03 June 2011

Albania calling

As of noon, June 8, I'll be on my way to Albania. I have been to Europe for work several times; I squoze vacation in with that most times. I have never been much for "missions" (my mission being primarily teens and college age nearby) but Albania laid claim on my heart a year ago.

I always wanted to visit the Soviet Union. After it collapsed, I still figured I'd visit Russia some day. Maybe I will. Meanwhile, here comes Albania! I already missed the Kosovo side trip (Joel and Cheryl are there a month and a half, with the rest of us coming and going as we can). I had really hoped to get to Kosovo for reasons both spiritual (that area really needs some Daddy love!) and mundane (a vacuum tube company I dearly loved was based there but the fighting and fallout from the years of war finally seem to have done them in).

We'll get to see a lot of cool stuff, including the site of one of the earliest churches mentioned in the Bible. That's in Durres (Illyricum at the time). We'll do concerts in the parks. We'll do tent revivals. We'll meet with highly placed officials (serious favor in this group). We'll visit at least one orphanage and at least one prison. We'll work with 70 teenagers being sent by Nokia (yes, that Nokia). We'll work with gypsies. I'll get to visit a dear, young friend (Abi) who's a nanny in Durres (on the coast) just before she comes home to Austin for two weeks to marry (I'll still be in Albania). We'll hang out with one of the biggest celebrities in Albania. He's a Christian, and got them into a hardcore prison last time. Wherever he shows up, crowds gather, officials welcome him and whoever is with him. It's wild, by all accounts. Like traveling here would be with, say, Lady Gaga-- as a Christian.

The median age is about 29. They lost many people during the communist years and during the war with Serbia. The young people have almost no communist baggage, and the country in general has little or no religious baggage.

I took my best guess at how long I could go, absent readily available accrued PTO data (available only on-line, site was having problems). I guessed wrong and will be taking 3 or 4 days unpaid leave. I don't care. It's worth it. God has given me dreams and visions about Albania. It's the gateway to my future.

Sharon, meanwhile, had already promised to go to Brazil again with her twin sister's church group. It looked at first like she wouldn't be able to because the pregnancy center is short handed this summer, but it worked out. So three days after I leave for Albania, she leaves for a week in Brazil again. She gets back in the morning, sleeps all day, then goes to Abi's wedding. I could be a little jealous, but since I get to spend a day with her in Albania, I think I win!

Part of our vision is to do a Jesus Culture style event in Albania. We have a worship band we hope to take at some point. None of them have much money. If they get to go, it will clearly be God. I'm fully expecting that to happen within a year. But for now, we'll do smaller stuff.

Please pray. I'm in love with a country I haven't met, and I want to see her at the wedding as part of the Bride, pure, spotless and perfect.

I kept forgetting to blog about this, until Joya Nicole Judah reminded me. Thanks, sis. You rock!


  1. Awww sooo exciting! I remember you telling me about Albania like... monnnnnths ago. God's timing is awesome! Thanks for the shout out, way cool-- I feel so special! Lol. :) Jesus Culture there would be awesome. Seeing the lifestyle of the gypsies in Europe on "The Finger of God" so amazing for you to be apart of that. You're taking pics right? Orphanages would be good ones ;)
    Very cool about Sharon too! :)


  2. That would be because you ARE special. Yes, I will be talking pics!