Tag Archives: life

Tearful Goodbyes

I hate goodbyes. But I’ve been doing a lot of them lately.

Today, Nicole & I said goodbye to our family. We said goodbye to the Kenet. We said goodbye to Albania. We said goodbye to a life we have come to love. We said goodbye to people we care deeply about.

But Nicole & I know that we will make our way back in the future. We don’t know when or for how long. But our family knows this too even though we never made any promises . They never asked if we would come.

They kept telling us when we come back for a visit…

When we come back their gate would be open to us.

When we come back we have to come have a coffee.

When we come back, we must come eat dinner with them.

When we come back, we must bring our husbands.

When we come back…when we come back…when we come back.

It was a bittersweet morning. Nicole & I left one life we had built to go back a life we haven’t been in for two years. This morning we left one family we love to to back to another family we love. This morning we left a pretty big chunk of our heart in Albania. But this isn’t goodbye Albania. You can’t get rid of us that easy. It’s a see you later.

Uhhh mirupafshim // uhh goodbye
shihemi me vone // see you later

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English Camp

A team from the States came over to do a 5 day English camp last week. The kids came at 3. Camp started at 3:30 with an English class then a game/craft/skit time before the closing rally which had music and a message.

I wasn’t in any of the English classes but I heard wonderful things about them!

The games all looked fun (I was photographing/videoing so I didn’t get to play).

It was a fun week for the kids!

Two guys from the team spoke each evening with an amazing translator. The guys had awesome messages each night but the translator added an extra layer of awesome. He would change things to make them more Albanian and more understandable and more relatable to the teens. It was great.

God used all 3 of these guys and the other people who shared their testimonies throughout the week to work in the hearts of these kids.

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Quite a few kids already had a relationship with God but many other kids committed their lives to Christ by the end of the week. Next week, the kids are invited to come to a weeklong course where they will be learning the basics to kickstart their new active lives in Christ.

Please be praying for these teens that their passion and desire for Christ wouldn’t end with camp. Or next week. Or next month. Or next year. But that the journey they started this week would be continued throughout the rest of their lives.

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CEF Camp [Week 2]

Last week was the second and final week of CEF camps. We had nearly 50 kids show up to camp!

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While the schedule was the same, nothing else was! The crafts were different. The movie was different. The lessons were different! Continue reading

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Ben Ji Min

No matter what camp you work at, there are 3 types of kids. The trouble makers, the well behaved kids & the kid that steals your heart. Ben Ji Min was the kid who stole my heart.

He is only the cutest little kid ever (next to my nieces of course).

The first day of camp, I heard everyone calling him 3 names. Ben Ji Min (Ben-ye-mean). But I never could catch all of them. But the names sounded Chinese so I thought he had a Chinese name. (There’s a rumor going around that I thought he was Chinese. That is just a rumor. I only thought he had a Chinese name. There’s a difference. A big difference!)

I found out that he was a 5 year old attending a 6-10 year old camp. They let him come because his brother and sister came. His father is German and his mother is Albanian. And I thought he had a Chinese name.

The second day of camp, I still hadn’t caught his name but he looked like Russell from Up so I called him Russell. At the beach, he came running over to me to ask if I had a stick. Random. He seemed pretty desperate to get a stick. He said they found some fish and he wanted to catch one! I guess he needed a stick to go spear fishing!

The third day of camp, I found out that he in fact does not have a Chinese name. His name is Benjamin but in Albanian you pronounce it Ben Ji Min (Ben-ye-mean). This was an embarrassing revelation for me. But I moved on. Because now, I could call him by his name!

The fourth day of camp, Ben Ji Min told me he was burnt…as in sun burnt. Only he really told me he had a tiger. They sound very similar in Albanian and the craziness of having a tiger never made me think that he actually said he had a tiger. Until he pulled a tiger costume out of his backpack. Then I realized he did say he had a tiger. A tiger suit. That he brought…on beach day!!!! We all went back to the beach…even Ben Ji Min and his tiger suit. But he didn’t go swimming that day because there were fish in the water.

The last day of camp, he brought the tiger suit back. Lucky for you I got a picture!

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Oh Ben Ji Min, I’m going to miss you next week at camp!

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Bible Camp

Last year, we started having a Bible-bowl type contest. The kids really liked it and took off with it. For about a month and a half they would study a Bible passage. Then the teams would come together for a day of serious competition. I mean it was serious.

But even so, they were all good sports. They would memorize scripture & answer questions about the passages they studied. Then they learned the books of the Bible. Then we introduced sword drills to them (racing to find scripture faster).

Then we decided to kick off summer with a Bible camp for them. We had a week long Bible camp with 4 different stations and we studied Romans 12 all week. 28 kids attended and were put onto 4 teams: red, blue, yellow & green.

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Jacob & Corey led worship each morning before we got started.

It was amazing to be able to worship with these kids. They would sing loud and proud and it was great! Here is a taste of the worship time.

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Lucie practiced sword drills with the kids. I helped them learn memory verses.
They didn’t need much help. They learned them by the second day!

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For 2 days, Allan taught the kids basic fundamentals.
Who wrote the Bible, why and how we read it,
what it teaches us and some prophetic themes throughout.

This was a great opportunity to give some really good basic knowledge not just to the believers who came but also to the kids who are Muslim but don’t really know the difference between being Muslim and Christian.

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The other two days, Sheri taught the kids how to study the Bible on their own.
They even applied what they learned and wrote questions for the competition!

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Matt & Caryl went over Romans 12:1-8 with the kids each day.

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They even talked separately to the girls & boys
about holiness, modesty & relationships.

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Arba & Nicole went through Romans 12:9-21 with the kids.

On Friday, we had the competition they had all been studying for during the week. The kids had written the questions and you could tell they had been working hard all week. At the beginning of the week, some of the kids didn’t know Genesis was the first book in the Bible. By the end of the week, they were finding all the books of the Bible just as fast if not faster than some of the kids who had been practicing for previous competitions!

The kids had pretty much the whole chapter of Romans 12 memorized by the end of the week and I think they answered almost all of the questions right today! They blew me away!

After the competition, each team performed a skit. Each team was given part of Romans 12 to put together a skit to show what those verses looked like in real life today. They did an amazing job!

Then we let the kids share something they learned this week if they wanted. A couple shared some verses that they thought were hard to apply in life or how much they have learned. For many, it because a time of thanks for everyone who had been teaching and working with them this week. And I am so grateful for everyone who helped too! But most of all, I’m thankful for God who showed up in wonderful ways this week!

This week I saw kids who didn’t know each other become friends.
I saw kids meeting together on their own outside of camp to practice.
I saw kids growing together spiritually.
I saw kids growing in their relationship with God.
I saw kids applying scripture to their lives.
I saw kids having fun learning about God.
I saw kids excited to be learning about God.
I saw kids HAPPY!

I’m just so proud of them for how much they learned this week, how hard they worked and how much growth I saw in each of them! God was definitely with us and working among the children this week.

These kids [are] the church and even though they are “just kids” they are going to be movers and shakers in Albania. I know God has big plans for them. Bigger than I can even dream of. And I can’t wait to see how they will be used by God to shake things up in the Kenet!

After adding all the points they earned from games and contests throughout the week and the points from the final competition, there could only be one winner…but we still celebrated everyone’s accomplishments afterwards with a pizza party!

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1st Place: Yellow Team

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2nd Place: Blue Team

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3rd Place: Green Team

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4th Place: Red Team

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All the kids (minus 1) after the competition today

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After working so hard all week, I think we were all a little crazy!

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Birthdays in Albania

I had an awesome birthday on Wednesday. But how did I celebrate you ask? Well let me tell you… Continue reading

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Forecast

Albanians have this amazing talent of being able to look at the sky and know if it is going to rain that day. I don’t think they’ve ever been wrong. So if you want to know the weather, don’t waste your time looking online. Go outside, find an Albanian and ask them.

The other day it had rained hard all night long. I know because it was so loud, it was hard for me to sleep through it! In the morning, it was raining pretty hard still. But the sun was shining. A really weird combination. The weather forecast said there was a high chance of rain all day.

It had just stopped raining so I headed out for work with my rain jacket on, my rain cover on my backpack and an umbrella in my hand (just in case). I made it down stairs and the grandmother looked at me as if I was crazy. She asked why I had an umbrella. It had literally stopped raining  in a down-pouring fashion only 5 minutes before I left. But apparently I was crazy for taking my rain stuff with me. She said it wasn’t going to rain any more today as if anyone could tell by a quick glance up at the sky.

She was right.

It didn’t rain any more that day.

I was the only one I saw with an umbrella or rain jacket. I really need to learn how they can read the weather so well!

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