Into All The World: Albanian Christian Fund
Trustees: Cecil Gaw, Wesley Ferguson, David McNeill
It is now over 15 years since we commenced helping in the work of the Lord, first in Albania and later on in Kosovo. Up until late 1991 Albania was a closed country where atheism was forcibly imposed upon the people for many decades. Any expression of religion was met with imprisonment or even execution. It was a country without the knowledge of God, without Bibles or any Christian literature. How encouraging to look back to the way in which God has worked to open this country up so that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ would shine into many darkened hearts. We have had the joy over many years of seeing people come to a saving faith in our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Many assemblies have been planted, and the believers seek to follow the Word of God in doctrine and in practice. Outreach work is carried on in many places and the believers have a desire to reach others with the message of the gospel.
For this task they need Christian literature and we seek, through the Albanian Christian Fund, to supply all that is needed. We sent at the end of October 77,000 Scripture calendars and 10,000 "Ultimate Questions" all in the Albanian language. We also supplied many Bibles and New Testaments through the Albanian Bible Society. The believers collect as many as they need and the ACF pays for them. Do pray for the distribution of this literature and that people may read it and as a result turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. This literature will be given to atheists, Muslims and others.
There are many villages high up in the mountains that have not been reached with the gospel. Pray that the believers will seek to reach some of these places with Christian literature. We have supplied over the years a number of Land Rovers which are able to cover rough territory otherwise inaccessible to ordinary vehicles. Some time ago we reached the remote village of Vilez and preached the gospel to villagers who had never heard it before. To reach this village we had to drive over rough country and then through a river. We gave the villagers 200 bags of clothes etc. and in each bag we had placed Christian literature. What a joy it was to tell these people that the articles had come from Christians, far across the sea, who cared for them. Then we were able to preach the gospel from John 3.16 to the many villagers who had gathered to listen. There have been many journeys like this over the years we have been visiting Albania, and we continue to pray for the good seed that has been sown to bear fruit.
One aspect of the outreach work that has encouraged us lately is the access to the men's prison in Peqin. We had the privilege of visiting there and preaching the gospel to a number of the prisoners. That day some professed faith in Christ and some have requested baptism. A number have been baptised in a portable tank brought into the prison. Just recently a further 6 have been baptised. Do pray for the prisoners that have trusted the Lord, as many in the prison are Muslims, and also pray that many more will come to faith in Christ. The ACF has sent large quantities of clothes, shoes, medical supplies, chairs and many other items to this prison and no doubt this has helped in keeping the door open for regular visits by the believers.
The work in Orikum
There is a new work commenced in the village of Orikum near to the assembly in Vlore in the south of the country. Please pray for this work and that an assembly may soon be planted there. Other assemblies throughout Albania are reaching out with the gospel to nearby areas and are seeing people saved, baptised and added to the assemblies. There is still plenty of opposition to the spread of the gospel. Many new mosques have been built over the years and Islamic missionaries seek to promote their false religion and try to hinder the work of the Lord.
A continuing problem is for single girls who have trusted Christ being forced into arranged marriages with Muslim men. This is a strong cultural tradition especially in villages and it brings dishonour to the family when a Christian girl does not comply. Pray for this situation that the Lord may give grace and help to these girls in very difficult circumstances. Another problem is where a wife gets saved and her Muslim husband is totally opposed to Christianity. He looks on his wife's "change of religion" as turning her back on the religion of her ancestors. This situation can be very difficult for the Christian wife. Sometimes the husband will forbid baptism or coming to the meetings. Pray for those going through this trial.
As well as the great need for Christian literature there is still a great deal of poverty in many places. We in the ACF feel that it is right to seek to help believers and others in their need by "doing good unto all men". For this reason we continue to send containers with literature, clothes, bedding, shoes, food, medical supplies, and many other things that are needed. We try to help Marijan Nijhof and her sterling work in running the orphanage in Gjirokaster.
We sent 3 containers in 2007, the last 2 on 27th October. Both these arrived towards the end of December, and contained Bibles, Christian literature, a wide variety of clothing and medical supplies, as well as a broad selection of household and personal items. As transport costs alone for the 2 containers in October were £6,405 we like goods to be new or nearly new.
We give God thanks for the valued support of his own dear people, which enables us to continue helping in the work of the Lord, and on behalf of the Albanian Christian Fund we express our thanks and appreciation for your prayers and practical support in His work in both Albania and Kosovo. We also pass on the thanks of missionaries and national believers for all the Christian love and care that has been shown to them.