Church tonight

Tonight’s church was great fun! It was so amazing to see and hear people as they worshipped God in a whole other language. Paulin (the leader of the church) was speaking such a powerful message. We were given headphones with an interpreter speaking through them so that we could understand what was being said. It was pretty much like a full gospel preach talking about how God can be so much more alive in us when we devote ourselves to prayer and immerse ourselves in the bible and also tell others about Jesus, taking different verses from different passages to display this. It was so powerful for us to see such beautiful and enthusiastic worship (with 6 new people becoming Christians!) being lead in a country that only about 30 years ago was so heavily persecuted for Christianity, it really reinforced a feeling of just how strong God and his love is and how he can surpass any boundaries that may stand against his word being spoken.
There were a few really cool ways that God had repeated themes to us during the week and again through the service tonight, one being that the verse Isaiah 54 was spoken about in a morning meeting before the holiday club and also read by various people in the group by themselves and then was spoken tonight in the sermon. Another being that before the trip, a picture and verse about a shield of the spirit was spoken about by a member of the group and then tonight the armour of god (in particular a shield) was in the message which was really cool.
All in all it was such a great experience to see the church and we even managed to catch a glimpse of some Chuck and Taran look a likes!
Mire apafsheme folks!
Hannah

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Beach babe

The beach. The glaring hot sun beating down on burning bodies as some turn to the waters and others head for the volleyball court. However this was certainly not the scene when we first arrived at the beach. With the beach undergoing the aftermath of last nights storms we met a light drizzle with heavy cloud cover. With thunder storms looming in the distance we were sceptical about our day on the beach. But just half an hour later and the skies were clearing, the temperature soared and we were off!

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Holy Thunder

Day 5 of the trip and the team headed south to the mountainous town of Berat, where the children’s home began. It was a long day but was very memorable for us all.
Having spent the first few years of my life in Berat alongside the children in the home, it was quite emotional to go back. Familiar sights, familiar smells, familiar sounds. Walking up to the door where the children’s home used to be was a trip down memory lane, and it was so special to be able to share it with the rest of the team. It was like we had never really left.
After visiting Berat, we took Redon, one of the younger kids in the home, back to his family to spent the summer. We took the minibus as far as we could and walked the rest, up the mountain track to Redon’s house. It was an eye opener to say the least. We’ve all seen upsetting clips on TV during ‘Comic Relief’, ‘Children in Need’ etc but it’s not the same seeing it first hand. When watching from afar it is easy to disconnect: change the channel or distract yourself until the clip is over and it’s back to the comedy sketches and pop stars. It’s not the same when you can see this extreme poverty right in front of you. I know for myself I found it very upsetting, but it made me truly realise how fortunate and comfortable my life back in Scotland is. He had so little and we have so much.
Lucy Treasure

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Chloe’s joyful adventures!

The past few days have been crazy and unforgettable. I was leading the group of teenagers with Ben, George and Dave for the holiday club- I’m pretty sure I enjoyed half the games more than the kids, it was like Mezzo all day for three days! The language barrier wasn’t such a problem for us as a few of the older kids spoke English well enough to understand what I was saying though I got told more than once to talk slower. By the end of today I had a personal level with a few if the kids which was great as I was able to chat to them comfortably and have a laugh. The kids are the most polite and lovely people I have met, each morning I was met with hugs and kisses from each child.

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A word or two.

David here, been asked to talk about my experiences/expectations this week so here it is.

I guess I came out to Albania hoping to meet with God and be used for something big, but also looking forward to spending some time with the lads, and have fun with kids.

Mornings and evenings have been especially good. I made an effort to get up early and read my Bible, and this has led to some great times of prayer and more of an understanding of the Bible. The mornings worships have also been incredibly good with a clear sense of Gods presence when the group were praying.

Today we all came together at the club and sang a few songs. The most successful being ‘How Great Is Our God’, with both Albanian and English being sung. I loved this and it really brought that sense of a family of Christians world wide.

Although it is not necessarily relevant, I have also enjoyed ‘sofa’ chats with the lads in the evenings. The decent chat has been a great way to end the day and even now I am laughing. God is so evident here in the relationships with the team and the kids.

Let you know more later, possibly?

David

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Here we go again

Day 2 of the holiday club. Epic.
Younger kids: very much similar to yesterday, we opened this morning with some classic party games, a variation of duck duck goose and musical chairs went down a storm as well as some ‘handy’ crafts as the children decorated foam cut outs of their hands. And this afternoon we had some great fun with finger paints… Although it may have turned more into ‘let’s get as much paint on one sheet of paper as possible’. However, the children were so much calmer today and we were able to get a lot more one on one time.

Middle aged group: After starting the day with some worship, we progressed with a paper aeroplane competition. The kids loved it and the winners got to pie the team leaders (Hattie, David and Ali) with shaving foam. This was very exciting. We then continued with another game, this involved a maze of string which the kids had to navigate through, easily the best game of the day. To end the day we wrapped it up with some crafts and the children got to draw on/design their own T-Shirts. A great day, with the team feeling happy at the end as well.

Older guys: to keep it short and sweet our day was once again quite chilled out. Lots of chat, a couple really creative games and the all important talent show prep! So tomorrow we are having a talent show and we have split into groups to perform. Let’s say things are getting serious. We have some dancers, singers and even a puppet show going on!

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Hectic highs and chilled vibes

Today was the day. The start to the holiday club.
The children arrived pretty early, around 9:30, and we split into groups pretty soon after. The youngest group merged with the middle group cos there was only three of them at the start. We played loads of games such as parachute and relays and the kids loved it, although energy levels were off the Richter scale and we were stretched to say the least. At this moment a special shout out is defiantly needed to our unexpected translator, Ella, who is a partially resident teenaged Australian. Lunch time was amazing, Dave and his guitar jamming out some classic tunes really brought everyone together, and the afternoon was a lot more peaceful with the youngest kids making crowns.

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