No Greater Joy

The children of the little church in Berat, Albania, are growing up, spreading their wings and flying away. While they were still children and teens, they learned to love and trust their Lord and Savior. Now they carry His name to faraway cities as young adults.

It’s with mixed feelings that we watch them fly off to college or emigrate to other countries. They have become our family. As with our blood family, we miss having them close. Yet, we know the good news needs to travel far. Folks all over the world are in desperate need of the hope they carry.

This year three of our flock, Jonny, Drita and Fatima, are attending universities in different parts of the country. Their hearts belong to Jesus, and they find ways to bring blessing and hope to the lives of those around them.

Jonny came to us through a disciple of a disciple of a disciple we met during our first term in Albania. He is a voracious reader and has been active in studying the Bible and sharing the gospel with others within his circle. He suffers from a genetic disorder that brings him many health challenges. He is frequently hospitalized, but he doesn’t let that slow him down or dim his light. He has brought many peers with him to worship with our larger group. One of them was a high-school friend, Drita. Drita enjoyed studying the Bible with Jonny in high school and with the larger group on Sabbath. Now they’re both in different universities on opposite sides of the country, but they use a phone app to continue their Bible studies. When either of them comes back to our city during weekends or holiday breaks, they’re always sure to worship with us. Both of them are now sharing Jesus with their classmates. The city where Jonny now attends university has an Adventist church. The pastor there is very impressed with Jonny’s Bible knowledge, his character and his desire to share Jesus.

Fatima grew up in a Muslim family that were all baptized into the Adventist Church together when she was an early teen. She studied the Bible with a high-school friend who is now studying abroad. Whenever he comes back to Albania to visit his family on breaks, he worships with us. Now Fatima is a young adult in university, and she has also made a friend who is studying the Bible. Fatima plans to use her education in service to Jesus.

Several of the families from our group have moved to other countries like Sweden and Germany. Some of them occasionally join us for Sabbath worship via Skype video call. It can be a challenge to launch a local movement with so many new believers moving away, but we praise God that the gospel is spreading far and wide. God’s plans are much greater than ours. We pray that these fledgling believers will use their youthful energy for the glory of God.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4).

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