Zala always smiled at us when we came by her shop to practice speaking Albanian. Albania was new to us, and this kind, patient Muslim woman always made us feel welcome. She once prevented another person from taking advantage of Brenda’s lack of familiarity with Albanian currency. She and Brenda developed a bond even when the language barrier limited their communication. When we moved to a different part of town, Brenda and Zala had lost contact. Then, about a year ago, they reconnected and were able to renew their friendship. Here’s how it happened:
Tila, one of our most active disciple makers, got a new job at a small clothing shop next to Zala’s shop. When they weren’t helping customers, they would chat. They soon became friends. When Zala popped into Tila’s shop, she sometimes found her reading her Bible. Zala became curious. Soon, they were studying the Bible together.
Tila began to share her testimony with Zala. She told about how her husband had been introduced to an American couple through English classes. This led to Bible studies with them. Tila joined them later and began worshipping with them. Jesus changed their hearts and their entire outlook on life. They decided to follow Him and be baptized.
Zala was moved by Tila’s testimony. Also, she wondered if the Americans were the same ones she had known years earlier. She soon discovered it was us, and Tila invited her to a regular Friday night Bible study in our home. It was a beautiful reunion for Brenda and Zala.
Zala almost never missed a Bible study or worship after that evening, even though her husband frowned on it at first. He was concerned about what people would say if they knew that a member of his Muslim family was worshipping with Christians. Zala understood his concerns, but she already loved Jesus and was determined to let nothing stop her from following Him. Although I attempted to befriend her husband, he seemed uninterested. We continue to pray for him and haven’t given up hope that he will change his mind.
In the summer, Zala decided to be baptized. As she came up from the water, her face had an expression of such love and joy as she gazed heavenward! She has always been a kind person, but a woman of many sorrows who often seemed sad and worried. Both of her children have a genetic condition that has left them blind. But now, despite her problems, she is filled with hope and joy.
Even before she was baptized, Zala began making disciples for Jesus. Her grown daughter has been learning from the Bible and attending worship when she is in town. Please pray for Zala and her family. Pray that they will all be united in Christ and that they will draw many to Him. Also, please prayerfully consider becoming a financial supporter to help us launch our small business training outreach program.