Fall is Here

Hey all,

The fall ministry season is here and in full swing.

The university has been going for about three weeks now and we’re a week into our Fall Outreach – a three week sprint of games and activities to draw students, particularly freshmen, into the ministry.

Elena and I each have a team we’re on led by a student leader. The teams meet up during the week to (hopefully) discuss articles from a magazine CRU put together. About twice a week there are big events like games at the castle, photo race, or frisbee. I.E.MinuteToWinIt.10.2015.115 MinuteToWinIt.10.2015.142 MinuteToWinIt.10.2015.158

It’s a pretty different model of ministry for us, but we’re glad to be working with students and getting the chance to meet English speakers.

Elena got to help kickoff the outreach with an event for ladies called “Dress for Success.” She designed T-shirts and flyers and set up a photo booth to help ladies feel connected and inspired.DressForSuccess.10.2015.102 DressForSuccess.10.2015.108 DressForSuccess.10.2015.81

Elena continues to take amazing pictures of everything around us, whether events or just amazing scenes of life in Albania and the landscape.

Cornerstone Albania is doing a three week series called “Foundations” that I totally borrowed (stole) from Salt – The Bible, Community, Mission. I hope focusing on these three will help the church grasp things that have been part of the church culture already, but highlight the need to intentionally center on good expositional preaching, to value the church as the Bride of Christ, and to see ourselves as a missional community to love and impact our city.

Then, we’ll start going through the Gospel of John which we did not steal from Cornerstone in Ames. I promise I thought of it last Spring. (I may or may not have peeked at Jeff Dodge’s teaching schedule, however). I’m so pumped on John. Before we came I was running through all of the passages on eldership, church structure, the authority of scripture etc. that I thought I might need, and was convicted hearing a message on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. My brothers and sisters here don’t need my wisdom or experience as much as we all need more of Christ. We’ll talk about the leadership of the church or the best ways to be the family of God in this culture, but more than that I want us all to continually be renewed in the good new of Christ’s death on our behalf and His victory we get to be swept up in.

I’m loving preaching. I’ve gotten to speak four times at Cornerstone so far and I’m excited to see God continue to grow me and be faithful to grow the church through His Word.

Fall is different in Albania than Ames. There are fewer brilliant Fall colors, fewer Pumpkin Spice flavored things (none. they don’t even know what to do with pumpkins), fewer familiar signs of fall, and fewer familiar faces to enjoy the season with. On the bright side, we’re learning to love our brothers and sisters here, we got to see some beautiful Fall colors in the Alps, and we may actually have a couple of Thanksgiving celebrations in store for November.

Valbona.10.2015.2

Prayer Requests

  • God to work in students’ lives during the outreach, drawing them to Him and community
  • Unity with our Albanian team mates
  • God’s help learning Albanian (we started classes!)
  • Patience and trust in God’s timing as we continue to grow with the church
  • The Spirit to be present during our weekly church gatherings
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Fall is Here

Scenes from Month One

I know you all are expecting some really accurate photojournalism of life in Albania and I promise you, as a photographer I am dedicated to this.  You know, sometime. But at the moment, we are taking the culture in with phone pictures of things that make us giggle. And we figured you might want to giggle too.

You can scroll through the full-size gallery by clicking on any image.

I will leave you with one last surprise we met as we happened upon our local roundabout.

Just a guy and his bear.
Just a man and his bear.
Scenes from Month One