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
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.
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.
I had another Ben Ji Min sighting at camp last week. I’m going to share some pictures at the risk of looking like a stalker.
His sister was attending & the poor fellow didn’t meet the age requirement. He was 5 & the camp was for 11-14 year olds. So they wouldn’t let him in even though he came at 7:30am knocking on the door ready for camp which started at 9.
So he and his brother had to stay outside. When the camp kids were outside in the afternoon, they came over…Beni came over on his little yellow scooter in his little yellow shirt.
They really wanted to come in and get in on the fun!
But they were stuck on the outside looking in…
They wanted in because they knew what was coming…water balloons! So the boys on the balcony threw a few over the gate to hit little Ben Ji Min who shouted out, “Osama (his brother) come quick! They’re hitting me again!”
Then when his brother would look, the boys would stop throwing them as if nothing had happened. Though the wetspots and balloons on the ground were kind of obvious.
Finally, little Ben Ji Min gave up and went home on his little yellow scooter.
Next year little Ben Ji Min, next year. Camp will come again next year…
We just finished up week 3 of camps and the second week of CEF camps. This week was for 11-14 year olds. Yesterday, as I was walking home, I was talking to one of the girls (who Nicole overheard telling her friend she wants to be a missionary). There had been a mix up and she didn’t get her sandwhich at the end of camp. Our conversation went something like this (loosely transalted) Continue reading
I’ve heard the story a million times about how Solomon could have anything he wanted from God and he chose wisdom. But it’s a bit different in the message…
Here’s what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people? 1 Kings 3:9
Wisdom is referred to as a God-listening heart. That is the perfect definition of wisdom. To be wise, you can’t listen to the world. You can’t listen to the media or trends. Sometimes you can’t even listen to friends & family.
True wisdom comes from God. To be truly wise, you have to listen to him and only him. (Though it is nice when the wisdom he gives you is confirmed in friends and family!)
I want wisdom that comes from a God-listening heart!
I came across this prayer while reading Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell and I feel I pray the same way quite frequently. I pray for things I think I want or need only to find that God gives me something better because even though my heart might be in the right place, my words often to not do my heart justice in seeking the best things God has for me.
I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might humbly learn to obey.
I was asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for but everything that I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I among all men am most richly blessed.
–A Civil War Soldier
I’m grateful I serve a God who does not give me what I ask for but a God who knows me well enough to know what I really need & want. What my heart’s deepest desires are. A God who loves me so much and knows me so well that He hears & answers even my unspoken prayers.
One day, I went out with Nicole to get some b-roll footage for a video I’m working on. It’s quite funny because we were gone only 45 minutes at the most and at least 4 people stopped us to ask what we were doing. Each one of them assumed I was there to fix the roads. Or to show that the roads need fixing. It was the same thing to them. Continue reading