“And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35).
As grim as a situation may look, nothing is too hard for our God. During the COVID-19 lockdown, the members of our local group haven’t been permitted to gather in homes or in other buildings to worship, but that hasn’t stopped them from gathering, praying and worshipping in different ways. As soon as the sun dips below the horizon on Friday evening, the messages in our group chat begin to cheer us: “Sabat te lumtur!” These messages aren’t just from our city or even just from Albania. Some come from other nations where our members have emigrated. Prayer requests and praises aren’t just limited to Sabbaths, but we always see boosted activity in our group chats on the day of rest. Online worship isn’t new to our group, as we have long had members in Sweden joining us each Sabbath.
Our young adult members have been actively engaging with their peers almost daily, and they often weave in spiritual topics. Occasionally, these conversations lead to Bible reading.
We are trying to be content with whatever state we find ourselves in, but we admit we were disappointed with the delays in our plans. COVID-19 restrictions on indoor gatherings and the closing of courthouses and offices have postponed the opening of our community center, but God has been opening alternate avenues to outreach.
A few members have been sharing on their jobs whenever they can. Dani was telling a workmate, Alban, about the planned programs to bless the community. Alban was particularly interested in the community service club. He quizzed Dani, “This club is for anybody, regardless of their faith?”
“Yes, yes, of course,” answered Dani. “All are welcome to join us. The more, the better!”
Alban was especially interested in getting his children involved in serving others in need. He told Dani he wanted his teens to grow more compassionate rather than follow society’s selfish path. He hoped his entire family could volunteer together.
Alban began asking about the past projects Dani had been involved in. “There’s nothing like giving and doing things for others. It’s such a pleasure! God blessed us to be able to give bags of food and supplies to some people who didn’t have enough to eat. We do that whenever we can. We give gifts to needy children, and we have collected and handed out clothing as well. Praise be to God, we have been able to help pay for medicines, we gave a man a wheelchair, and we lent out another one to somebody else. We have really enjoyed doing many activities at the residential home for intellectually disabled young people and provided them with new shoes, clothing and food, and provided supplies for the kitchen. We helped repair a leaky roof and helped with many other small blessings. These are the types of things we have done, but when the community service club really gets going, we will be able to do so much more. We have been hearing many good ideas.”
Alban wanted to be a part of this. Though he and Dani have very little, they agreed that serving those in need brings more joy than riches for oneself.
Dani makes a habit of sprinkling verses from Proverbs into his conversations when it seems fitting. Between this and talking about community service, Alban has agreed to meet with Dani at an outdoor café where they read and discuss Proverbs. That’s a big step for a man of Alban’s faith background. Please pray that Alban will be drawn to Jesus through his heart of service, his Bible reading, and his growing friendship with Dani. Pray that the community service club will thrive, and that God will draw those with servant’s hearts to Him. May it spark a movement that will spread like wildfire.