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We just finished our first conference day here in Tirana, Albania.  There are 4 churches participating.  The first service went around 2 hours, from 5:30-7:30p.  Lots of singing, a choir special, a music video on Christians being salt, & me.

Several thoughts from today.

  • I covered the story of King Josiah from 2 Chronicles 33:21-25, 34:1-21.  It’s the incredible story of how an 8-year-old boy broke from generations of dysfunctionality to passionately follow God.
  • I made relatively minor modifications to the 1st half of this message but completely rewrote the 2nd half (because of different goals this week).
  • The service went very well.  I actually like speaking through a
    translator
    .  The pause doesn’t mess up my timing.  Instead it gives me
    time to plan my next statement.  My translator Ida (pronounced "Eee-dah") did a great job.
  • Had somewhere around 200 people there (give or take 50 since I’m not a good crowd estimator).
  • I got to practice singing in Albanian.  Makes you really frustrated with the self-centeredness of the people at Babel (Genesis 11:7-9)…we’re all paying for their mistake.  🙂
  • Had 5 people raise their hands to receive Christ, too!
  • As I was alone in the apartment studying this morning, I heard the most sad wailing I ever heard from a man coming up the stairs.  I heard other feet too.  It sounded so close so I peeked out the peekhole & saw a man followed by a woman in a business suit & several policemen.  Later I found out the man was despondent about his brother, a 27-year-old man who had just walked up the top of the 8-floor apartment, jumped off & committed suicide.  He landed about 5 steps from the front of the church.  I saw the massively bent handrail he landed on too.  Horrible.  Sad.  He died just a few steps from the hope he so desperately needed.

It’s 9:30p.  Time to sign off.  It’s getting close to dinner time here.