first things first

A blog about whatever crosses my mind, ordered by importance.

Day 1 in Albania

I’m here!

It’s just as I remember it. All the buildings, streets, people. It almost feels like a 2nd home. I arrived at 2:30pm, and was picked up by my team leader Illir Stavro. He dropped me off at my apartment, which I’m sharing with two new members of the high-school ministry team: Gedis and Pal. It’s a nice, small apartment. I have my own room, and there’s a living area with a couch and a small bathroom and kitchen. It’s different from what I’m used to but not too different.

Gedis and I had dinner with Aldo and Blerina. It was great to see them again! I’m excited to be able to keep hanging out with them over the course of the next year. Amanda is so big now! She’s walking and talking, even some English. Aldo apparently talks to her in English at home.

We went home and I unpacked, then got ready for bed because I want to join the team meeting tomorrow morning. As I was sitting there in my new bed, a wave of feelings came over me. I miss my friends, my house, my church, my (well, really Matt’s) couch. The weight of not being able to go back to Dallas for a year finally hit me. I opened up my Bible and read a bit. I’m a bit behind in Join the Journey, so I was reading Haggai 1. The Israelites had returned from their Babylonian exile, and instead of building up God’s temple they were investing in their own houses, their own comforts and riches.

This is what the LORD Almighty says:
‘These people say, “The time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’s house”’
Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:
‘Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?’ Haggai 1:2-4

In our time, the LORD’s house is the body of believers. He is building something here in Albania. So is it a time for me to be living in my “paneled house” in dallas? Or is it a time for me to be building the LORD’s house in Albania?

God came through for me tonight. He gave me a peace with this decision, and an understanding that He is in this effort. I’m sure there will be more hard times ahead, when all I want is to go home to my familiar and comfortable environment. But God is with me, and that’s all I need. Please pray with me that God would sustain me, and that He would bless our efforts.