Will’s and Doreta Niven’s Newsletter

 </stPraise report (January 2018)

Dear friends,

At the start of a New Year we want to thank you so much for your love, prayers and support during the last year. We can do nothing without your partnership in the gospel. Having asked you to pray for a whole number of things last month we wanted share with you all that has been happening.

The Christmas service in the Fier prison was a real challenge. Will had been asked to preach but when we finally passed through security there were no men waiting for us! We waited for over an hour before anyone came. An internal dispute among the staff had led one officer to cancel our meeting completely arbitrarily. The chaplain was able to persuade him to reverse his decision but we were missing many men as a result of his stubbornness. This made the men very upset so it took a while before they calmed down in the meeting. However there were around 50 present and they listened intently to the Word. After the service a group of men asked Will several questions that had been burning in their minds over the last weeks. Pray for a new year with these men. Pray for the evangelistic event that we desire to hold this month. Pray for a new Christianity Explored group to start and pray for the follow up group as we work through the gospel of Mark together. Pray for the conversion of many souls and pray that men will know true life change that will result in a new life outside of prison not just inside it!

Doreta and Bledi were able to get food parcels to a number of the families of prisoners who are in particular need and we were able to get some shoeboxes to children of prisoners. These initiatives give us contact with the families and we hope that this will help us to evangelise whole families rather than just individual prisoners. Please pray for them as they visit families during the next few months and pray that the gospel would advance as a result.

Shoebox distribution was a large part of our month! Taulant helped in the warehouse in Durres to unload lorries and organize distribution of parcels to various churches. We were able to take parcels to schools and kindergartens in the villages of Marinëz and Jagodinë on the way to Suk and were delighted that the director of the schools brought her children to church for the Christmas meeting. We were able to give shoeboxes to a number of contacts in Fier and Patos and also to children of the blind as well as giving out parcels to the children in Ferras where recent floods have caused so much damage. We had a special meeting for the blind at which Will spoke. Though the number was small it was a good time together. Thank God for His strength in getting all these boxes out and pray that the literature we gave out with them will have a great impact not just on children but parents and grandparents as well.

Another joy was to be able to share the gospel at the Old People’s Home in Fier. We organized a service there at which Will preached and together with another church in town we provided the elderly with a Christmas dinner. Pray for this ministry that we might have wisdom as to how to improve what we do and organize more visits than the monthly service. Pray for people who will have a real burden for this work. We were also encouraged on the other end of the age scale by the children’s Christmas meeting which had around 50 children and some adults present as well.

Doreta was able to have a meeting with the ladies in our neighbourhood for Christmas. The numbers were low due to sickness but it was a good opportunity nonetheless. She also helped Diana with a meeting for ladies in the Patos church’s neighbourhood. Please pray for these ongoing works that God might work for the salvation of souls.

We are so thankful for the Christmas Day services in Fier and Patos. In Fier the Vlora Baptist church came to join us for the festivities. It was so good to have fellowship with them and also to have a good number of unbelievers including a number who were there for the first time. It was an especial joy to have D with us from the village of Verriaj for the first time with her sister and nephew. Will was able to preach the gospel to them from Isaiah 59 and it was a very fruitful time. In Patos a good number came out also and it was an encouragement to see people who are not regular in attendance coming.

We want to praise God for the continuing growth among the men in Fier. We have had more men leading the Lord’s Supper for the first time in December and we also had some excellent Bible studies together. Pray that the men will not only grow in knowledge and ability to serve but also in character and grace. Pray that they will be spiritual leaders in the home. Pray particularly for Hektor as he begins married life with Ina. They could not afford a wedding so had a short ceremony in the Fier church before Christmas. Pray for Hektor as he considers starting a business this month.

After Christmas we left for a winter youth camp in Ersekë as a family. Will spoke three times to the young people and led a Bible study on relationships with the opposite sex also! Both he and Doreta were involved in small group discussions after the talks as well and we were able to spend a good amount of time counseling and praying with the young people. Please pray that God’s Word will bear fruit. We were also grateful for fellowship with some of the missionaries there and Niko Hamzallaraj who is part of the “Light for the Blind” board.

We were grateful also for God’s help for the children during December. Ester did well in her exams and handled the extra strain well. The children also had a number of concerts at school that they played at. They were exhausted by the end of the month but are enjoying a short holiday now. Lidia and Samuel will have exams in January so please pray for that!

We are planning to have two prayer conferences for the work in Albania. On Saturday February 17th we will be at Musselburgh Baptist church with Andy Prime preaching and on Saturday 24th we will have a conference at West View Baptist church in Letchworth with Paul Davies of AEM preaching as well as sharing about the works they are involved in. More details will follow but we would love you to come and join us if even for a short time!

Every blessing, Will and Doreta 

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