We have all arrived in Tirana, Albania safely and soundly. Well... all except for Ken Boa's suitcase. We're still waiting for that to arrive and are considering a Wal-Mart run for clean under garments!
After dropping our luggage at the Sokrat Hotel early Saturday afternoon, we went to a wonderful restaurant with four of the Albanian Cru staff. Due to the chef making fresh pasta, we were there for several hours and ate in shifts. It was yummy... but they're certainly not concerned about time like Americans are.
Once that was over, we took a tour of the three-story Cru offices and had an orientation meeting. As Alban attempted to hold our attention with the fascinating history of Cru Albania, several of us struggled to keep our eyes open... I won't name names! At that point, most of us had only napped briefly over the previous 24 hours. Who could blame us... right? Afterward we went back to the Sokrat, and most of us were in bed by 8:00 pm. Praise the Lord!
This morning, we ate a wonderful breakfast at the hotel, enjoyed a devotional led by Bruce Horacek, and headed to our first church service of the day. Singing songs of praise with our Albanian brothers and sisters in Christ was a worshipful experience. A singing group from Denver, CO led the music, and Ken Boa gave the message on the resurrection that we, as believers, should experience every single day.
After church we went to lunch with some of the Cru staff and then went on a tour of the city of Tirana. One of the most interesting sites was the Bunkart Museum, which is part of the 175,000 bunkers built across the country. A little history... This "pit-style" bunker opens up near the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Its code name "Objekt Shtylla" consists of 24 rooms, an apartment reserved for the Minister of Internal Affairs, and a large hall dedicated to intercommunications. Its purpose was to protect the communist government officials in case of a nuclear attack from the many nations whose desire was to overthrow its fierce dictator, Enver Hoxha.
From there we walked to another church in Tirana where we worshipped with more Albanian Christians, and Ken delivered a similar message to that morning's talk. Afterward, we went back to the hotel, freshened up, and headed in three different directions for dinner. Kevin, Kelly, Emily, and Ken ate a wonderful meal at the home of Dan and Alba Elliot, while Preston had dinner with some of the Cru staff that he met on his trip here in October. The rest of our gang headed out to a restaurant where they heard Avni's testimony and had an excellent time. One thing we can say, the food here is FABULOUS!
On Monday we have a lot of training going on at the Cru office, which I'll tell you all about tomorrow. Until that time, we ask you to pray for the following:
- Ken will be teaching throughout the week. Please pray for the lost who will hear the message of the Gospel dispersed among many different topics. Also pray for Avni, his translator, as he tries to keep up.
- Please pray for relationships to form as the rest of us seek to share more in-depth with those who are intrigued by Ken's teachings and others that God puts in our path.
- There is a HUGE mosque being built in the city of Tirana. Pray against the influence of Islam and other cultural religions.
- Pray for a great increase of believers in Jesus Christ in Albania.
- Pray that we don't get run over as we try to cross streets... seriously!
- Also, pray for our families back home who are likely struggling to get by without us... ha ha!
- Praise! Ken's luggage arrived! Yay!
We thank God for you as you remember us in prayer. May He bless you all as you stand in the gap on our behalf.
Until tomorrow, much love from Albania!