News from Albania - Kim Gregory
Newsletter: 6th January 2022
(click here to view in PDF)
Term has started again in school - many children are absent at the moment, some have missed flights in the USA due to Covid cancellations and are trying to get back, some families have been ill and are isolating. Covid tests are very expensive here and so families usually err on the side of caution if they have any symptoms, they stay home. We don't realise how lucky we are in the UK to have such a robust testing system all for free!
I´m really pleased with the progress some of the children I'm working with are making. One little chap in Kindergarten didn't know a single phonic sound in October and now he knows all 26 letters and is able to blend letters to read simple words - I work with him every day and it's so rewarding to see him discovering that he is able to read - as I said in my previous letter it is great to be teaching rather than just advising!
GDQ is such an oasis for children from mission families, their lives are full of change, travelling from place to place constantly saying goodbye to friends and family and then having to settle in again and pick up their learning. We have a family this week who have returned from a year's furlough in the States. The children are now back at GDQ catching up with familiar teachers and renewing old friendships again. Many families have to leave due to health concerns, the Head of our High School is leaving at the end of the year because the Albanian health system is unable to manage a chronic medical condition in his family.
Two answers to prayer at GDQ - the tax office have agreed that we are a non profit making school and the new landlord of the High School has allowed the school to stay for another year. Both school buildings are rented which does cause a lot of uncertainty, at the moment the trustees are trying to look at ways of raising funding to allow the school to purchase buildings so the school has more stability for the future.
We had a shocking incident this week just outside the school in a coffee bar, a car pulled up and fired off a hail of bullets into the bar killing one man and injuring three. This was at 4pm when many children were travelling home from school. We heard the gunfire but no one was hurt. We all feel thankful to God that the school community was kept safe.
Please explore what the school is up to on their website (click here)
Lines were learnt in English, songs were practised, costumes made and on the 18th December we performed our Nativity play to some parents, guests and other teachers. It was great fun and the children, who had never performed in any way before, did a great job. All the children came back the following week ( on Christmas day!) to have their English lesson and listen to the Bible story. They were still singing the songs we taught them.
Anna's hope for this village is to team up with some other mission workers who were unsuccessful at planting a church and try again. Anna hopes to develop children's work first and from that begin to encourage parents to be more involved. Please pray for wisdom and guidance with this, Anna has several meetings coming up to talk about this.
The following pictures from the Nativity Play at Golam, on the 18th Dec 2021 - The Very First Christmas:
I´m attending church each week with Freddi and Gjystina, they always make me very welcome. I´ve been helping Reona their youngest daughter make some plans for Sunday School activities. The family are all well and send their best wishes to HBC and wish us all a Happy New Year.
This project is run by an amazing English couple called Dan and Annie. Dan is a Baptist minister and Annie a physiotherapist. They are in Albania working with BMS and they have set up a church, a community centre and a rehab unit. They work with extremely disadvantaged people on the very edges of Albanian society, they are also taking on the support for many Afghan refugees. They heard recently that BMS will no longer be funding projects in Europe and they will only be supported for one more year. They are looking for ways to continue to fund their projects in the future and they want to develop their youth groups.
I suggested a Ten Sing group, how amazing would that be, a new Ten Sing group in Albania! Please look at the work they are doing. Their website is www.tekura.org they will need all the support they can find in the coming years if they are to continue their work here.
Prayer points - Safety for the school and the children with Covid cases rising and many families finding travel so difficult.
That a solution is found to the school building issues and a new building becomes available for us.
Prayer for the mission in Golem - for ways they can raise money and work with other mission teams to plant a church.
Prayer for Tek Ura as they only have one more year of BMS support.
The play in Golem went ahead with great success.
The teachers suffering with health issues are both much improved and have received successful treatment in Albania and in the USA.
I am finally looking left first when I cross a road.
Thanks and invitation
Huge thank you to everyone for making my Christmas break so great - especially George and Carole who gave me somewhere to stay when I couldn't go home ( Alec had Covid and wasn´t negative until Christmas Eve) and to Catrina for coming all the way to Luton to pick me up at the last minute. Thank you for your e mails, cards and gifts and prayers. I only got to church on Christmas Day but it was so lovely to see you all and be back at HBC.
Don´t forget if travelling gets easier and you want to find out more about Albania. I have a spare room, anyone is welcome. Look forward to seeing some of you on Zoom. I think we have a prayer meeting and a mission meeting coming up soon.