Company, connections and comfort food

Posted on April 6, 2011 by VMMissions Staff

I vigorously mashed potatoes by hand in the stainless steel kettle to feed nine persons around the table. Being emotionally exhausted this week, I had felt that I needed to push myself to do each of my responsibilities: Tuesday morning Bible study at the church in the village of Kemishtaj, Wednesday afternoon English lesson at Fatmirs in Ferras, Thursday afternoon English conversation hour at the church, and Friday evening Bible study at my house in Lushnje, along with incorporating and relating to the YES team. I could identify with Albanians who many times use the words “po shtymë” (we push) to describe how they are doing. Had I over committed myself when I said that the YES team (Eastern Mennonite Missions Youth Evangelism Service) along with the four Albanian boys could stay for supper after the Bible study?

Upon arriving, Jen and Sarah peeled the potatoes while the boys from the two cultures did “boy stuff.” When my elderly landlord couple and their son entered everyone got respectfully quiet. After chatting over small red plastic bowls of fruit salad we heartily sang from our song sheets. Then we marched into the promised land with Joshua and the Israelites in our Bible study while the potatoes cooked on the stove and the meatloaf baked in the oven.

With potatoes mashed and the table prepared we sat down to a feast of fellowship and laughter followed by traditional Albanian music and movement. But instead of being exhausted after that busy evening, I was exhilerated and my emotional disposition changed in the days to come. Was it the company? The comfort food? Or was it the power of God through your prayers that very Friday, February 11, when Connections called you to pray specifically for Allen Umble in Albania?

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YES team in Albania

YES team (left to right): Sarah Gingrich, Jennifer Henson, Samuel Jablonski, Joseph Byler, and Allen Umble.

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The boys. (Jetmir, in the red jacket, afterwards posted on his Facebook photos from the evening with the words, "My best friends that God give to me."

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