Will’s and Doreta Niven’s Newsletter

News from the Niven’s
(April 2018)

Dear friends,

Warmest greetings from Fier! We are thankful to God for answered prayer over the Easter period. After two years of patient work with children, young people and families affected by flooding it was finally possible to have our first public meeting in the village of Ferras. It was a joy to see 46 adults and many young people crowd into the former coffee bar that we have rented for this purpose. Will preached about Christ and the disciples on the Emmaus road. It was striking how much the adults listened. We have invited them to return every Friday to study the Bible together. The first Bible study had 6 women, 2 men and some young people. Please pray that as Ylli, Bledi and Will teach the Word God we will see fruit. Pray that others from the Fier church will join us in this endeavour.

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Easter Saturday was marked with special meetings for the children and youth in Fier. It was good to see some new faces coming and listening intently to the Word. Some of our young people were a real help in doing practical things. Pray that those who believe would grow spiritually and that the others would be saved. We also celebrated the Lord’s Supper as a church in the evening and had a “bring and share meal” together. It was great as well to have the Patterson family from Stirling with us during this time to share in what was happening.

Easter Sunday was a joyful occasion made all the more special by the arrival of one of the prisoners who has now been released at church with his wife and son. Pray that Besian and his family will come to a saving knowledge of Christ. We were deeply encouraged that Doreta’s brothers and families came without us inviting them. Pray for their salvation. Pray for Doreta’s niece Morena who has been coming regularly to youth meetings and seems to be changing. It was also encouraging to see ladies from the family of a prisoner coming to church during the Easter period. Pray for their salvation and that God would work in the lives of a Roma family that we have had contact with. They came in from a nearby village for Easter Sunday. The wife of the family is a believer but she and other members of the family have not been able to afford the bus to and from the village. We have arranged for their bus fare to be covered so pray that as they come week by week God might work in their lives.

The Patos church was especially encouraged by the number of children who came to their special Easter meeting. It was not just the fact that 65 children came but that they listened so respectfully to the Word. We have asked for prayer for a believer who has been forbidden to come to church. She has been desperate to come for such a long time and praise God was able to come for the first time, albeit secretly, last Sunday. Pray that she will one day be able to come openly and that her family will all join her in believing in Christ! Will has been able to hand over responsibility as director of the church’s foundation to Marjus who has been very diligent indeed in putting all of our documents in order. The men have been doing some practical work such as replacing the main gate which has made a real difference to the building. Please pray for the outreach to ladies planned for Saturday 21st that God would bless His Word and that we would see more coming to Sunday meetings too.

Will was also invited to preach at a meeting for graduates in the town of Berat in the lead up to Easter. This meeting has been going for some two years and has some 30 people from different backgrounds such as teachers, doctors, prosecutors, and bank mangers attending it. After being interviewed by the pastor, Will spoke on the nature of true leadership from Philippians 2 and there was a very helpful time of discussion afterward. Pray that people of all backgrounds might be reached by the gospel not only in Berat but all over the country.

We had a very constructive board meeting of the “Light for the blind” foundation this week. It was a real joy to have one of our blind brothers, Niko Hamzallaraj, lead us in a devotion at the board meeting. Niko shared about how hard it was for him to preach in his local church not only because of his disability but because there are so many capable preachers there. What challenged him to preach was reading the account of how God called Moses in Exodus 4. Pray that the blind members of the board would continue to grow spiritually and that they will contribute more and more to their local churches. There are several towns in which people have expressed a desire to start a work with the blind. We hope to have the first meeting for blind people in the Vlora area before the end of the month. Will and Ylli had a very constructive meeting with the head of the local blind society and his secretary. Do pray that these initiatives will be blessed of God. Pray that, with new groups ready to begin, God would raise up people to develop this work further.

One sadness that we have had has been the passing of one of the ladies who has been coming regularly to the meetings that Doreta has in our home. Urania was a very active participant in these Bible studies but we don’t know where she stood before God. It was good to be with our neighbours at her funeral but please pray that these ladies would not rely on their religiosity but turn in repentance and faith to Christ before it is too late. Pray also that we might have opportunities to speak to men in our neighbourhood about the gospel.

We are thankful for your prayers for Dorisa. We await a Christian physio to come and visit her to give her exercises to help her rehabilitation. However, the situation with her mental condition has been rather complicated with one doctor advising her to not take certain medicines and another insisting that she does. The problem is that we need the latter for any future referrals. She was able to come to church on Easter Sunday with her sisters.

We are thankful that Ester’s exams all went well. Lidia now is preparing for end of year exams as she prepares to graduate from elementary school. Do pray for her. Please pray for Doreta’s youngest brother. It is clear that he is searching for God but has been going to the mosque in Tirana. He has no knowledge but has begun Muslim practices. Doreta had a long discussion with him so pray that he would come to the true God.

Wishing you God’s richest blessing,
Will and Doreta

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Board of the Light for the blind foundation

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