Thursday morning I was picked up at the hotel by Monika and another Mission Without Borders staff member and driven to the port city of Durres. Having seen the work of Mission Without Borders in Moldova in 2010 (when visiting Chisinau), I was eager to learn more about their work in Albania. I was driven to the Mission Without Borders office and greeted by the family coordinators.
My first activity of the day was a computer presentation of facts and figures. Mission Without Borders works in 19 communities in Albania- most of these are in the Durres area.
The second room of the apartment had a larger couch the Mission had provided for the children to sleep on. When we left the coordinators decided to get a birthday cake for the young girl. It was probably the first birthday cake she ever had. So off to the bakery and they returned to sing Happy Birthday and show love to this family. It was a wonderful way to demonstrate the extravagant love of God. It was so hard seeing their grinding poverty (the father worked part time) but I am comforted in the fact that God's people are working with this family now to help them with their daily needs, share Christ with them, and walk with them toward self sufficiency.
If I ever am able to return to Albania, I hope to see this family active in a church and in much better living conditions as the father learns job skills and finds better opportunities. I saw several families where this happened! I'll share some of their stories next.