Albania: Teacher’s Assistant for Preschool

Location: Europe, Albania, Lezhë

Program name: tranSend (1-2 years)

Norma Teles with students from the Joshua Center in Lezhe, Albania

Serve as a teacher’s assistant for the Joshua Center preschool, working with the Roma population of Lezhë, Albania.

Assignment is 1 year; some Albanian language study will be included but is not central.

VMMissions’ work in Albania has a strong orientation towards children and youth. Through education, evangelism and discipleship, 8 VMMissions workers are holding out hope of a better Albanian society and, preeminently, of transformed lives through the saving work of Christ and the power of his Spirit.

VMMissions’ current work has expanded from the area of primary focus for many years in Lezhë where “Cornerstone Church” was planted 20 years ago through a collaboation between VMMissions and sister agencies, spiritual fruit growing from agricultural development, construction and relief work in the 1990s.

Today Cornerstone Church is a growing congregation with approximately 50 persons in regular attendance, and the leadership team is actively engaged in evangelism, discipleship and leadership development. While this work in Lezhë continues, VMMissions workers recently moved to the city of Shkodra in the north and the town of Milot to the east to lead new work in the areas of discipleship and church planting.

Since 2003, VMMissions has supported “The Joshua Center,” an early learning center located in a lower-income and underdeveloped section of Lezhë, and serving primarily Roma families who continue to experience significant barriers to education and employment. The Joshua Center also provides an after-school program to public school children, and holds regular meetings for Roma mothers to educate them on a variety of subjects.

Ten years ago, VMMissions helped launch the Lezha Academic Center, an elementary and high school with a current enrollment of approximately 140 students. LAC provides an English-based education from a biblical worldview. Several leaders of LAC are involved in ministries of Cornerstone Church, and an increasing number of school families are attending worship and church activities, some of them committing their lives to Christ.

Nearly 50 years ago, Albania was in the grip of a totalitarian dictator who pro-claimed Albania the “world’s first atheist state.” Even the majority religion of Islam, brought to Albania by the Ottomans, was banned until communism fell in the early 1990s. At that time, Christian missionaries who had long prayed for an open door to Albania entered with the good news of Christ. Yet after 25 turbulent years of democracy, evangelicals are estimated at less than 1% of the population, and Albania is still ranked among the least religious countries in the world. While 65% of Albanians profess to be Muslim, most are only nominally so.

Distrust, revenge, corruption and high unemployment have robbed many Albanians of hope, and many seek to immigrate to other countries. Albania is also readying itself to respond to the refugee crisis as refugees seek a southern route through the Balkans in their quest to reach western Europe. A mountainous country along the Adriatic Sea, Albania is rich in history and culture. The primary language is Albanian which derives from the Illyrian tribe of the first century. Many Albanians live in Kosovo where Albanian is also spoken.

Contact Kierston Kreider to learn more about this assignment.


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