A report on the Easter Mission Trip by Trip Leader - Wes Longden
On the trip: Wes, Les, Yvonne, Dave, Joel, Rhys and Jamie
A team of 7 from Mosaic arrived in Sarande, a town in the Southern Albanian coast via a half hour boat ride from Corfu at Easter. Sarande means ‘40 Saints’ and refers to 40 Christian martyrs who refused to give up their faith when faced with death. The town has certainly grown since Yvonne was last in Albania many years ago, and is a readily developing tourist location especially for Italians.
Mosaic Church has been supporting the work in Albania through Richard and Linda Welch who served there for over 20 years and are currently back in the U.K. Our aim is to strengthen the church and to support and encourage the young leaders. There are 2 churches that work together, one in Sarande and one in a nearby village Cuke. Life is economically difficult for a significant majority in Albania and this is one of the challenges for the church. The leaders provide a good example to the congregations and work hard at building the church whilst spend a good proportion of their time having to work to support their families.
During the week we supported an Easter outreach event organized by the 2 churches who hired a town hall venue and packed this out with over 200 and put on a programme that included music and drama. Dave preached and people were invited to respond for prayer. It was so encouraging to see a queue of people waiting for prayer at the end.
Jono from Mosaic donated 3 guitars and an amp for the outreach that we were able to gift to the church. This has added to the support for the worship team that we have already given and is it is great to see them growing immensely in their gifting.
We also had opportunity to speak to a group of elderly at a community centre and this was very well received and showed that there are still many older people in Albania with a willingness to explore Christian faith. One man sang out a spontaneous old Albanian Christian song thanking God for sending us.
Yvonne preached in Cuke church which was packed out and it was encouraging to see how the church is growing. We were so well received and their attitude is a constant good example as they live their lives in day to day in circumstances more challenging than what we face in the UK.
We visited some families who live in a derelict cinema that is a ruin. We took food parcels for each family which was the idea of Joel who had been moved at seeing the poverty. We also spent time praying and walked up to a fort and old monastery overlooking Sarande.
Everyone in the team played their part. Rhys spent time filming and getting audio translation for Christian videos that can be used by the church on social media. These could potentially go out to reach thousands with the gospel in the near future.
All three of the young lads developed a close bond with the young people in the church and this is an important part of our partnership. Relationships is why we go. God worked through smaller conversations and opportunities to pray with individuals in their homes and places of work and there was some reconciliation that Lesley and Yvonne enabled.
It was a great trip with memories made and lives transformed. Please continue to pray for the church as they grow and expand to impact Albania.