Tila is especially friendly and active in personal evangelism. When she made yet another new friend, Zala, she invited her to study the Bible with her. One day, Tila brought Zala to join our larger Sabbath worship. As soon as I welcomed Zala into our home, I realized that our new guest looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place her.
She recognized Sean and me, too, and she jogged my memory back to more than nine years earlier. We were still new to Albania and were trying to practice the language as much as possible, and Zala had been one of several kind and helpful people on our route through the merchant area. Her small shop still sells assorted household goods. She was always smiling, but she never laughed at us as we made mistakes while practicing Albanian with her. I remembered her kindness and patience. Sadly, after we moved to a different neighborhood, our paths hadn’t crossed often. It was a joy to be reunited with her again, especially under these circumstances.
Zala was very quiet and reserved at first. But over the weeks and months that followed, I watched her slowly open up like a bud opens into a marvelous and fragrant bloom. Jesus was touching her heart.
Tila and Zala rarely missed a Friday-evening Bible study in our home. When we moved to an apartment, they both continued to join us. Zala’s gentle bearing enriched our time together, though she rarely spoke up. Albanians are usually fairly expressive, but Zala has a uniquely calm demeanor.
The traces of anxiety and worry in her eyes have gradually been replaced by hope. Her silence has been replaced by thoughtful and insightful comments. She now shares her favorite Bible verses and explains why they are so meaningful to her.
When we’re away from Albania, the Bible study continues, and we sometimes join them by Skype. For the last couple of weeks, Zala has been bringing someone else into the group. Her daughter has been coming back home from the university on weekends and accompanying her mother to the Bible studies. It’s even more exciting for us that this happened while we were away. Jesus is drawing more people to Him through His Word.
We’ve noticed that God has been bringing people back into our lives whom we met years ago before we could communicate well in Albanian. Perhaps now is the time for them to discover and get to know Him.
Please join us in praying that Sean will be able to befriend Zala’s husband and introduce him to Jesus as well.