Thirty years ago this year, in the early years of Eastern Mennonite Mission’s Youth Evangelism Service (YES) program, three other young adults and I loaded into a gigantic Buick and sailed from Pennsylvania to the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) base in Elm Springs, Arkansas, for three months of discipleship training. This was followed by a short term of service in Honduras as EMM’s first YES team to that country.
That was 1982. On January 9, 2012, Jetmir Peci from Lushnje, Albania, flew to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he is the first Albanian to participate in EMM’s YES program. After three months of training at the Harrisburg Discipleship Center he and two other team members plan to go to Honduras where they will be working with EMM’s Matt Keiser in a mission to children who live and work in the city dump of La Ceiba.
Jetmir and I first met in Victory English School in Lushnje, Albania, where I worked part time as a volunteer English teacher after my arrival in this city in August 2008. We soon met again when Jetmir was on his work route in his free hours after school. Our friendship developed as he and his brother made visits to my home; they later began to attend home Bible studies that I direct.
From December 2010 to July 2011, a YES team lived and served in the Kemishtaj village area of Lushnje. They became good friends with Jetmir who was inspired by their spiritual life and their witness for Christ. Out of Jetmir’s own desire to know God more and to serve Him, he applied to EMM where he was accepted into their YES program.
Thirty years and the circle has come around complete. Only God knows what else will come around full circle in the next thirty years out of the obedience to the call of Jesus by His followers.