The Lord has provided Internet. Somehow, someway.. each day, He has provided a way for me to communicate with all of you. I want to stay unplugged with what's going on in USA, but each day, I think about how can I communicate all the things we are tasting, seeing, smelling, and living each day here in Albania. There are no words to describe all God has revealed to us on this journey. I would like to share a favorite from today.
This afternoon after a long morning, we went back to the church here in Berat. We have a small room we have been meeting in and using as our home base here while in town, (at night, we are staying in church member's homes-you will have to ask your loved ones about this when they return-too much to tell ) after meeting and planning in our little room this afternoon, we were invited up to the worship room of the church. Each Thursday afternoon at 4:00, church members gather after work and school to pray. This would be similar to a Wednesday night prayer meeting at home. Well.... this is like no other prayer meeting I have attended. First of all, songs of worship were offered to God.. Our God, the Chris Tomlin Song was sung in Albanian, I just sang right along in English, however, the beautiful harmonies and melodies of praise and worship in another language than my own, reminded me of what heaven will be like. These people here have lived through oppression of communism, they are surrounded by mosques, they have family members who are not believers, but they worshipped away...lifting songs of praise as hard as they could. We Americans, were ALL drawn to tears. It was a very beautiful moment.
For our prayer time, a wonderful lady named Marcela, (we have decided she is their church's Ms. Andrea'-love you Andrea' ) Marcela has curly hair, almost a beautiful red, and a fiery passion for the Lord. She read scriptures from Timothy when Paul offered encouragement. To see her encourage her fellow believers was moving. She then would give a specific topic to pray for. After that, church members would pray aloud, in unison... if you have never seen or heard this done, it is beautiful. Beverly, our host missionary explained this style of prayer came out of the evangelical church movement in South Korea... At first sound, it also reminded me of what heaven will sound like. The God of Gods can hear all prayers in all languages at one time.. so we offered in English, while they offered in Albanian. Some major prayer concerns for the church are (if you will pray at home?)... a church building they can buy, a church van so they can pick up believers in neighboring villages, for their pastor and his family... then, the most moving moment of all was when they asked our team to stand in the center of the circle, while church members prayed aloud, in unison for us.. for energy, for unity, and for health while traveling. NOT A DRY EYE FROM THE FPC team!!! Praise the Lord for this amazing gift of fellow believers lifting us up in prayer.
Tonight, we took an evening walk through the streets of Berat, we prayed at the new university, then headed across the bridge and prayed for the entire city. God is at work.. tonight, we are back in homes again settling in and getting rest for our Women's Retreat tomorrow. Would you pray for that tonight? Abby, Dawn, and myself will speaking, Karen will lead a craft with the ladies, and Beverly will be teaching the women as well. Please pray for the logistics, a time of encouragement for these ladies, and for all of us to rest tonight. Several team members did not even sleep or settle last night. Hopefully, we can update later.
We love you all!