A trip to Albania: our availability as God’s instruments in mission

Posted on July 13, 2012 by VMMissions Staff

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but actually being there is in a totally different category. For us, Albania was a distant place we’d hear about through faithful missionaries including Allen Umble and Norma Teles. Allen is a former member of our congregation, Mt. Clinton Mennonite, and Lee is on Norma Teles’ Missionary Support Team. While we’ve eagerly welcomed visits from both to our congregation, the suggestion that we visit them in Albania took awhile to sink in. However, through the encouragement of VMM staff, that’s what we did May 11-21.

In Lezhe, we were privileged to visit, walk, eat and pray with Norma. A highlight was joining her for a morning at the Joshua Center, experiencing the beautiful faces, unique personalities, energy, and great potential of the Roma children she teaches. Having coffee with Klementina and Dini Shahini and meeting their committed staff at the Lezha Academic Center, we witnessed God’s kingdom coming and will being done in the lives of high school students. Though understanding the language was beyond us, joining in Sunday worship with believers in Lezhe and in a village near Lushnje expanded our understanding of the Church worldwide, and our own place in it. Visiting Fatmir and his family near Lushnje with Allen, and hearing Fatmir’s amazing story of coming to faith in Jesus moved us to praise our God who still works miracles and transforms lives. Witnessing Norma and Allen relating to many people who clearly love and respect them causes us to reflect on our own availability to be God’s instruments in mission.

Being among many wonderful people in this beautiful country has transformed Albania from a distant place to a nation and people we hold in our hearts and prayers in a profound new way.

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Peg and Lee Martin (left) with Allen Umble (back right) and Fatmir and his family.
Photo courtesy of authors

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