Jesus is Lord in Albania
Part -1 Migration a wonderful way to learn and grow in Christ
Often people in Albania after hearing we moved here from Southern California would in amusement and wonder ask us why. As one acquaintance put it “why did you leave the land of the dream?” In simplicity we would tell them we are Christians and we prayed a lot and one day we felt we had to move to Albania.
I did not know where Albania was until I met Elda (my wife) in 2007. Elda moved to Southern California for college and was eventually caught by the Lord on the UCLA campus. When I met her she was serving with the campus group “Christian Students”. Prior to our first date I Googled Albania for the first time and found what I read interesting. I was impressed by the Albanians hospitality especially the kind way they treated the Jews during WWII. That year Elda and I started courting and I visited Albania for the first time. In a very strange way I found the place vaguely similar to Taiwan in the 80’s where I grew up. The traffic, the noise, the smell of diesel fumes and cigarettes mixed with street BBQ brought back many memories.
Soon after Elda and I got married while we were ready to follow the Lamb wherever He would go, the more experienced believers among us encouraged us to stay in Los Angeles for a year to learn and grow in the church life as a couple. That fellowship was exactly what we needed. Elda and I settled near UCLA and to keep our burden and fire burning for migration we started to pray with a few sisters on weekends for the Lord’s move to Europe. That prayer eventually led us to move closer to downtown Los Angeles where a small group of young professionals were endeavoring to learn and practice the church life. Elda and I both felt we needed to learn how to function in a small church for the sake of migration.
The lessons we learned in downtown Los Angeles were precious and valuable. We were convinced we can have the best church life anywhere in the world. We saw how sweet and wonderful our meetings could be if we just cooperate and allow the Spirit the freedom to move among us. We also realized how precious the believers were around us and how much we needed them. In bearing the burden for the testimony of Jesus we learned you could not put a price tag on consecration but the more we gave our time and our heart the more precious His name became.
As we opened our burden for migration to Europe to the believers around us we all felt good to conclude our church prayer meeting with short prayers for Europe especially for Albania and Italy. In 2012 Elda’s parents came to visit us in Los Angeles, the day before they left for Albania they were dynamically baptized calling on the Lord’s name. This was an answer to many years of prayer. Elda’s dad is in his 70’s; the night he got baptized he was full of life and vigor; the youngest person in the room.
After 5 wonderful years in Los Angeles we left our home, our job, gave all of our furniture away and headed for Albania with 2 girls: Vera age 3 and Eva age 1.5 and our pet dog Zoe. With a brief stay in Philadelphia we landed in Albania on November 2012.
As with any new move there are challenges, but with the Lord going before us there are also wonderful surprises. The believers meeting in Tirana, Albania since the 90’s greeted us warmly. We felt at peace and full of faith as we claim and stand on the prayers of the saints back in the States. Before long the Lord brought us open vessels, and as the living fountain started to overflow in us merging with the living fountains from seekers and believers around us we started to feel right at home. We realized Albania too is becoming the New Jerusalem.
Part -2 An English Speaking Pre-School
As part of our consideration to stay in Albania long term we felt good to start a pre-school to care for our children and provide a way to support ourselves financially. The house we have rented is just the right size for a small preschool while still allowing us a place to eat and sleep. Speaking to both parents and educators in Albania we felt there is a market for an English speaking preschool and that Elda and I could bring something special to the community around us by providing an all English speaking program based on arts, music and interactive play.
To create a warm and unique environment for the children we are in the process of building our own furniture and outdoor play area. We also hope a sister could join us from the States that has a background in pre-k education and is burdened for Europe. Our goal for 2013 is to have a staff of 4 with no more than 15 children ages 3 to 5. Currently we are looking to start the school in the fall. If you would like more information on our pre-school please visit our web site at http://tiranaschool.org
We hope to see you all in Albania. Please come and visit us.
Come Lord Jesus.
David and Elda