first things first

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

Building on The Foundation

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11

What is it that we are building together with our partners in Albania? Why do you keep supporting me and my team in going back, now for the 7th year in a row? Firstly let me be clear that we are building nothing of our own, but rather we are building on the foundation that has already been laid. CRU has already done an amazing job of building up the Church in Albania, coming in shortly after Communism fell armed with nothing but the Gospel. Christ through them has laid the foundation of a small yet vibrant Church in Albania.

What we have built since 2013 is a partnership. This partnership has grown not only in numbers but in scope over the years, to the point where we are actively discipling 39 Watermark members in the lead up to this year’s summer projects. We are impacting 6 cities in Albania and beyond for the cause of Christ. We have seen many young Albanians come to know Christ, and become multiplying disciples according to the win-build-send model.

It seems God has chosen to bless our partnership and grow it. But we are not content with growing just in numbers and locations. We want to grow in the depth of our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Albania. To this end this year we have developed a new mission statement:

We are building deep relationships in and beyond Albania
through mutual discipleship and partnering in evangelism
for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Read more about the development of our mission statement >>

This mission statement is guiding our efforts this year. Our desire is to build into the deep relationships that we’ve forged in previous years, to become true friends and partners with them in every aspect of the Great Commision. We are already effectively partnering in Evangelism; this year we are seeking more mutual discipleship. To that end, the summer projects this year are including more discipleship time with the believers. This is building on the success of the discipleship retreats with the Young Professionals, and other opportunities we’ve had to build into young believers over the years.

We want to see these young believers become rock-solid in their faith. We want to help them build their houses, marriages, and ministries on the Rock, so that they can bear fruit thirty, sixty, or a hundred times what was sown. We seek this not because we want the reward, but because we seek the credit that abounds to their accounts (Philippians 4:17).

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

My Part

I will be participating again in the Young Professionals project this year, but the team leaders will be Brian Claussen and Carrie Beckner. This will give me more time to spend re-connecting with my friends and co-laborers over the past several years. I’ll be keeping my eyes and ears open, looking for opportunities to share with them the Biblical principles and training that I’ve benefited from at Watermark.

I will also be leading a small team of 3 up to Shkodër, in the north-west of Albania. My good friend and former roommate Pal Hila is leading the CRU college ministry there, and he invited us to come spend some time with them to see the ministry and look into how we can support it in the future. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Pal & Ueda Hila are among those whom we believe God wants to strongly support, so we will gladly take any opportunity to be part of God’s support to them.

Your part

Thank you for your support over the years. All of you who have continued to support me monthly even after coming back from my STINT have already contributed the majority of the financial support I need. Any additional support you choose to give above the costs of the trip will be transferred to the Young Professionals and Shkoder ministries after the project completes, and will be used to finance their ongoing ministry through the coming year. Give here »

As always, the most important way to support us is through prayer. Please pray specifically that:

  • God would smooth the road for us logistically, and we would have no trouble with plane tickets or itineraries.
  • God would prepare our hearts to serve and the hearts of the Albanians to hear the Gospel
  • God would show us opportunities to be more deeply involved in discipleship in the future

There will also be opportunities for you to meet Albanians who are coming to Dallas this year. Be on the lookout for barbeques and other meetup opportunities, it’s a great way to hear more directly about the effect your prayers are having.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5

Thank you again, and God Bless.