We arrived safely on Saturday. Since then we have been very busy. On Sunday morning we attended Cornerstone Church at the Cru student center in Tirana, where worshipped with many staff friends, students and acquaintances from previous visits. It was good catching up with them as well as meeting new fellow believers.
We were pleasantly surprised on Sunday afternoon to have a great turnout for our July English Camp “reunion”. Out of our 35 students we had 22 come by to see us! We had fun renewing our friendships and catching up, while also having some very serious spiritual conversations continuing from discussions in the summer. Several of these students will be involved with the Cru Campus ministry as the staff engages them with Bible studies and activities.
Sunday evening we split our team to Vlora and Elbasan. Rick Johnstone, Jim and Pam Pearson, Preston Cho and Priscilla Sibley traveled Vlora while the rest of the team headed to Elbasan to work with the campus ministry teams in those cities. Both of our groups arrived safely and settled in for the week with their Cru teams.
Albania is located in the ancient Roman province of Illyricum. There is lots of history here. The Apostle Paul preached here on his third missionary journey -- probably in 56 A.D. "I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum." (Romans 15:19b)
On Monday and Tuesday, our teams have been handing out a student calendar to Freshmen students which contains a gospel presentation along with information about fun events that the Cru teams are hosting. The students can fill in a short quiz to be entered into a drawing for prizes. In doing so, they provide their contact information to Cru, who will follow up with them throughout the school year.
During this time we also have had many opportunities to have “coffees” with students where we have gotten to know them and share the Good News of Jesus. Most students come from a Muslim background, and have never heard the gospel before. Several students have already made professions of faith during these encounters, amazing us with the way God can move in students’ hearts.
During the evenings, after the student activities are finished, we have enjoyed some wonderful dinners together with the Christian Albanian university students who have traveled from a different city to serve as missionaries alongside us.