Sunday 26 July 2015

In Albania!

I left my home shortly after 9am on Thursdag morning. After dropping my car at the Yormans' so it doesn't hang out in the town centre while I'm gone, I waited for my first train. 

I was at a little train station so they didn't have signs saying which platform the train would be at - and it turned out I was at the wrong one! So I had to run down a flight of stairs, cross the train tracks underground and then climb a flight of stairs. All with a suitcase, backpack and canvas bag!

Thankfully the train driver had seen me and he waited for me even after the conductor had blew his whistle. I was so grateful!

That seemed to set the tone for my travel here - people going out of their way to be gracious. After two trains I arrived in Vienna and the man on reception where I was stating was really helpful. And it was fun to spend some time exploring Vienna - it was my fourth time in the city, first time on my own so I just wandered around a little. 

I was up at 3am the next morning and after a five minute walk to the bus stop and a bit of a wait I was on the bus to the airport!

My flight was pretty early - so early, in fact, that none of the places in the airport had started cooking yet! I found this out when I asked for bacon and eggs and was sad to hear the reply of the kitchen still being closed. 

However, when the waiter brought me a coffee he said he talked to the chef and they opened the kitchen thirty minutes early for me. I was very excited to eat! 

I flew from Vienna to Istanbul and after a three hour layover, which included some Turkish delight sampling, flew from there to Tirana. I feel like landing in Tirana was a good indication of culture from the beginning - the herd of people in roughly nine lines for the four passport control booths for foreigners was a little chaotic but no one was worried. 

After a long time I eventually got the stamp in my passport and picked up my bag. I then had three hours of being driven to Pogradec. There was beautiful scenery and crazy driving and a nap for me. It was fun to arrive in Pogradec and hang out on Friday night! We also walked down by the lake - so very beautiful! 

On Saturday morning we had a meeting to talk through camp. We're doing a day camp in this town so there will be English class each morning, free time/hang out time in the afternoon and then a programme in the evening where we'll be looking at who Jesus is. 

Unfortunately the short term team couldn't come so Cory and Kristine, the JV missionaries here, asked people they knew to come help. That's why I'm here and including Cory there are eight of us English speakers to serve at camp. 

It was so good to all meet and get to know each other a little especially as well be a team all week. They're currently expecting around one hundred students at camp in the first day, with possibly double that by the end of the week! 

And the prayer for this camp is that we would have students who are searching and hungry and then they will be invited to a residential camp next week. 

The church we're partnering with is a new church plant and it is also hoped that this camp will help them begin. It's so exciting to hear about the growth of this youth group already - and it was fun to experience youth group on Saturday night! It never gets old to talk to young people who are discovering God and the Bible. 

And as well as Bible study groups with young people there is also one for their mums - women who have seen the difference the Gospel has made in their children's lives are wanting to know more. 

I've been in Albania just over 24 hours as I write this and I could write even more than this already long post! It has been so good to be here, to see Albania, to experience the different and beautiful culture, and to hear what God is up to here. I'm excited about what God has in store this week! 

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