Previous Update Issue

Number 82

February/March 2002

Dick Ady, Editor
WELCOME!  You may use the following buttons to quickly review the February/March 2002 issue.
New Work in Lushnja A Building At Last Seven Students WEI to Romania
Two New Christians in Vlorė Tirana Church to Celebrate 10th  Anniversary Correspondence Teachers Needed Invest in Eternity

New Work in Lushnja
Can you see the hand of God in the following developments?

For more than a year, the leaders of the church in Tirana, Albania have been talking about starting a new church in Lushnja (pronounced "Loosh' nya"), a city of 70,000 people located approximately 50 miles southwest of Tirana. Several WEI students in the Lushnja area have been baptized into Christ, but they have had no local congregation with which to worship, study, and grow.

Image 1 in Lushnja sm.jpg (33694 bytes)

About a year ago, Tom Bonner (part-time Singles Minister at the Metro congregation in Gresham, Oregon) felt a tug on his heart -- as though God were calling him to Albania. He couldn't get Albania out of his mind. He studied the map again and again and felt drawn to the city of Lushnja.

While Tom was experiencing this internal tug, the Lord was also working on some people in Albania. In early July 2001, Bill Morgan (director of the WEI campaign in Tirana), Dr. Bob Threlkeld, and Jim Fox made a trip to Berat (in central Albania) to visit WEI students. On their way back to Tirana, they drove through Lushnja. As they passed through town, Bob felt an overwhelming burden and started praying for the people there.

Later, in Tirana, Bob told us about his spiritual experience and urged us to join him in prayer. Every morning during our devotionals, the campaigners prayed for Lushnja. Every Sunday and Wednesday, the Albanian Christians prayed for Lushnja. We sensed that the Spirit of God was moving among us and stirring us to action.

On Saturday, July 28, 2001, twenty-four Albanians and six Americans made a trip to Lushnja. These 30 participants broke up into small groups and walked through the city. As they walked, they prayed for the people, posted advertisements in store windows, and talked to people about studying English and the Bible by correspondence. The residents of Lushnja were very receptive.

Bonner, Tsm.jpg (9287 bytes)

Tom Bonner

In January 2002, Tom Bonner asked the Metro elders to pray for him, asking God to show him whether or not he should move to Albania. He even went forward during the invitation one Sunday morning and asked for the prayers of the entire church.

On March 16, 2002, Tom went with me to Albania to "spy out the land." He attended the third annual church leaders/missionary conference in Tirana and met missionaries and Albanian church leaders from various parts of Albania and Kosova.

Following the conference, Artan Xhaferi took Tom and two other men to Lushnja to look at apartments and to check out empty stores. They found the perfect store on a main street that was available for $350 a month. The store was beautifully tiled inside and had large plate glass windows across the front and on one side. It also had pulldown metal window covers. Tom came back to Tirana full of excitement.

On March 23, Tom went back to Lushnja with a group of Americans and Albanians. As they walked through the streets, they talked to people about our plans to open a new WEI teaching center in Lushnja. The people responded with enthusiasm.

The next week, Erik Qirjaqi and Artan Xhaferi went to Lushnja, rented the store, ordered furniture, and made arrangements to put up a WEI sign. Artan and Erik plan to spend one or two days a week in Lushnja teaching WEI students. The men in Tirana plan to take turns preaching in Lushnja on Sunday.

Upon returning to the States, Tom told his four grown children about his trip to Albania. All of them encouraged him to go back as a missionary. Tom decided that God had answered his prayers, so he resigned his job at the credit union and started looking for a sponsoring church. At the time of this writing, Tom is in Abilene, Texas attending ACU's missions training program. What a leap of faith!
This July, Bill Morgan is scheduled to lead a summer campaign in Lushnja. One of the teachers will be Dr. Bob Threlkeld, the man who started the avalanche of prayer last July. Two young Albanian preachers-in-training will work with the Americans in an effort to establish a church in Lushnja by the time Tom Bonner arrives in early August.

Please spread the word about this new church planting, and help Tom raise the support and working funds he needs to build a good church in Lushnja. If you know of a church that would like to help send this good man to the mission field, please let us hear from you. The opportunity is great, and the need is now!

A Building-At Last!
Those of you who have contributed to the Tirana building fund will be glad to know that God has finally answered our prayers. Actually, God's timing is perfect.

During the past ten years, the church in Tirana has moved seven times, and we have lost members with every move. In 1997, the church rented the Historical Museum auditorium, in the heart of the city.
The problem is, Albanian law prohibits the use of government property for religious purposes, and the Historical Museum is government property. We have known for four years that we were living on borrowed time, and we have tried desperately to locate a piece of property on which to erect our own multipurpose building.

In early March this year, the ax finally fell. The church received notice that it was being evicted as of March 31.

Amazingly, on March 28, one minute before I had to leave for the airport, and three days before the church was to meet in the Historical Museum for the last time, I signed documents that gave us ownership of the building we have been renting for three years. Now, the church has a place to meet for worship, fellowship, and Bible study. Now, there is plenty of space for missionaries to teach their students, for summer campaigns, and for a Nations University leadership training program.

The WEI/NationsUniversity/Church Building

God has provided the makings of a wonderful facility located in the heart of the city, approximately one block north of the Historical Museum.

Unfortunately, the rooms in the building are relatively small. The largest room seats approximately 75 people, and the average Sunday morning attendance is 150. In order to seat everybody, the tables and divider walls have to be removed from the WEI teaching area in order to make room for chairs. Ellen Walker says in her April newsletter, "It isn't a perfect situation as we can't see half the congregation, but we can't be turned out. It's home."

As you can see in the picture, our two-story building is rather crude. Both floors need to be remodeled. When completed, these two floors will contain classrooms, library, offices, fellowship hall, and two small apartments for visiting professors. A third floor will be added with an auditorium that will seat 400 to 500 people. Erik Qirjaqi, Director of WEI in Tirana and a construction engineer, will supervise the building project.

Thanks to fundraising efforts and gifts from generous individuals, we were able to pay cash for the property. In order to complete the construction project, however, and furnish the building with computers, library books, desks, tables, and chairs, we need to raise another $150,000.

Once this building is finished, it will house a growing church, a year-around missionary program, summer campaigns, and a branch of NationsUniversity designed to train evangelists who will spread the Good News about Christ to every city, town, and village in Albania and Kosova.
Wouldn't you like to have a part in this exciting evangelistic project? Please support us with your prayers and, if you are able, with a generous contribution. I am praying that God will raise up 150 people who will give $1,000 each.

Arjan Hyka Brings Seven Students
Arjan Hyka is a waiter at the London Restaurant where the Tirana missionaries and campaigners eat lunch together each day during the summer. He is also our brother-in-Christ.

After studying with Ellen Walker for several months, Arjan was baptized into Christ on July 9, 2001. It was a day I will never forget. Arjan's wife, Aida, and their daughter, Kamila, were there for the baptism even though Aida was a Muslim who vowed she would never change her religion.

Since that day, Aida has been attending church services with Arjan and has been reading Bible stories to Kamila. Her exposure to the Word of God has changed her heart. Now, Aida is one of Ellen's students.

thehykafamilysm.jpg (15948 bytes)

Arjan, Kamila, and Aida Hyka

Listen to what Ellen has to say about Arjan in her April newsletter: "Arjan Hyka may have shined more brightly than anyone else this month as he brought his wife, Aida, and his good friend, Erion, and the daughter of a colleague to study with me. Also, he brought his boss, Ylli, and his wife Merita to study with Rosalie. The connection with Ylli and Merita led to Merita's cousin and her husband coming to study with Rosalie as well. That's seven contacts through one person [Arjan] this month.

WEI Team Goes to Romania
We received the following report from Will Odom, preacher at Normangee, Texas and a WEI teacher by e-mail:

"We made another trip to Cluj-Napoca, Romania, from April 12 until May 10. It was an exciting time with 327 total Bible studies. Going with me were four other workers: Elvis and Kay Istre of Abilene; Norma Guinn of Livingston, and Yvonne Davis from Little Rock, AR.

"All five of us taught from the WEI booklets with 64 students. Many of these students came two or three times a week. Two of the teachers had students who were willing to be taught every day.

"Although there were no baptisms while we were in Cluj, many seeds were planted, and God will give the increase at His appointed time.

"It is amazing to watch these students (whose ages vary from 18-65) become so interested in the Bible stories. In the beginning, they are only interested in improving their English. Then, they are hooked on the joy of knowing the Bible. Many begin to see very clearly that their infant baptism did not save their soul. However, they are slow to change from their old religion. Parental influence and objections play a big part in their hesitation to become a true Christian.

"It was a great joy to serve the Master by teaching His message. The WEI material is perfect for one-on-one studies as well as e-mail use. Find a non-Christian in your neighborhood and try using the WEI material with them."


Two New Christians in Vlorė
The following report from Virgil Jackson in Vlorė Albania reminds us that God works in surprising ways.

"Seed planted unknowingly has produced fruit almost two years later. While working on the Ladies' Day conference in 2000, Jackie invited Viola, and she came, along with her fellow schoolteacher, 28-year-old Aida Rushiti.

"Not until last fall were we able to begin a Bible study with Viola, Aida and another young schoolteacher. Soon, two of them became regular visitors at church. Last month, Viola and Aida announced their decision to become Christians.

"As we were discussing the development of their faith, I was surprised by Aida's revelation that she had been reading the Bible for three years. But she had been confused until she attended the Ladies' Day. 'That day,' she said, 'I knew I had found the truth.'

"These ladies are of the generation that received intense Communist, atheistic training. They have come through a lot in their honest search for truth."

Tirana Church to Celebrate 10th Anniversary

On August 2, 1992, the first three Albanians in modern times were baptized into Christ: Klodiana Papakristo, Artur Kuēi, and Eno Damo. Since that historic day, the church has flourished in Tirana and other parts of the country. During these ten years, God has blessed us with a harvest of more than 1,000 souls in Albania and Kosova.

In her April newsletter, Ellen Walker writes: "Plans are being made for the celebration activities. These activities will stretch across four days, July 28-30. We are excited, and we invite any of you who have taken part in the development of this congregation to join us in the celebration."

Correspondence Teachers Needed
Hundreds of soul-hungry people in various countries have enrolled in WEI and are waiting for someone to teach them. Some have been waiting for months, but we don't have enough teachers to meet the demand.

Think of the opportunity that God has tossed into our laps. People are standing in line, so to speak, waiting to study God's Word with us through the mail. By investing a few hours and a few dollars (for materials and postage), you could save a soul that is worth more than all the treasures on earth.

God is calling you. Answer, "Yes, Lord. I can do that." We will send you the name of some students who will bless your life.

Invest in Eternity
God is using WEI as an evangelistic tool in 149 countries, and by the grace of God, our ministry keeps growing. Hundreds of thousands of lives are being impacted by the Gospel through WEI. But, we are facing a challenge.

In our financial statements, you will see that our expenses are running $2,000 to $3,000 a month more than our income. We simply must turn things around in order to keep this work going.

If you are already partnering with us financially, please accept our sincere thanks.
If not, please join hands and hearts with us in this mission work, and encourage your church leaders to put WEI in the budget.

May God bless our combined efforts to reach the whole world for Christ in our generation!

With much love and appreciation,
Dick & Maudine Ady