Thursday, February 2, 2017

Albania Day 2: Further Visits

On Thursday, January 12th of this year, I had the privilege of visiting Durres, Albania, and seeing firsthand the work that Mission Without Borders is doing in the second largest city of Albania.

A mixer similar to this one
After the first family visit (and observing the difficulties of the underemployed in Albania), it was decided that I should visit some "success stories". A phone call was made and we were off to a work site. The foreman at this worksite would soon graduate from the family sponsorship program. He is in the 4th year (of 5 years) His family was sponsored and he has worked hard to gain the skills and training he needed to provide for their needs. He had attended vocational training from the Mission and learned construction skills. We met him in an old warehouse. Him and his fellow workers were rebuilding it to be turned into a storefront.  He is laying the floor, fixing the brickwork, installing walls and insulation and doing all the plumbing.  Right now he is able to work full time 9-10 months out of the year.  He needed tools to do the contracting work and Mission Without Borders donors stepped in and provided him what he needed.  I was shown a portable concrete mixer, a stone grinder, power tools, and wheelbarrow.  His family is nearly self sufficient and I am confident his hard work will pay off.  Soon HE will be the one helping others in Durres as he continues to

"work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."  I Thessalonians 4:11

This video (from youtube) was taken just a week before my visit.

Did I mention it had snowed the previous night?  Snow still covered the grassy areas.  Thankfully, the roads were clear.  This area of Durres however was below sea level and had been a swamp.  The roads were gravel and dirt and side roads were washed out at times.  The snow wasn't deep but that didn't stop a LOT of snowmen from being built.  And these were no 2 foot baby snowmen either.  I saw a lot of 5-6 foot snowmen where kids had shoveled a lot of snow and made the most of this rare snowfall.

The second family we visited was a graduate of the program.  He now worked full time as a welder. The Mission had provided him the training (one of their training programs is welding) and the tools (including a portable electric welder!). The only reason he was home was that his job was up a mountain.  For a job, he would load all his tools and a portable welding machine onto his motorbike and take it to the jobsite.  The roads on the mountain were treacherous so he decided to work on some projects at home today.  He demonstrated some of his welding skills.  The mother stays at home with her children (who are going to the Mission Without Borders summer camp!) and also cares for 2 neighbor children while their mother works.  Their children were informed that they would be able to attend summer camp as well!  Mission Without Borders runs Christian summer camps for children throughout the summer

It was good to see 2 families whose lives were changed by the Family sponsorship program of Mission Without Borders.  The success of these 2 families gave me great hope for the first family (we had visited in the morning) who had just begun their journey.  Friday and the weekend I was on my own to explore Tirana!  But that is a story for tomorrow..

If you are a believer in "Jesus and a Job" (as the owner of my laundromat calls it)- meeting people's spiritual, emotional, education, and material needs- this family sponsorship program is really effective.  It stabilizes family life- keeps the family together (many men and women in Eastern Europe migrate to other countries looking for work and the left behind children suffer) and provides long term skills and spiritual hope.  You can learn more at the US website (  Partial sponsorship starts at just $25 a month. You'll receive annual updates and photos and the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to lift a family out of poverty into a new life.

I am still sending money from Amazon and  affiliate earnings to Mission Without Borders (whenever they pay out).  You helped raise $400 in November and December!  Last months earnings were next to nothing ( I was preoccupied and you were recovering from Christmas).  Just know that if you do purchase from Amazon or book a room from or other affiliate links you are helping!  Thanks!

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