Standing Together: Albania Mission 2019Ana Houston - 7 Oct 2019
This summer, one of our 24-7 Mission trips headed to Albania to bless the capital city of Tirana, to run a 24-7 prayer room, explore and pioneer partnerships.
Ana, one of the team members, shares her experience:
When I signed up for the Albanian Mission trip, I knew where to find Albania on the map, but didn’t know much about it as a country. I really didn’t know what to expect from this mission trip either, so it was with some trepidation and much curiosity that I stepped off the plane in the capital city of Tirana.
There in the airport one of our team leaders was chatting to a local pastor, Tomor, who was also waiting to collect people from a delayed flight. It was so encouraging to hear Tomor’s testimony of conversion as a refugee in Sweden, and his calling back to Albania to be a pastor.
Looking back on the week, I think this airport encounter was a glimpse of God’s purpose for our trip. Few people speak English in Albania – and the country was officially atheist until 1990.
This meant that praying and chatting with strangers on the street proved difficult, but God brought a number of key Albanian Christians into the 24-7 Prayer room that we hosted.
“You are the body of the Anointed One, and each of you is a unique and vital part of it.”
- 1 Corinthians 12:27 (TPT)
We learnt that being a Christian in Albania is challenging – it’s unpopular and can be treated with much scepticism. Life in general is also difficult there, with a tough economic and political situation. Albania has a history of being isolated and cut off from the rest of the world - many people who came through the prayer room were discouraged and tired.
Yet into this context, God had brought together a team reflecting some of the diversity of the worldwide church. Our mission team represented 7 different countries, 3 continents and ranged in age from 7 – 68 years old.
We felt it was as if God was saying to the Albanian church: “Look, you are part of the wider body of Christ. You’re not alone. You’re not on your own. You are not isolated!”
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ”
- 1 Corinthians 12:12 (NLT)
During one session in the prayer room, God prompted us as a team of foreigners to surround the local church members that were there and cheer– literally clapping and jumping up and down for them. It was a powerful moment reflecting “on earth as it is in heaven”.
We prayed for a local lady who was going out on a mission trip the following week; we got to journey alongside a local young teenage church leader– who joined us regularly as part of the team. We built relationships and shared God’s heart and encouragement with everyone we encountered.
A key moment where we felt God spoke to us was when we ate as a team at the local restaurant. There wasn’t much on the menu that you could order as an individual - instead everyone shares from the common space - together as one community.
This was a week of standing together in unity as members of a worldwide church - knowing that we all have our unique place, but that we are bound together through prayer and in love of our wonderful God!
Passionate about mission too? We've just launched a brand new winter mission trip to the French Alps in December 2019.
Our 2020 mission teams will be released next month.