Albania Witness Trip
Albania is one of Europe’s poorest nations. With a small population of 3 million and no particular industrial foundation, the nation’s overall unemployment rate of 20% manifests how the young people live without any vision about hope or future. While working with such young people, the heart of wanting to preach the gospel to them, to educate and to teach them by receiving support for an IYF Center from the city or nation, and to send them throughout different places in Albania first, and then to different counties in East Europe, and finally throughout the world arose equally in the hearts of the missionaries in the European region.
The first place our witnessing team and the short term missionaries arrived at was a city in Albania called Korçë that has a population of 80,000. This city was became known to us as Brother Yo-sung Lee, who couldn’t receive a visa in Germany, came to Albania for no-money witnessing trip.
At first, when Brother Lee couldn’t receive a visa in Germany, he decided it would be better to go to Albania on a no-money witness trip than to return to Korea. That is how he had come here. Moreover, a church that Brother Lee got to know while staying at a Protestant church gave us the chance to come and preach the Words during their church seminar, and that is how we went for a witness trip to Albania, according to that period.
As we saw the works being fulfilled each day however, our hearts were able to clearly feel that God led us here to preach the gospel and send the youths here to the world and we could no longer delay his will.
On May 18th, our witnessing ream visited Korçë and city hall. A meeting with the college President took place immediately and we proposed various IYF activities and plans within this school in the future such as the World Culture Camp, small-scale Korea Culture Camp, Good News Corps Recruitment, Korea World Camp Scholarship Student, etc., and an agreement of MOU.
It was the period of replacement of the college President so we scheduled to sometime after June 1st, and he also said he would review with consideration the participation of the World Education Leaders’ Forum that will be held in Korea. Also, we held a small-scale culture event and mind lecture titled, ‘Korea Day’ in two campuses of that college on the 19th and 23rd, and about 100 students applied to the member recruitment. Many college students felt challenged after listening to our mind lecture and opened their hearts and participated in the activities we presented. As we saw these youths, our witnessing team was touched in our hearts.
Through our two meetings with the mayor on the 18th and 23rd, we discussed plans of IYF activities in the city in the future. As we talked about leadership, moral education etc. activity plans of youths through middle and high school English Camps, World Culture Camps, and Mind Education, we requested to provide for a building as IYF center. The mayor, who was surprised at first by our sudden proposal, accepted it positively and asked that we present the specifics of our request. Although he cannot make it to the World Ministers’ Forum held during the Korean World Camp, he promised to review sending another city representative.
On the 20th, we met with President Korani of a college located in Tirana, the capital. This president was someone who had already attended the Education Leaders’ Forum in Korea twice. Although we had not made appointments when we visited, he was extremely happy to meet us when we introduced ourselves and he spoke of his memories of Pastor Ock Soo Park, the homestay, world camp train ride etc. Korçë College is situated in the center of the President’s Palace and Prime Minister’s Office and the largest and best college in Albania. When we proposed that we wanted to hold a World Camp at this college, invite students to the Korea World Camp, and make these students competent like any other students of the world through the Good News Corps program, they asked if we would like to organize a club in the school and provided a venue for a day of Culture Camp.
On the 24th, the witnessing team left Korçë and head towards the capital, Tirana. While the witnessing team stayed at a general church before departure, a youth named Sara in that church even connected us to her college dean. Through personal fellowship, she assured that she had become eternally righteous through the new promise, not by theory.
On the evening of the 25th, through the dramatic meeting at the President’s office, we invited the staff under the President to the Education Leaders’ Forum to be held at the Korea World Camp. The President was happy and expressed his wishes to participate with the personnel of the school, and he promised to give his answer as soon as decisions were made.
On the 26th, we visited Tirana city hall for a meeting with the mayor. Although we could not meet with the mayor, we met with the person in charge of the city’s foreign affairs and proposed World Camps under cooperation with colleges, English Camps, Good News Corps recruitment and dispatchment, Mind Education etc. for the youths of the future of Tirana. He talked about his experiences as an overseas exchange student and sympathized with the importance of overseas experience, and he arranged a meeting with the Director in charge of the city. That is how we were able to meet with two administrators on the 27th, the next day.
First, we found out that the mayor of the capital is 39 years old and city administration is being carried out with the education and vision of youths in focus. At our proposal of such vision, the city of Tirana replied that they were making the same efforts. When we showed them the IYF promotional video and other related videos, they were surprised at our activities and strongly expressed their wishes to work with us. When we requested an IYF center for the activities we proposed, they asked that we give a presentation on specific plans.
We plan to revisit the capital with specific plans prepared in a presentation at least for inviting the administrators of the city hall to the Korea World Camp World Ministers’ Forum.
“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” As Jesus, who after reading the Scriptures proclaimed by Isaiah 600 years ago, spoke to the people saying that those Scriptures are no longer a prophesy but has been fulfilled before them, we thought how moved Jesus might have been. As God, who wanted to work in the region of Macedonia, appeared in the dream of Paul and told him to cross over to Macedonia and help them, it felt as though God was telling us, “come over to Albania and help us“ throughout the entire witness trip. As these Scriptures of the book of Acts, it seemed as though God had fulfilled these Words in Albania and our church. Moreover, we felt that God must also feel moved in the heart by these things and we were also deeply moved by the plans and will of God fulfilled before us throughout our entire witnessing trip. We believe these young people will no longer wander without hope but come before the Lord’s call and be used in fulfilling the last will of God together.