What a day we live in! I (Cory) have access to every Christian resource, book, blog, podcast, and sermon on my phone. It's all at my finger tips! You ask ... "Why are all those tools so important?" Because it makes me a better missionary, a better counselor, a better apologist, a better husband, a better father. And most importantly, it helps me grow, learn, and gain better affection for my Savior.
As being a part of THRIVE, I want to strengthen the Albanian Church. Day to day, this means dealing with people. Sin, sanctification, plans, relationships, theology, and all that stuff. Lots of talking. Lots of counseling. Lots of coffee.
But Albania is lacking something very important.
Can you guess how many times I've wanted to recommend a book to my Albanian friend who has questions about God, theology, or maybe some issue or sin they might be struggling with? All the time!
But the truth is, I don’t. Because I can’t. Because it's not in their language.
Here we speak Albanian. Here we read in Albanian. English is a foreign language.
Remember, 25 years ago Albania was a Communist nation with closed borders and isolated from all other nations. Before that, it was under the Ottoman Empire for almost 5 centuries. As a result Christian literature is hard to find, and most of the good old stuff is non-existent. No Pilgrims Progress, no Augustine, no Calvin. But as the number of Christians increase in Albania, the need for more resources increases.
And here is the ironic/frustrating reality:
I can just about obtain access any book, blog, or resource that I need to from Albania. And yet can’t give any of those resources to the people here.
But, in the last few years, God has saved some really important and gifted Albanians in Pogradec who have begun the work to daily to translate resources, literature, songs, blogs, studies, and anything else that is needed.
Mesina and Sergej are two individuals who have begun serving in this way.
Mesina got saved through a summer camp a few years ago. Since then she has translated probably over a hundred sermons and Bible studies for the missionaries. This young girl stays up late, says no to things, and serves when no one is watching. All so that the missionaries in her church can preach the truth in her language.
Sergej is a young man who is giving his young life to translate books and resources from English to Albanian. He does this because he wants the Church of Albania to have every resource it can to grow deeper in faith. I had no idea when we met at a camp 3 years ago that today I would get to watch the Lord empower this young man with passion to reach his own people.
I am sure at this moment he is on his computer somewhere alone working on something. Not for his own glory. But for the glory of Christ.
THRIVE has helped fund the costs of getting the publishing rights for a few books that are now being translated. This is a small cost but it has potential to be life changing for generations. Translating good Christian Literature (because we have lots of the bad stuff for some reason) is one of the clearest needs for strengthening the church of Albania. It's a simple but time-consuming effort, but one that can absolutely and radically change lives.
So whatever book you are reading right now ... we don’t have it. We have plenty of prosperity gospel, wacky doctrine, and shallow self-help.
But, with the hard work of these new believers, I am looking forward to the day when Christian Albanians can have a small Christian library in their home, in their language. THRIVE is thrilled to have a very small part in helping that happen.
Our prayer is that through these resources, we will watch the Lord work in the lives of more Albanians, and that they may bear good fruit and grow deep roots in the name of Christ.