Happy 2018! We have big plans for this year. We believe it will be the best year yet for the Shqiptaret Project. Why? At last, our center of influence and worship center is nearing completion! The Albanian church members are deeply thankful and thrilled about what this center, with God’s blessing, will bring to the community.
In order to influence well, we must love well. In order to love well, we need to know what people want and need. We have sought to learn more deeply about the felt needs of the people of Albania, and our aim is to use this center to reach out and help meet many of those needs.
Our goals this year are all about serving the community, especially the least empowered. We are starting a community service club, and we’re inviting service-minded members of the community to join us in loving the most vulnerable people by providing food, clothing and other basic needs. God willing, we’ll have a kitchen to cook simple but nutritious and delicious meals for those without enough to eat, and we’ll deliver right to their doors.
This year, when our center is completed, we will hold health expos and seminars to benefit the physical, emotional and spiritual health of the community. One of the primary needs in this community is income so people can provide for their families. Jobs are extremely hard to come by, and most jobs require work seven days a week. Of course, this makes it even more challenging for those who want to keep the Sabbath.
There is a Jewish community in Albania, and they have a disproportionately high number of entrepreneurs among them compared to other religious groups. They have found a solution to the Sabbath-work challenge, and we think they’re onto something. Our new center will include programs to inspire, encourage, train and equip entrepreneurs and help them launch new micro-businesses. Our own members and potential members will probably be first in line, but we want to bless the whole community with a program developed by those who have experience in launching small businesses.
Three families in our church have already emigrated out of Albania to find better work opportunities. The last family to do so happened to be our best multipliers. It’s hard to lose our new church family members. We love and miss them. We have invested heavily in them, and it’s hard to get a movement underway with so many losses. We hope that our new center will help us to overcome many of these challenges.
We envision a multipurpose facility rather than having rooms that are empty a lot of the time. We also plan to include the always-popular English language programs that help prepare students for better job opportunities. Our programs will largely be run by Albanians, most of them church members.
One of the most exciting things about our new facility is that we will have a venue for discipleship training, Bible studies and worship.
Praise God! Thanks to the financial support of generous people, we have purchased the facility in a good, easily accessible location. Our next goal is to raise enough money to equip the center with a kitchen, food preparation equipment and appliances, heat and air conditioning, audio-visual equipment, computers and lighting fixtures. Our project fund balance is depleted, so we need of financial supporters who want to partner with us in igniting a movement. We also always welcome prayer support. Please join us in making 2018 the best year yet for the Shqiptaret Project as we love our neighbors as ourselves.