Posted by: igtalbania | January 27, 2019

Why keep supporting Albanian workers?

As a Trust we are involved in seeking financial and prayer support for our Albanian co workers. The question is, should we be doing this? Here are five questions that we are commonly asked about supporting indigenous workers.

1. Shouldn’t Albanian churches support their workers?

The simple answer is yes! The Biblical pattern is to see local churches calling, sending and supporting their workers. It is our aim is to see Albanian churches as self-supporting. Indeed Albanian churches would love to support their own workers! However the vast majority of Albanian churches cannot afford to fund the rent for their buildings let alone a full time worker.

2. Why, after more than 25 years of democracy, are Albanian churches not supporting their workers?

  • Economic hardship. Rising prices, high inflation, an increasing tax burden and a lack of work are all combining to cripple the Albanian economy. Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe and becoming ever poorer.
  • Family responsibilities. Albanian believers have responsibilities wider than their immediate families. In the absence of any welfare state and affordable health care they often need to support their parents and other family members. In particular medical care is extremely costly and often falls on workers because their parents can’t afford it. This is a constant drain on their financial resources.
  • Family debt. Albania has an incredibly high number of people who are in debt to pay for medical care for themselves or other family members. There is also debt from buying a family home or other very legitimate things. This means that many believers cannot give more to the church and church workers themselves may be called upon to help their families.
  • Migration and emigration. There is a mass movement from the provinces to the capital city Tirana and overseas. Churches are losing members constantly. One church in Tirana lost 25 members last year alone!
  • Independent churches. Most churches in Albania are independent and are not part of a denomination or network of churches which can provide extra finances.

For all these reasons churches are in no financial position to support fully their workers.

3. What do Albanian workers need support for?

Apart from their living costs, workers need help to meet ministry expenses such as running a car, purchasing Bibles and Christian literature, the rent of their church building or paying taxes for the church. They also need help to be able to provide hospitality and for related expenses. Albania has a coffee bar culture! For someone to meet a church member or spend time with a nonbeliever they would meet for a coffee but all these coffees cost money!

4. Does supporting Albanian workers harm rather than help?

There is always a danger that Western churches can create a dependency culture overseas. However, when Albanian churches have the opportunity to provide for workers they do so. The churches in Fier and Patos are partially supporting some of our workers and are striving all the more to be self-sufficient. Albanian churches will be harmed more by the loss of their workers than by any funding from the West!

5. Why should we in the West be funding Albanian workers?

The reason that we should support Albanian workers is to free them up to engage in gospel work. The fields are white unto harvest and the labourers are pitifully few in Albania. We need every worker possible to preach the gospel and build healthy churches. However, many workers have to engage in two or three ministries or combine ministry with other work simply to provide for their families. The families of Albanian workers are often going without and making great sacrifices. If we can provide support this will free workers not only from a great source of stress but allow them to concentrate fully on their ministries.

Please help us to keep workers in the harvest fields in Albania. At present we need just over 5,000 pounds a year to support our workers. If you would like to help support a worker please contact igtsec@gmail.com

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Posted by: igtalbania | January 7, 2019

Standing with the families of prisoners

An elderly recipient of food parcels

It is said that when a man goes into prison his whole family go into prison with him. This not only includes his wife and children but often his elderly parents as well who may well be living with him. Not only are the family deprived of their main breadwinner but also they have extra economic demands because the food is often so inedible in prisons that they need to bring groceries and other everyday items to their loved one in prison.

To keep themselves alive many families find themselves falling deeper and deeper into debt. Basic needs like clothes and books for school are often beyond a prisoner’s family. Winter is especially hard particularly for those living in the villages whose livelihood depends on the land. As there are few crops in winter many families cannot make ends meet.

The Albanian Prison Fellowship makes available finances for food and fuel so that families might survive this season. In the Fier area we are working with 13 families. Believers visit the families once a month for four months to bring food and fuel and also the good news of Jesus Christ. Many families are very willing to hear about the Saviour and we hope to invite them to their nearest local church.

Another way that families are being helped is in a mentoring program called Dreambuilders. The children of prisoners are invited to special events and have a local mentor who meets with them and does a Bible study with them. One such boy is Emiljano, whose father is in prison in Korce, who meets regularly with Hektor from the Way of Peace church in Fier for Bible studies. Funds have been made available so that he can go to a professional school to become a mechanic specializing in the electrics of car motors.

Emiljano at work on a car

Pray for those who often travel on hard and windy roads to take food and fuel to families. Pray for more and more people from the churches to get involved in this work and that whole families will become connected to local churches and be saved!

Posted by: igtalbania | December 11, 2018

Is there any hope for Albania?


For several days the center of Tirana has been gridlocked by student protests. Protests have spread to other university towns like Elbasan, Gjirokastёr and Shkodёr and alluniversities have been boycotted right across the country. High school students have joined protestors along with other members of the public.

The protests have been sparked by the high cost of university education and the poor conditions to be found in university libraries and halls. New taxes for students will make university education impossible for many. Protests are also increasing over the absurdly high price of fuel, with protestors mimicking those in France by wearing yellow T shirts, and government plans for a bypass around Tirana which have already resulted in a number of buildings being knocked down.

A number of things standout about these protests. The first is that this is the first student movement since the one that overthrew communism in the early nineties. Students have even been denouncing publically those tutors who have sought bribes to give students pass grades. The second is that the students are absolutely resolute in their demands. They refused to meet with the Prime Minister of Minister of Education until their 8 demands are met. Never before have democratic rights been exercised in this way. The third is that this is a movement utterly separate from any political party. Opposition parties have been told that they are not welcome and the governing party has been shunned.

What can we pray for while this situation exists?

  1. That the protests would not turn violent especially as the government seems as resolute as the protestors in refusing their demands.
  2. That the protests would lead to better government in Albania for the good of the nation and not just for the good of an elite who hold the keys to power.
  3. That Albania would grow as a democracy. Pray that people would know how to seek their rights and seek for justice.
  4. That Albanians would place their hope in God. The failure of the first student movement which overthrew communism was not just a lack of experience of democracy but the fact that Albanians placed their hope in the American dream and not God. Pray that God would sovereignly cause this movement to seek Him and His salvation!
Posted by: igtalbania | December 15, 2017

Flooded!

The first thing to hit you was the smell; a musty, mouldy dirty stench that makes breathing difficult. Then you notice the dampness in the buildings all around, the canals that are full of debris but what is particularly distressing is the look of desperation in the faces of the villagers. People looked at us hoping that we had come to bring aid. In fact we had come with shoe boxes for children at the local school; a welcome distraction for them but not a solution for this village.

For the last few years, in co operation with Vlora Baptist church, we have been seeking to reach out to the village of Ferras which lies on the edge of the Fier and Vlora districts some half an hour away from Fier.

Two years ago the River Vjosa burst its banks wreaking havoc and destroying crops and livestock right across the region. Through a grant we were able to provide some families with seed to start planting, animals to start flocks and things like fridges and washing machines. Having done children’s work for several months and taken a team for meetings there the future looked promising for planting a church. We decided to concentrate on reaching adults with the aim of having a nucleus in the village for a future church. Two couples have been meeting for Bible studies fortnightly with Ylli Beqiraj.

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Passing out shoeboxes at the local school

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The school in Ferras

However, at the end of November the river brought destruction once again. Many families were evacuated from the village and the damage was considerable to crops, livestock and homes. Precious resources that have been rebuilt over time were swept away. The Albanian Evangelical Alliance has been given resources to bring some help to show solidarity with the villagers and we have been able to give the children a gift at least this Christmas. Pray that God will meet their needs. Pray for a resolution to the flooding and pray most of all that the gospel will bring light and hope to this village!

Posted by: igtalbania | March 4, 2017

How long O Lord?

Luli is a bright, joyful believer of Christ in his early thirties. Over the last few months he has been in hospital countless times, ambulance workers have brought him back to life twice and his mother has even on one occasion begun telling close family members that he had died. He has a defect in the heart which cannot be cured or operated on but what is actually pushing him towards death is thickening of the blood. This completely treatable issue has been handled so badly that he now is severely damaged. A cardiologist that gave him a check up this week cannot believe that he is alive.

Luli is one of many, many victims of corruption in the health care system in Albania. Twice he has been admitted to hospital in Tirana only to be given a serum and sent home because he would not bribe the staff. Even this week, as he did blood tests, staff members were continually pressing him for money even though he had already paid for the tests! According to doctors the damage done to his body is now irreparable in medical terms.

This story is being repeated all over the nation. People are dying from ailments that should never take the life of someone in a country in 2017 that is applying for E.U. membership. The pressure and grief that this causes is a burden that weighs heavily on all believers in Albania. They cry like Habakkuk, “How long O Lord?”

We can see from Scripture that God will bring justice, full and final, at Christ’s return. Often we see His hand at work in the world today bringing justice too but the wait for His justice is often a painful one. Pray that God would so cause His gospel to work in this nation that not only would souls be saved but evils like that of corruption be erased! Pray that believers will not lose their hope in the Lord and will remain pure in the face of corruptive practices. Pray that God will provide ways for believers to get health care without bribery!

Posted by: igtalbania | January 28, 2017

A winter’s tale

In the midst of the coldest winter to hit Albania for over 20 years, we set off from Fier for the south eastern town of Erseka. Our main purpose was for me to teach at the Torchbearers school there from the book of Ecclesiastes but we encountered much more on our travels.

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Erseka in the snow

Light for the blind!

The blind group in the town of Korce braved the elements to come together to study God’s Word. This group, led by the pastor of the host church Berti and Arjan Kacimbro, meet together fortnightly for worship and Bible study. This year the foundation “Light for the Blind” have been able to supply finance for a van which picks up the blind and partially sighted from their doorsteps and takes them home afterwards. We have also been able to supply firewood and food for some of the most vulnerable of the group members.

What strikes you immediately is the attentiveness of this group! They really listen! They apply God’s Word to their situations straight away and are like sponges soaking up what you teach them. How thrilled they were with a visit from someone outside the town and what a challenge they are to me. Do I really desire the Word like a newborn baby?

The “Foleza” project

The “Foleza” or ” The nest” project is a wonderful initiative based in the Erseka church buildings. What really impressed me was that this was not the work of a multinational charity organisation with offices in different countries. This is based in the local church and employs people from the local church to tackle some of the hardest challenges in society here. The local church is getting involved in one of the poorest areas of the country with some of the hardest social and economic conditions.

The project allows extremely poor and vulnerable children to come in to the church after school, having often been referred to them by social services, to have a hot meal, to do their homework and then to study some more so that they can catch up at school. The central point of all that they do though is a daily Bible lesson. There are also a number of orphans who are being housed across the road at a small orphanage which is being run by missionaries and local church members.

Some hard subjects are broached! When we visited one of the employees, Valter, told us that many of these children will soon be vulnerable to child trafficking and also to pimps who will use them as prostitutes in the country.

The “Udhekryq” school

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Will teaching at the Torchbearers school

I was given the challenge of teaching through the book of Ecclesiastes in 4 days. Students from Canada, the US, Germany, Kosova and Albania all came together to study this incredible book. The group was so attentive and a delight to know but the teaching itself was a challenge. Why? Because this book touches some of the most important issues in our walk with God. It certainly cut me to the bone and challenged me as to whether or not God is my greatest treasure.

Posted by: igtalbania | April 15, 2009

Welcome!

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Welcome to the  website for the Illyrian Gospel Trust .

The Illyrian Gospel Trust is devoted to the work of planting churches amongst the Albanian peoples. The vision of the trust is to see a church planting movement amongst the Albanian peoples established which will take the gospel of Jesus Christ not only to Albanians but beyond.

On this website you can learn more about:

  • Church planting work in Fier and Patos
  • Work among the learning disabled community in Fier
  • Youth ministry opportunities
  • The work of the Albanian Bible Institute
  • Leadership development
  • Projects to help the Albanian church
  • Background information about the work of the gospel in Albania

You can follow us also on Facebook. Search for Illyrian Gospel Trust for the latest news, photos and updates!

If you have any questions or if you would like to get involved in any way please e-mail the IGT secretary at igtsec@googlemail.com.

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