The “Way of Peace” church of Fier

Training future leaders and workers

Our great aim is to work ourselves out of a job! Our desire is to see an Albanian eldership overseeing the church in Fier allowing the gospel to then spread to other parts of the area. Over the last year and a half we have been blessed by the growth of the men in the Fier church. We now have 5 men who lead prayer meetings, Sunday worship and the Lord’s Supper. To put this into context, for over 10 years none of the men in the church had led communion. Not only are they taking on responsibilities like this but they are undertaking a number of practical jobs around the church building.

This has been greatly assisted by our partnership with the Grace church from Yate near Bristol. They have sent both elders and trainees out several times a year to conduct training with the men and to equip the church in sharing the gospel as well as helping out with preaching and teaching. It is partnerships like these that make the work possible. Now the men are meeting fortnightly to study together and each meeting one of them shares something from the Word of God.

IMG_710627658173_10215314858487488_8867315_n

Gospel work in the prison

God has opened a wonderful door of opportunity for the gospel in the prison in Fier which is the largest in Albania with a capacity of over 800 inmates (all male). The Albanian Christian prison society has translated a version of Christianity Explored called “The Prisoner’s journey.” This 8 week course gives a wonderful overview of the gospel of Mark. After the first courses it was clear that follow up Bible studies were needed and now there is a group of between 15-20 men meeting each week to study the Bible further.

Another aspect of the work is what is known as the “Winter project.” When a man is imprisoned, particularly if he is from a village, the whole family is condemned to often abject poverty. The prison society provides funds for a handful of the poorest families for fuel and basic food supplies to get families through the winter. In addition when a man leaves prison another project helps provide for the family in the first few months of transition. In one case near Fier they provided seed, fertilizer and other assistance for a released prisoner to start planting crops again.

Reaching out to villages

For the last two years we have been able to build up contacts in the village of Ferras. A couple there, Beni and Flutra Sema, invited us to meet with them but soon it became apparent that there were huge needs in the community. Two years ago flooding wiped out crops, destroyed electrical appliances in homes and many lost their livestock also. A project helped some of these families until last December flooding hit the village again but this time on a far greater scale. The Albanian Evangelical Alliance and a local Food Bank have helped some families to survive with food parcels which we have helped to give out.

This Easter we decided to test the waters by inviting contacts to a special Easter meeting. The invitations were enthusiastically accepted so we invited them back for a Bible study each Friday. Now we are meeting each week with around 3 men and 12 women plus a whole group of young people and children who listen attentively.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: