Sunday, January 22, 2017

Warm Meal and God's Love Served Daily!

Berat Albania
On Monday, I was able to visit a Mission Without Borders supported soup kitchen in Berat, Albania. Around 60 homeless, elderly, widows, and poor come for a hot lunch served 5 days a week at a local church. MWB provides the funds for food- even the dishes! Volunteers from the church cook on ovens and kitchen equipment donated by believers in Norway. People are coming to Christ and being spiritually and physically fed because of this partnership!





Ways to get involved:

Pray for the work of Mission Without Borders, the family coordinators, and the church partners. A winter prayer guide can be found HERE.  It's a lot of work looking after 25-30 or more families, making sure their immediate needs are addressed in addition to helping them plan and take steps for self sufficiency.

One time gift: You can give toward providing one hot meal every day for a needy poor or elderly. This is a lifeline in many communities where Mission Without Borders works. There are other gift options as well (wood for fuel, school supplies, Bibles, or a Bible correspondence course!)

Family Sponsorship. I've seen the effectiveness of the Family sponsorship program this past week. When possible, Mission Without Borders will walk alongside a family in crisis -toward a path of self sufficiency. Assisting them with monthly food and other needs, the coordinator works closely with the family to set them on the path to self sufficiency. The goal is "graduation"- a family that is able to provide for their own needs, working hard and able to share with others in need (Ephesians 4:28). There is a clear time table and frequent evaluations as well. This is no handout- but a hand-up- to a family in crisis.


Any gift is welcome and I've seen the effectiveness of the work this past week. As one coordinator put it, we are all "pieces in a puzzle". When each piece fits into place (donors, workers, churches) the result is a beautiful picture! The mission statement of Mission Without Borders is

"Reaching people for Christ: helping thousands of people out of poverty
into a sustainable future"

What part can you play in this?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Amazon Fire Tablet Giveaway! Ends 2/28

I recently spent 6 wonderful days in Albania. Every day was filled with "good news" in every sense of the words. The Good News of the Kingdom of God is going forward in wonderful ways in a multitude of ways. Children are learning about Jesus, staying in school, and given hope for a brighter future. Families in crisis are being helped out of poverty and into self sufficiency. Warm meals are being served daily to the poor and needy. Widows are meeting together for Bible study and encouragement. Individuals and families learning about God's love and being changed by the power of the Gospel. Help me spread the word!






This is not a new giveaway--it is posted on another page of this blog (due to scheduling issues) but it runs through February 28th!  Enter daily for your best chance to win a new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet.  This is a black tablet, 7 inch screen, with special offers. It retails at $49.99!  There will be one winner of one Kindle Fire (the giveaway tools widget is the same).


Albania 2017. The First Day

Elbasan 1After the long day and a half journey, I was still a bit shell shocked when I was picked up at the hotel at 8 am by Dan from World Vision.  I am so thankful he spoke English well and immediately put me at ease with stories and interesting conversation that made the hour drive fly by.  We were driving south to see K my World Vision sponsored child and his family!  I had brought a scrapbook of his letters and photos and a few small gifts.  The office staff was in training all day but two staff members from World Vision remained behind to facilitate this visit.  After signing a few papers (basic child safety and privacy issues), here they came!  I was able to meet K in person, discuss what he wanted to do in life, school, meet his brothers and parents, and go through the scrapbook and remember the past 10 years.  His mother wrote for him the first year.  She still has her garden and the children still help.  K's brother is in a professional high school and wants to train to be an electrician.  K is leaning the same way.  I am hopeful they will receive top notch training because electrical work is a valuable skill in any economy.  I wanted to ask if his father had been able to find some work (genuinely interested) but when it got to that point I realized how awkward that would be for him.  No man wants to be asked in front of his family if he's found a job yet.  Frankly, there aren't a lot of jobs to be had in rural Albania.  So I didn't.



Elbasan (Albania)For lunch, we went to a nice Italian restaurant.  I quickly discovered that pizza and Italian food is everywhere in Albania.  And the pizza there is SO much better than anything you could ever find here.  Everyone had a good meal (my first Albanian meal) and then I talked to the World Vision coordinator.  It just didn't seem right for me to visit and LEAVE and the family have some need unmet.  She discussed with the mother and father and it was decided that grocery shopping was in order.  I had asked family for Christmas just to give money so I could have some extra for just such a purpose.  Thanks to those who helped!  So that's what we did- well the mother did- she was able to buy a lot of groceries.  I mentioned this to Dan on the way home and he echoed my thought- they are struggling if the greatest need is groceries.  We then went outside and said our goodbyes.  One World Vision van would take them home and Dan was ready to take me back to Tirana.   It was sad that the visit passed so quickly.  But it was good to see that the family was healthy, the children are in school (and have career aspirations!), and there is hope for a brighter future.

I was able to take photos of the family and the visit but won't be posting them on a public blog.  If  you have a sponsored child, try to visit them sometime.  If you don't have a sponsored child or family, what's holding you back?  You won't regret the decision!  I had to wait 10 years to visit but it was so encouraging to see how lives are changed and communities transformed.  World Vision has invested heavily in renovating schools and building a school in this area.  There are so many challenges facing Albania's economy and people but education is an investment that will pay off when the economy improves.  They have Christian summer camps for the children (K was able to go in 2015), training for churches on how to develop Christian education programs that are age appropriate, and so much more. The focus is not just saying "Jesus loves you" but demonstrating that love in action.


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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Week in Albania: First Impressions


View from the hotel reception
I had really good intentions of blogging while in Albania. For some reason, Google did not like..well something..and would not allow me to log in. Everything else worked- Facebook, email, news. But I did have a wonderful time and wanted to share some stories and memories.

After a 32 hour journey (long layovers) I didn't notice much on my first brief night in Albania.  I stayed at the Hotel Airport Tirana because they had a free airport shuttle- even at 11:30 pm!  I was picked up there by Dan, the World Vision representative at 8 am and driven to the office in Elbasan, where I would meet K, my sponsored child for the first time.

The first impression I had of Albania was the cold.  I mean it was really, really cold.  Locals said it was the coldest since 1985.  The forecast and "average temperatures" listed online were in the high 30's to low 50's.  It was NOT.  The temperature remained close to freezing most of my stay.

At the top of Mount Dajti


The second impression was the mountains!  These were no "Great Smoky Mountains" hills either!  Albania is 70% mountainous terrain- many reaching over 7000 feet.  Most were covered with snow at the tops and I experienced a bit of snow when I was able to take the cable car up Mount Dajti on Saturday.  The snow started coming down heavier so I thought it might be smart to DESCEND Dajti while I could.  It was raining in Tirana.

Between the rain, cold, and snow, it is a safe bet that Albania is not a top tourist destination during the winter.  My hotel in Tirana was empty when I arrived.  I really think I was the only guest (for the first couple of days anyhow).  If I am ever able to return, I'll try to visit in spring or early summer.

Bob Vila Signature Series Giveaway (ends 2/4/17)

It's time for another giveaway!  I want to apologize for the late posting.  I brought a laptop to Albania for the express purpose of keeping up with the blog.  And, of course, nothing Google related would allow me to log in or post.  So here I am playing catch up.  Please enter daily for your best chance to win!


Bob Vila Signature Series Giveaway




Hosted By:


Holiday Contest and Sweeps





Holiday Contest and Sweeps and twenty three fellow co-host blogs are honored to bring
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A Big Thank You To Our Sponsor:


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This giveaway is in no way associated, endorsed or affiliated with Facebook, Twitter
or any other Social Media Networking Site. This giveaway will also be valid in the
Continental United States only. Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This event
will come to and at 12:00 AM (EST) 2/4/17
a Rafflecopter giveaway


 Holiday Contest and Sweeps did not receive any form of compensation for holding this
giveaway.Viatek will be responsible for the awarding and shipping of the prize directly
to the winner. If you have any problems with this giveaway please contact Bill at
holidaycontestandsweeps@gmail.com



 

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Woodie Specs 2017 Style For A While Giveaway

Welcome to the second giveaway of 2017!  This giveaway lasts until the end of the month.  Be sure to enter daily for your best chance to win!

WOODIE SPECS



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Co-Hosted By:


Holiday Contest and Sweeps






Presents The: 




WOODIE SPECS

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1 - Winner




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A Big Thank You To Our Sponsor


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This giveaway is in no way associated, endorsed or affiliated with Facebook, Twitter
or any other Social Media Networking Site. This giveaway will also be valid in the
Continental United States only. Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This event
will come to and at 12:00 AM (EST) 1/31/17
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Holiday Contest and Sweeps did not receive any form of compensation for holding this
giveaway.Woodie Specs will be responsible for the awarding and shipping of the prize directly
to the winner. If you have any problems with this giveaway please contact Bill at
holidaycontestandsweeps@gmail.com




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