Monday, June 19, 2006

Week One
Youth Internship- Durres, Albania
June 11- June 17 (Sunday- Saturday)

Whew. What can I say? This past week has been very, very, draining. Being constantly surrounded by people who cannot speak English and trying as hard as I can to understand what they are saying (even though my Albanian vocabulary only consists of approximately 15 words) can make you fall into an exhausted heap at the end of the day. Nevertheless, God is faithful and I am looking forward to seeing His plan for me as I continue to do an internship here.

Record of Ministry Activities:
Sunday: 5 hours
Church – 2 hours
Bible Study- 2 hours
Meet with Missionaries- 1 hour

Personal Reflection
Even though I had been around Albania for a week, I only officially started my internship on Sunday. The week before I had traveled around Greece and Albania with my parents to rest, meet people, and get a tan.

The phrase “it’s all Greek to me” had a whole new meaning to me in church on Sunday- as the entire service was in Modern Greek. It made me wonder what an expository English preacher would do if they were to preach there… if they were to say “now if we go back to the Greek” the congregation would be thinking “we’re already there!”

Since it was a Greek service, my main role was to watch and participate in the service.
The Bible study was an English women’s Bible study so I was able to have some input. We prayed and talked about “The God of All Comfort”.

I was able to meet with some missionaries that work with my parents and play with their children, which was really fun.

Monday- travel

Tuesday: 6 hours
Bible Study (and preparation)- 3 hours
Babysitting missionaries daughter- 1 hour
Meet with Church members- 2 hours

Personal Reflection
Tuesday was more relaxing in the way that I wasn’t running around everywhere trying to get things done, I prepared for the Bible study at home and then went to it. It was the last chapter in the book, but it made me think about a lot of things. The title was “God is enough” and it talked about how even though we may be stressed, hurting or confused we should still be able to say “Yes, I am stressed. Yes, I am hurt. But there is God.”
After the Bible study I babysat an eight year old girl, Miriam. (We played with kittens).
I met with two of the church members, Arian (33), who is a social worker and also the youth pastor, and Ereon (25), doctor who helps out with the young adult group and we talked about things that we wanted to happen in the church. They are part of the Disciples church which I will attend and help out with while I am here (I will also work on setting up a youth and young adults group for the Wesleyan church… that has stopped meeting)

Wednesday: 6 hours
Cleaning- 6 hours

Personal Reflection
All I did on Wednesday internship wise was clean. I cleaned the ministry center across the road, moved furniture into an apartment that new missionaries would be living in, washed dishes, swept, and made beds.

Thursday: 8 hours
Teach English- 4
Meet with students from Bible College- 1
Meet with church members- 2
Bible study preparation- 1

Personal Reflection
Thursday was an exhausting day. I went with Sandy Lugbill (another missionary) and taught English to 10- 16 year olds for 4 hours. I never knew that teaching could be that exhausting. It is a great outreach program, teaching Muslims, Greek Orthodox, atheists, and Christians. At Christmas they held a Christmas program and told the story of Christ- and the parents heard it. (Pray for these students in Sukth)

Students from Albania Bible Institute (ABI) came over to our house and we talked with them about their studies, where they are going to be working for the summer, and how they are looking forward to preaching.

I met with Arian and Ereon again, but this time just to walk along the beach and discuss the history of the city, and talk again about where we wanted the different small groups to go (we are going to play volleyball on the beach every Sunday afternoon).

I prepared a Bible study lesson to use the next time I am asked to lead a Bible study.

Friday: 13 hours
Bible Study- 2
Teach English- 1
Meet with youth pastor- 6
Meet with missionaries-2
Church fellowship- 2
Personal Reflection
I almost cried on Friday. My parents and I and Ereon went to a family’s house in the Kennet (lit. translation: swamp) where my parents go to lead a Bible study, talk to the parents and help the children with their English. The family has 5 children, two of which are disabled. The 23 year old had polio (I think) when he was younger so he could not go to school and so he is just learning now how to read. We are also teaching him English, and I may teach him how to write during my time here. The next oldest is also a boy and he is 18, but he is severely mentally and physically handicapped. He cannot walk, speak or use the toilet so he has to crawl on the ground to get around , make snorting and squealing noises to communicate and wear a diaper (except his family does not usually have enough money to buy diapers). The two daughters are extremely bright and love reading the Bible and learning English, and now recently they enjoy teaching me Albanian. This family has a special place in my heart already and there are so many things I wish I could do for them, but know that some of them are not possible. So in the meantime I am helping out in anyway possible and praying that God will show me more ways.

The youth pastor took my parents and I to Tirane to go to a mission organization, see a museum and talk about different activities he had planned for the church.

We met with other missionaries and prayed with them and after that we met with more church members. Albania is such a relational country that you always go over to people’s homes and talk to them about anything and everything. I am learning to be more intention with my asking of questions, and am realizing that it is an art. (That we in America so often over look)

Saturday- 3 hours
Games with church members- 3 hours

Personal Reflection
Today was a day of relaxation (went to the beach and swam all day) and then invited people from the church over to play games. It was a great time and really meaningful for me because one of the church members is South African! So we were able to connect with that.

Total hours for week: 40

Spiritual Reflection:
God has been moving. God is enough. God is all-powerful. God is loving. God has a sense of humor. God loves. God is.

These are things I have been pondering recently since I have gotten to Albania. So often in the hustle and bustle of the American lifestyle we can so easily forget these things- and forget our call to share these truths with people who do not know them !!!
My spiritual life has been tested while my physical body has been tired, unable to understand the language, unsure of what to do…. But my soul has been refreshed by the fact that God is in control of it all!

Spiritual goals I have set for myself this summer
Read the whole Bible
Practice faith
Read 5 books
Journal my thoughts
Fast (2 meals on one day a week… it’s too hot for anything long term!)
Pray about doing Ramadan in the fall. It is something God has really laid on my heart, and I have pushed it aside for 2 years.

Questions
How can God use me, a person who cannot speak the Albanian language, to minister to people here?
Why me?
What are small ways I can sacrifice small things to make a big difference in other people’s lives?

Lord, help me with this practicum. I need accountability, love and reassurance that this is what I am supposed to be doing.

2 Comments:

Blogger Tim said...

I came across your blog at technorati.com. Looks like you're doing a great job there and that the Lord is already using you in unforeseen ways! Keep up the great work!

8:32 AM  
Blogger Lauzy said...

you're doing great things my mel, very exciting
love you lots
lau

6:02 PM  

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