Worker Profile: Dan and Mary Hess
Posted on July 21, 2020 by VMMissions Staff
Service program: transForm
We serve in the city of Lezhë and the town of Milot, Albania. Our focus is building relationships to lead many to Jesus. We are involved in children’s ministry, discipling new believers and training emerging leaders. Having served in Albania from 2001 to 2005, we feel blessed to have the privilege of living in Albania once again.
Our biggest challenge has been learning to work in a shame-honor culture when we come from a guilt-truth culture. Our desire is to help the Albanians live in a culture of forgiveness, given the cultural norm of taking offense and holding grudges.
As we sought the Lord and his plans for us in Albania, God has continued to open doors for us in children’s ministry. We live in a large apartment complex, and there are many children who live there. As we interacted with them and their parents, we decided to do a children’s Bible school for a week. It was a blessing to see how the numbers of children grew each evening, and how their mothers stood at a distance in the beginning of the week, and by the end of the week they were helping us with the crafts and snacks, as well as listening to the Bible stories.
At the encouragement of an Albanian believer, we went to the neighboring town of Milot to do a children’s Bible school. It was an exciting week as many children came, with the numbers growing each evening. At the Lord’s leading, we started children’s meetings once a week and English classes.
The Lord led us to some Christian men who we have befriended along with their families. As we were beginning to encourage the men to get involved with us, the coronavirus came and we chose to come back to the States for a time.
Despite the challenge of not being present, the Lord has continued to work. Our Albanian friends told us that there are families in Milot who are out of work and in need of food. We organized a food distribution program and soon were supplying food for 30 families on a weekly basis. The men stepped up and took charge of the food program. They also started to meet weekly for prayer and Bible study and have shared the Word and prayed with the people who are coming to receive food. It has been a great joy for us to see these men step out and share the love of Jesus.
A typical day:
We start our day with prayer and Bible study together. Our daily work involves language learning with a tutor, preparing for and running children’s programs, attending prayer meetings at church, as well as household things like daily grocery shopping. Beyond this, since we want to focus on building relationships, we often go out for coffee with local church members or neighbors in one of the many coffee bars in the cities and towns. These are great places to hang out, meet new people and practice our language.