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.