Will’s and Doreta Niven’s Newsletter

Niven’s News

(September 2018)

Dear friends,

Warmest greetings from Albania! With the start of the school year a whole array of ministries have started up again in Fier and Patos and we are already in full swing. One of the greatest encouragements that we have had of late has been to see two brothers, Hektor and Stiljan, begin to preach in the Fier church. During August we had a series of sermons from the prophet Haggai and both undertook a sermon each. They did well, particularly for a first sermon, and have committed themselves to preaching every second month. We will be working through the “faithful sayings” found in the pastoral letters so they will take a passage each. Will is meeting with them to help them study the passage beforehand. Please pray that they would learn to divide rightly the Word of truth and that they would live by it. Pray particularly for Hektor as he has moved his business to an area that should bring him more clients. It is a big move and has caused no small amount of stress to him so pray that he will know God’s peace and provision. Pray that other men would follow their example in the future and that both the Fier and Patos churches would have preachers and teachers of the Word.

Please pray for the ongoing training that we will have with the men in Fier. We will be looking this week at the Sermon on the Mount with James Goodman from Stockport and next week our friends from Yate will be leading a number of sessions on what worship is and how to lead it. We will then be continuing our series on how to interpret the Bible by looking at how to handle the Proverbs. Pray for all those leading sessions and for those taking part that God might bless these times to equip workers for His harvest fields.

Pray also for a new initiative that we have taken to form a small fraternal with some of our coworkers once a month. We recognized that we needed desperately time to share burdens and worries as church leaders and also to spur one another on to love and good works. We met for the first time in Elbasan last month and had a very profitable meeting. We are reading through Paul David Tripp’s book “Dangerous calling” together and discussing issues that arise from it. Pray that this would be a real means of supporting church leaders and that iron will sharpen iron and we will be helped to be better husbands, fathers and leaders.

We are delighted that Taulant and Monda have been set apart by the Fier church for ministry among children and young people with the Child Evangelism Fellowship. These are the first people from this church to be set aside for full time ministry of any kind so this represents a major development in the life of the church. It was a particular joy to have a unanimous decision by the Fier church to approve them as workers. They have been leading the work among the children in Fier for two years and have been trained in Romania for this kind of ministry by CEF. CEF’s desire is to see workers in every major town in Albania not only to reach out themselves to children but also to equip other churches in this ministry.

Taulant and Monda will be serving based from our church in Fier. During the first year they will be concentrating on ministry here. Apart from the children’s meeting in Fier they will be helping in Patos, Ferras and we are looking at the possibilities of opening a children’s meeting in the neighbourhood where Festim lives. They will also be establishing a depot at the church where people from churches in the area can purchase evangelistic and teaching materials. They will also offer assistance to the national office in Durrës periodically. Please pray that God would bless them deeply and help them as they begin this new ministry.

We would ask for prayer particularly as we begin a new season of meetings in the Fier prison. For the past year and a half we have been involved in bringing the gospel to what is the largest prison in Albania. The prison only houses men at present but they come from all over the country and have been imprisoned for a variety of different crimes; anything from murder to drug running or taking Syrian refugees to the border illegally or even the illegal possession of arms. The men are incredibly welcoming and very thankful that we visit. The relationships that have been built up over the past months have really been warm and we value our contact with them. Some struggle with injustices in the justice system, others with injustices within the prison and others with being in prison while their families are in economic need.

God willing we will be starting a new Christianity Explored course in the prison next week. Pray that men will come and that lives will be transformed by the Word. Pray also as we continue with follow up courses. The number of men coming to our follow up study has become too big to contain in one room! We are looking to divide the group with Will and Bledi leading one study and Paulin the other. We are considering the idea of doing a Bible survey with the men, touching on the major events in Scripture, so pray that God would guide our preparation. Pray for the men who have been coming and seem so close to the kingdom but are not entering in! One of the refreshing features of Bible studies is the honesty that the men show. They openly admit why they have not yet turned to Christ. Pray that the Spirit might convict them and draw them to a saving knowledge of Christ. Pray also that their families might come to church and hear the gospel. Pray for those who have been released over the summer that they would go to Bible teaching churches. Pray for the families of prisoners who are being visited that we might see gospel fruit. Pray for Ermal from Vlora who has been released recently and wants to join us as a volunteer.

Pray also for Bledi in Patos. He is struggling deeply with discouragement in the ministry, family challenges and isolation and this is clearly affecting his ministry as a result. Pray that he would be strengthened, encouraged, and given rich wisdom from God. Pray for fruit as children’s and youth meetings begin.

Please pray for our children in their new school year. Lidia is now in high school so pray that she will adjust well to that and that Samuel will do well despite his sisters not being at the same school.

Wishing you God’s richest blessing,

Will and Doreta

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