Not too many years ago, there were 4 boys in the city of Pogradec who began to learn the truth of Christ through a bible study. Their faith grew and their passion for Christ began to spread in their city. And while they had few resources, little knowledge and much to learn, they became some of the greatest evangelists we have ever seen. A few years later, in 2014, there was a youth meeting of about 20 boys taking place. In a city and country where less than 1 percent of the population know Christ.
From that day, we have watched the Lord not only grow His church here in numbers, but in depth and maturity of faith. We have seen the seed fall on every kind of soil, and have watched God’s faithfulness to build His church despite the rocky soil and the choking thorns.
In October of 2015 we held our first Sunday service of the Church of Pogradec. While the church was filled with students, we also saw many of their mothers and families and neighbors. And from there, along with consistent bible studies to reach each of these age groups, we have watched again, the Lord grow His church here, into a multigenerational congregation.
On a weekly basis, there are 7 bible studies (ranging from Jr. Highers to Women) and 4 meetings at church (Childrens, Jr. High, High School and Sunday). There is a group of people who take food packages to under privileged families. There is a daily bible reading time at church where students go to read the Word together. There are students who translate sermons and Christian material each week. There are girls who serve in Sunday school.
But where has all of this taken place? Physically I mean.
3 different buildings in the last 4 years if you don’t count our homes.
We’ve consistently grown out of every place we have rented. And not only on Sundays, but in our ability to run all the ministries we desire to run.
As our church grows and as the believers grow in their own abilities to use their gifts, we are watching people branch out and finding new ways to serve and love not only each other but also our community.
We were beginning to feel like the opportunities were endless, but quickly realized that we were limited in our structural and physical capacity.
And so we began to pray. We prayed that the Lord would give us a place to call our own. We prayed for space to open up a soup kitchen and a medical clinic. We prayed for a place with enough rooms to have Sunday school classes for toddlers and the school aged kids.
We prayed for a place in the center of town that would be a light to our community.
And we even asked that God would give us a place big enough to rent out some of the property.
Why? We have communicated to you the poverty here and have explained before that the ministry here is so largely dependent on the support of so many of you. Which is a beautiful thing! This is the Great Commission!
But, we also desire for our church to be more self sustaining as it grows and deepens. Developing an income would allow us to do this. And it establishes the church beyond us and our support.
These were our prayers. And God answered our prayers!
Because so many of you answered the call to be a part of God’s global church here in Albania, in November we purchased a property we never would have imagined.
We constantly echo the words of Paul in Ephesians.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we can ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
God has truly done more than we even asked, and all the glory is His!
Our property is in the center of town. It is multifaceted and the opportunities are endless. It also has property to rent out!
And as of last week we officially received permission to begin the remodeling process!
Our church and even our city is buzzing with the news of this.
It has not even been 3 years since our first Sunday service and we cannot wait to see what the Lord does in the next 3 and 5 and 10 years here in Pogradec and in Albania.
That is what excites us! We know that what God is doing here in this city will have a ripple effect on the entire country.
Because He is able to do far more abundantly than all we can ask or think.