Will’s and Doreta Niven’s Newsletter

January 2019

The Niven family

Dear friends,

We thank God for all His faithfulness to us in answering prayers. One of the delights of December was a visit from John and Pam Blanchard; some 9 years after the last visit that John had made to us. In the morning we had a meeting for young people. We were somewhat in trepidation due to the fact that schools were in, even though it was a Saturday, and that many young people were taking exams that very day. Added to that was the inclement weather that was discouraging. Imagine our joy when we saw over 20 young people appear from the village of Baltez; a gypsy village. Some 30-35 young people attended the meeting and were most attentive to the Word. In the evening John preached again about Christmas to around 60 people. We were thankful that members of our family came and that several contacts that we have had over the last year also came. At both events we were able to have a book table with John’s books on sale. Everyone who came was given a free copy of “Ultimate Questions” and “Why on earth did Jesus come?”

December saw us distributing Scripture calendars. People will generally not accept a tract or an invitation to come to church but everyone is looking for a free calendar at the turn of the year and is very willing to take one from us. Each month has a different Scripture. In the shoe factory in Patos some 300 calendars were given out to the ladies which was a real encouragement. We also had a number of shoeboxes from Team Hope which we gave to different groups of children which was the occasion of much joy.

We had several special Christmas meetings. In Ferras we were encouraged to see some new faces. The group that meets each Friday there is steady and people are engaging more and more with the Word of God. Please pray that souls may be saved. Pray that we might be able to reach more people in the village this year and pray for strength for the workers who go there. In Fier south and the Fier church Taulant and Monda held Christmas meetings for the children. What was immensely encouraging was to see Stiljan preaching at the Christmas service this year. Our family had already departed for the UK to spend time with Will’s Mum and family so to know that men from the Fier church were taking responsibility for this meeting was a real blessing. Hektor preached at the service before New Year on “thankfulness” from 2 Samuel 7 and will be preaching again while Will is away. Indeed Stiljan is scheduled for his first sermon in the Patos church this month; another step forward.

Text Box: Taulant, Monda and Emili
Taulant, Monda and Emili

Imagine the impact that the gospel could have on children through an app or website. It seems that children and young people live nowadays on their phones or tablets. Why not exploit this for the gospel? This is what inspired the Child Evangelism Fellowship to set up a website for children so that they can learn about the gospel. On line resources include Bible studies and soon this site will be turned into an app for phones! Monda will be involved in maintaining the Albanian site which will cover the ministries in Albania and Kosova among Albanian children. Taulant and Monda are now officially full time workers with CEF and will be spending the next year getting as involved as they can in children’s work in our area. Pray for wisdom in what to start and what not to start. Pray for co-workers in the new children’s meetings. Pray that they would learn how to work with CEF. Pray that they might grow spiritually throughout this year. Pray for fruit for their labours.

Please pray urgently for the church in Patos. Numbers have declined over the last few years because of a variety of factors. However we have seen the men beginning to do more. They worked very hard to put up iron railings in the church courtyard and have been thinking and discussing how to get the gospel out to the town. Pray that God would really revive them! Pray for us as we meet together as a church in February to consider what we need to do to address the current situation. Pray for wisdom, for grace, for healing of relationships, for practical steps to revitalize this church. We are thankful that Bledi and Bela are awaiting a boy this month. Pray for a safe birth and pray that they will learn to balance family and church life well.

Pray for the ongoing ministries in the Fier and Vlora prisons. In Fier we have been encouraged by registrations for a new Christianity Explored group. Pray that we might have wisdom when to begin this course. Pray for the two follow up groups that are running each Tuesday. Ylli is taking a Christianity Explored group in Vlora. There are four men coming to this regularly now so pray for God’s Word to work in their lives. Pray also for Doreta as she goes in with Ylli. Pray for James Goodman as he spends around a month with us. James visited us last year and will be undertaking preaching and teaching in both Fier and Patos. Pray that God might really use James while he is in Fier.

Please pray for Dorisa who is visited by Doreta weekly. Dorisa not only needs physiotherapy but also psychological help having experienced some deep mental problems caused by terrible traumas in her past. She is currently on medication and we can find no one in Albania to advise us as to how to proceed. Pray for wisdom and pray that she might grow in faith despite the harshness of family life.

Pray particularly for the situation surrounding Brexit. One of the side effects of Brexit is that the exchange rate between the pound and Albanian lekë has plummeted from 178 lekë to the pound a few years ago to 136. This effects Albanian workers the most as there is a real shortfall for many of them with the changes in the exchange rate. Please pray for God’s provision for these workers and their families.

Please pray for us as a family. Will’s Mum will have a shoulder replacement God willing on the 14th. Will has stayed on in Britain to be with her. Pray for a good recovery and pray for Doreta and the children while Will is in the UK.

Every blessing,

Will and Doreta

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