has to offer: Jesus.
Our students were pretty receptive to hearing the Gospel. Very few were openly against hearing it, and a majority of the students were engaged in our discussions. They were curious, and we were able to share with them our belief in the unparalleled saving grace of our Jesus, and the sacrifice He made to provide true life. We had several lengthy and in-depth conversations about theology and apologetics, which revealed to me (as a 20 year old college student) that I don't have nearly the knowledge of scripture that I wish I did! As I encouraged several students to continue to seek Jesus and to learn more about Him, I was pushed at the same time to make scripture my life-source above all else.
The most incredible thing about this trip is that once we left, the work didn't stop. We partnered with Campus Crusade's New Life team in Albania, and they work tirelessly all year to invest in these students. While our team worked to plant seeds of the gospel, the New Life team works day in and day out plowing the fields and cultivating growth. They continue to spend time talking and sharing the Gospel to those who are curious, and they disciple those who have put their trust in Him. This is such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ--some plant seeds, some plow and tend the fields, and God reaps the bountiful and beautiful harvest of souls that have placed their trust in Jesus. Our prayer is that the harvest never ceases in Albania, and that instead it would flourish magnificently.