“Hellooo uncle!” Alban’s familiar greeting rang out from across the street. He deftly weaved through the traffic to join me, his friendly smile never leaving his face. “Greetings! How are you? How is your wife? How are your parents? How are your daughters? How are their husbands? How is your granddaughter?” He went through the typical, polite, and long Albanian greeting. If my wife had been with me, he would have greeted her with the same questions, including asking how her husband is, even if he had just asked me and I was standing right there beside her. It’s the Albanian way. “Where have you been for so long? We were getting worried that you and your wife had left Albania for good! We were in mourning.” He made a ridiculous sad face, and we both burst out laughing. We walked to his favorite café and spent the next hour catching up on each other’s lives.
Alban has been an acquaintance for several years and a friend for at least two. Although he and his family are Muslim, he has shown curiosity about my beliefs. In casual conversation, I would sometimes drop in a sentence or two about trusting God or about how God is love. At first, Alban would pause and stare as though he wasn’t sure how to respond. After about a month or two of my mentioning God in our conversations, he began nodding his head in agreement and saying, “God is great!” or “Praise be to God!” Occasionally, when we were alone, he would even ask for more details about what I thought about religious topics and how God figured into current events. Eventually, this led to my telling him relevant Bible narratives.
Our families began eating in one another’s homes. Our bond of trust grew over shared bread. It was the right time to share more. Brenda and I tried to set up Bible studies in our home, but Alban’s family was just getting ready to go on a month-long vacation by the sea. Just before their return, we would be heading to the U.S. for meetings. Had we pushed too hard for Bible studies? They asked us to tell them Bible stories, but were they afraid to read the Bible for themselves?
When we returned from the States, we found that God had answered our prayers. We invited Alban and his wife Fadia and their little boy over for dinner on a Saturday night. As we talked, the topic turned to Bible prophecy. This led to us watching a Muslim-friendly Bible prophecy DVD that we had subtitled in Albanian years ago. Alban and Fadia’s interest was evident from their many questions as we talked late into the night. We have set up weekly Bible study appointments and asked Alban and Fadia to invite family and friends to join us.
Will you pray that Alban, Fadia, and their circle will be irresistibly drawn to Jesus? If you’re looking for a way to help, we are in need of additional financial support, especially monthly pledges of any amount to help us continue to pay for translation and project costs. We are so grateful for our awesome support team who has kept us going strong, and we hope to expand our reach as we build Christ’s kingdom.