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Matt 28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

John 20:10-16

10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"

"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

16 Jesus said to her, "Mary."

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

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  Tirana, Albania Church of Christ

Bledar Valca
Rruga Maliq Muca, Nr 37
Tirana, Albania
E-mail: bvalca@yahoo.com or bvalca@kishaekrishtit.com

Tel: + 355 42 228099
Cel: + 355 69 40 96622

Erik Qirjaqi
WEI Director

Tirana, Albania

cell: 069-2077079 (15 Aug 04)

Rr. Maliq Muca
Nr. 37
Tirana, Albania
Phone local: 228-099
Phone: 355-42-280-99

Secretary:  Sadete Hoxha
9 - 5 o'clock
Tirana = PST + 9 hr

The church in Tirana
grows consistently by teaching Bible to students who are at first interested in English. Quickly, the student's interest turns to the Bible.  WEI's school in Tirana, managed by Erik, provides a place for teaching daily. The future of the church in Tirana looks bright. Older family members are now increasing in numbers.

Erik Qirjaqi, the director of WEI's school in Tirana, and his colleagues report their work in Tirana here.

The long term missionary from America is Ellen Walker.

For some time, Artan and Rumira Xhaferi served as one of the Albanian leaders. Bledar Valca served Tirana and Elbasan while doing his studies with IBIA school of preaching there. Bledar is now in Tirana full time. Artan is in America.

This church is now tending its members toward growth, growth in character and in talents. Beldar is part of the ministers in Albania who are training men to preach in other cities in Albania.

Ellen Walker
Maliq Muça, 39
Tirana, Albania
Phone: 0355-426-2741
Cell: 069-20-77087

(I = L in Albanian)

Jan - Feb 2014



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Greetings dear brothers and sister!

It is with great joy that we announce the birth of our second son. Liam Valca was born today at noon, being way overdue. However, our good and gracious God was in control all along.

Liam weighs 8.4 pounds and is 20.5 inch tall.

Both Liam and Bona are doing well.

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers and please continue to do so in the days ahead.

In Christ,
Bledi, Bona, Lemuel and Liam.


January-February 2014

To the Maryville Church Family

As I was getting ready to write this report, I came across this quote: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing is like wrapping a gift and not giving it.” Words cannot express adequately the gratitude we feel toward you. You enable us to do what we love to do, while many people endure what they have to do. We praise God for your partnership and are certain that the God, who started a good job in all of us, will bring it to completion in the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

Two new births
It is always a joy to start the New Year with new births. During this period two sisters were added to the body of Christ. Suela Marku was the first to put on Christ in baptism. She started in the summer session and has had several teachers. She is a cousin to Malvina Palaj, one of our members. I was talking to Malvina at one point and she pointed out that Suela, among all her cousins, didn’t square as a potential candidate. I reminded Malvina that we don’t control who comes to God or not, we just need to present the opportunity and see if they will be open to His Word. Bona and I sat with Suela and talked to her about the decision. She knew what she needed to do and was ready to do it immediately. We regret that a week after she was baptized, she came to us and told that she was granted the visa and would be moving to Goteborg, Sweden where her sister lives. I did some search online and there is a small group of Christians that meets there. I have already been in contact with them and they will follow up with her. Ellen was trying to make room in her schedule for Suela’s mother.

The other new sister is Arta Bazhella. In passing, I was able to detect an accent in her speech and when I asked her origin I was amazed to find out that her family lived only a couple of miles from me, and I grew up with her first cousin. Arta studied with Carolyn Windham of Alabama during the summer and then followed up with Sadete. When she had requested baptism, Sadete and I sat with her again to sense her understanding of baptism. Knowing that she comes from a Catholic background, it was very important to study with her the basics of the “who”, the “what” and the “how” of baptism. It was also a pleasure for her father to be at the baptism. Please pray for these two new sisters.

Follow up
According to some studies, two of the seven reasons why churches don’t grow are they don’t track attendance of who was there and they don’t follow up with visitors. To correct the thing, I bought and online software in which you record attendance and gives you action points for follow up. The system generates reports of those who have visited the first time, second or have become regular attendees. If you input their name it can create a list of prospects that you can invite if you have an evangelistic event. It provides lists of those who have missed services for three weeks in a row (I don’t know why they have used three weeks, but maybe because people go on vacations or work trips for periods of up to two weeks. I am excited about the program, because it will free me administrative time to give more time to other things, both quality and quantity.

Teaching evangelism and evangelizing at the same time
I completed my study on evangelism on Sunday mornings on the second Sunday of February. I used the entire January and February period to talk about different models I had come across and adopted that share the good news. Being a firm believer on the fact that it may take different or several spins to convince someone to make a decision for God, I have collected many gospel presentations during the last couple of years. With a little change, I was able to bring an accurate view of the gospel, as well as several methods. Going through the methods, my knowledge of the gospel has been reinforced many times. Given the fact that we have many non-Christians in our Sunday Morning Bible class, I was sensitive to approach the study not as us versus them, but this is what God teaches. So for many of them it was also a presentation of the gospel. Killing two birds with one stone is a nice thing indeed.

Valentine dinner
It has become a good tradition in our church to celebrate love and commitment around Valentines. Every year we are having a party for the couples in our church, even if only one of them is a Christian and the other is not. Bona used her skills to prepare the place to look nice and welcoming. We worked together on some activities. We bought copies of the book “Five languages of love” for everybody as a gift from us. Erik took care of catered food. We did have a great time. We also used the occasion to invite Bona’s brother and sister-in-law to join us. Thankfully they enjoy the time spent with people from the church and have never said no to our invitations if they could come.

Ministry preparation school
On January 11, we met on Saturday in Kucova to inaugurate the beginning of the “Ministry Preparation School”. We prayed for each of the students one by one. We also had someone pray for the teachers. The program has currently 12 students and will add the 13th student in April. It affects trainees in six churches and trainers in five. Our plan allows each of the four teachers to use two days a month to teach and mentor. Currently, each of us has taught 2/3 of our courses in Overview of the Bible (Eduart Hoxha, Vlora); Spiritual Life (Cimi Kafexhiu, Durres downtown); Gospel of Luke (myself) and Book of Acts (Alfred Zike, Adriatik Congregation). We believe that we cannot build strong churches without foundational biblical training.

Boys’ breakfast
I believe that the highlight of my ministry is the time I spend with 3-4 young men on Saturday mornings (while the group consists of five, someone “manages” to miss it every time). We eat breakfast together and share a lesson from the book “Walk of Faith”. The book was designed with new Christians in mind, so it is really sharing first steps in Christian faith. Since I was not going to be in Albania the last two weeks of February, I was wondering what I could do with the group. I decided to approach two of them to lead the small group in my absence (one week each of them). While it was not going to be an issue for one of them, I knew it would be challenging for the other. He is soft spoken and withdrawn, but I encouraged him to start here. After all, you need to start somewhere, and if you cannot start in this small circle of friends, where will you. I was confident that he could do it. Since the chapters of the book are coming to a close, I asked them to write down 2-3 topics or issues they would like to have dealt in our group. One of them asked right there about evangelism and I told him that it is part of the book. It will be interesting to see what they come up with. It will be a window in their soul and thinking.

The publisher has allowed me to field test the book. The book is on the final phases of preparation before it goes to the printer. I think it will be completed within the month of March. February saw also the publication of the book on “Bible study methods”. EEM has been very helpful in this endeavor. We thank God for their partnership.

Advanced Bible Study Series
A ministry partner had recommended the ABSS in Germany and when I received their invitation, we didn’t think twice about going. The consideration was if we would fly or drive there and we opted for the second so we could stop and do some sightseeing as a family and visit with Dragica Jovanovic in Zagreb. I drove 4000 km from and two the location. It took us two overnights going up and three overnights coming down. The ABSS is held at the camp facility that is owned by the churches of Christ in Germany. The program has been going on from more than 30 years. Several speakers, taking the theme of lament from the Psalms, shared some personal battles they have faced while serving in the mission field. Max and Philippe Dauner (father and son from Marseille, France) presented lessons on how to read the gospels and bringing the OT into the study of NT (especially the gospels). Jerry and Lynn Jones presented material from their Marriage Matters seminar as well as Lay Counseling 101. Jerry also shared the synopsis of his upcoming book on “Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage”. Jon Galloway (East Kirkbride, Scotland) presented an introduction to the book of Revelation. It was clear from the interaction that the people present knew each other very well and participate regularly at this event. The fellowship was close and warm. One of the greatest encouragements was to see workers who have been on the mission field between 25 to 50+ years.

We got to visit the birthplace of Mozart in Salzburg, Austria. A friend had told us many years ago that Slovenia has a small town named Bled (which we could not miss visiting). We also visited Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital. One of the most important parts of the trip was to stop in Zagreb. We worshipped with the Kuslanova congregation where Mladen Jovanovic preached. We could see that he was deeply missed, but that the church continues forward despite his passing away. We wanted to visit and be of comfort to Dragica. It has been hard on her, and I guess it is always so when 50 years of your life ending abruptly. His death came as a shock to many. We were able to see how God had comforted her through friends and pray with her.

On a personal level
Things continue to go well for us. Bona’s pregnancy has been very smooth. She will be officially on maternity leave starting March 21st. The Albanian law allows you 35 days before the delivery and up to 11 months after the delivery of the child. However, it also has a way to discourage long maternity leaves by decreasing significantly the benefits after the sixth month. Starting April we will be on a state of red alarm J We have shortened the list of potential names, but have not decided on the name yet. Please keep all of us in your prayers.

We look forward to hear from you!

In His service,

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