New Work Begins in Lushnja
On Sunday morning, July 14, the Church of Christ met in Lushnja for the
first time in centuries. Twenty four people assembled for worship: five
Americans, five Albanians from Tirana, one from Kosova, and thirteen from
Lushnjaincluding Anila Gjyla, a WEI student who was baptized about a year
ago. Bill Morgan preached, Artan Xhaferi interpreted, and Erik Qirjaqi
waited on the Lord's Table.
The next morning, the new WEI teaching facility in Lushnja opened its doors
to students. A team of four Americans (Bill Morgan, Clayton Ogier, Bob
Threlkeld, and Bob's daughter, Robbie) and three Albanian girls (Albana,
Annie, and Kela) began teaching thirty or so students in a summer campaign.
About four weeks later, Tom Bonner arrived, ready to work as a long term
missionary, and the campaign ended with a party. Seventy people attended
Seventy People Welcome Tom Bonner
Bill Morgan served as Master of Ceremonies. Many of the
students who received their diplomas that afternoon had brought their
parents, brothers, and sisters. Bill introduced Tom Bonner as the man who
would live and work among them, and Tom received a warm welcome.
Bill Morgan (far left), Tom Bonner (kneeling) & Teachers
Kela Sofa, a young Christian from Tirana, will serve as
Tom's secretary and translator for the next six months. (In the picture
above, Kela is standing in the back row on the left.)
Please pray for Tom as he builds a strong church in Lushnja and as he
directs the WEI teaching program in that city of 80,000 people.
Church Celebrates 10th
On July 2729, the church in Tirana celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Actually, the church was established in Albania by the apostle Paul in the
first century (Romans 15:19). Illyricum (Albania) was a stronghold of
Christianity for hundreds of years. At the amphitheatre in Durrės,
Diocletian fed Christians to the lions. Later, the Turks occupied Albania
for five centuries, and most Albanians converted to Islam.
On August 2, 1992, however, three Albanians were baptized in the lake behind
the university. On that day, Artur Kuēi, Eno Damo, and Klodiana Papakristo
were born again of water and the Spirit. In August and September of 1992,
fifty eight people were baptized INTO CHRIST.
During the past ten years, God has blessed the church in Albania with
healthy growth. More than 1,000 people have come into the kingdom, and
churches have been established in twelve Albanian cities: Berat, Durrės,
Elbasan, Fier, Korēė, Llogora, Lushnja, Kuēova, Reps, Rrėshen, Tirana, and
Vlorė. A church has also been planted in Prizren, Kosova
More Than 250 People Assemble on July 29
The celebration in Tirana lasted three days. It started on
Saturday, July 27, when the church went to the Adriatic Sea for an all day
On Sunday morning, July 28, more than 250 people assembled for worship at
the Tirana Palace of Arts. That evening, church leaders took us down memory
lane by showing pictures that had been taken through the years.
The celebration reached a climax on Monday evening, July 29, when young
people of the Tirana church presented a powerful drama titled "Drifting
Away." The play, written by Brian Simmons, was translated into Albanian by
Flori Polo and directed by Ellen Walker. When the "last curtain fell," the
audience of 300 people expressed their feelings with a standing ovationwith
whistles, hoots, tears, and cheers.
Performing for the Lord at the Palace of Arts
New Work Begins in
In 1997, Jim Hutson agreed to teach one WEI correspondence student. That
student's name was "Bledar (Bledi) Valca." Bledi was an eager student and,
in early 1998, he was baptized into Christ.
From the day of his baptism, Bledi has been on fire with evangelistic zeal.
He has taught and baptized about ten people in the village of Reps, and the
church in Reps now worships in its own building.
For more than a year now, Bledi has felt called to establish a congregation
in Rrėshenthe main city in the Reps district. Now, Bledi's vision has
become a reality.
On Sunday morning, August 4, I had the privilege of speaking at the first
worship service in Rrėshen. The next morning, Bledi Valca and Sokol Thanati
began teaching twenty seven WEI students every day.
Bledi Valca Speaks in Rrėshen
YOU Can Do It!
Are you one of those people who would like to go on a mission trip but are
afraid? If so, read the following words from the missionaries in Durrės.
"English. English. English. So many people here want to learn English. So we
advertise that we teach a free English course using the Bible. Their desire
to know English opens a great door for the Gospel.
"Potential summer campaigners often email and express concern about teaching
an English course. We tell them, 'Don't worry about the English.'
The WEI English lessons are well written and actually teach themselves. The
students do the English lesson at home. All we do is check their answers
when they come to class, and we even have a grading sheet.
"The WEI Bible course teaches itself as well. All religion was illegal for
40 years, so there is very little Bible knowledge. A new student just began
yesterday. She is 53, a middle school teacher, and a French language
teacher. She had never ever read one sentence from the Bible before that
"Even if students do not develop an interest in Christianity, they still
learn about the Bible, and they get a very good English course.
Eric Winebarger, 16, teaches classes. Benjamin Smith is 15, and he teaches
classes. Patrick Smith II is 12, and he teaches a 12yearold Albanian boy.
You can teach too!" As a result of the Durrės campaign, two people were
baptized into Christ this summer.
Anxhela Sula & Tina at Anxhela's Baptism
Our granddaughter, Tina Henry, went to Albania this summer
feeling very inadequate. She was afraid she wouldn't know what to say to her
students. She prayed for direction, and the Lord answered her prayers.
During the six weeks she was there, three of her students were baptized into
Doug Smith Moves to Fier
Doug Smith is back in Albania, after working in Prizren, Kosova for nearly
Working in conjunction with Virgil and Jackie Jackson, Doug has opened a WEI
office in Fier, right across the street from the Socialist Party
Headquarters. Doug is also teaching classes twice a week in the village of
Zharres, home of the five young men who were baptized at Camp Llogora this
Doug is paving the way for Brent Parr, a young man from Oklahoma who is
scheduled to move to Fier this month to serve as a missionary for two years
Six Summer Campaigns
Even though there was a shortage of teachers this summer, WEI campaigns were
conducted in six Albanian towns and cities: Durrės, Elbasan, Lushnja,
Orikum, Tirana, and Vlorė.
Suzanne Campbell writes, "This year, WEI campaigns are going on in many
places besides Tirana. Campaigners are also working hard in Durrės, Lushnja,
Vlorė, and other locations.
"The effectiveness of WEI is proven, and we are delighted to see the
campaign approach branch out. May we all continue to encourage these sources
of growth. The young seedlings need much care and protection as they begin
to take root!"
Amen, Suzanne. As a result of these campaigns, twenty six people were
baptized into Christ.
Twelve Baptisms in Tirana
Ellen Walker reports that Arber Haxhia was baptized into Christ July 10 and
joined his two sisters, Anisa and Linda, in the Lord. Klodeta Ballabani,
Ervin's sister, studied with Tina Henry this summer and was baptized into
Christ on July 14. "Besmir Brahaj, studied with our brother Pėrperim Kalemi
and decided to live for Christ. Besmir dreams of being a preacher!
"Donald Grabovari, Oli's brother, has a wonderful evangelistic spirit. He
has brought several of his friends from school to study. This summer his
friend, Anola Braēe [Dick Ady's student] was baptized for the forgiveness of
"We met Linda Metan through our landlord, who used her as a translator in
the beginning. Emily Pownall began studying with Linda last year; and when
Emily went home, Linda continued her lessons with me. We have become good
friends. Linda told me several months ago that she was waiting for a warm
day to be baptized. Monday afternoon, August 5, Linda called me and said,
"In addition to those mentioned above, Enkelejda Coha, Anika Kalemi, Admira
Poēi, Anxhela Sula, and Adriana Sinani were added to the Lord's Kingdom. We
rejoice with the angels of heaven in the new births of these new brothers
Rosalie Waymire has written twice in the past week to say that one of her
students, Yemtioma, and Bledi's sister, Jonida had been baptized into
The Word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword.
It does not return to him empty, but it accomplishes what he sends it to
Two Are Baptized in Elbasan
Pete Hodge says that "on the 6th of July, we were thrilled to see the
immersion into Christ of two young people. One was Erinda Islami, the
daughter of our brother and sister Remzi and Mereme. Also one of Dulcie's
WEI students, Aferdita Bardufi, was added to the body of Christ. Please keep
these two young ladies in your prayers as they begin their Christian life."
Three Are Baptized in Vlorė
Virgil Jackson says, "Three years ago, we were introduced to Lindita Binaj
and her family. Lindita and her son, Lejdi, began attending worship and
classes. A few weeks ago, we met with Lindita and Lejdi for a series of
intensive studies. This month, our brother Lutfi baptized both the mother
and her teenage son.
"For several years, Artur has met each day for coffee with a young friend,
Admir Sorra. Admir was chosen to act in a film produced when he was 12 years
old. The film is still played on national TV, and everyone in Albania knows
him by his film name.
"Last year, Artur brought Admir with him to a private Bible study. Admir
said he felt it was time he learned the truth about God! Recently, a way was
found for him to leave the country. But, before he left, he said he wanted
to become a Christian. A small group gathered in our classroom, and Artur
baptized his gentle young friend.
"One of our evening Bible studies is in the home of Stoli Dėraj. She and her
older daughter have been members for three years. Her 16 yearold son,
Florian, has attended Sunday morning classes and is present in the family
study. Florian's parents have been eager to see him baptized, but we were
waiting for a bit more maturity. After some special sessions with Florian,
we gathered to witness his baptism, administered by his relative Agron."
Thanks, Dear Friends.
The downturn in the economy has affected everyone, including WEI. As you saw
in our last newsletter, we were $2,685.14 in the red at the end of June. But
you responded with generous onetime gifts and put us back in the black.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
We are realistic enough to know that this financial reprieve is only
temporary and that we must raise more funds to stay afloat.
We need churches to put WEI into their budgets. We also need to find some
individuals who can make large regular contributions.
God knows where the funds are, and he will provide them if we are faithful.
Nevertheless, he expects me to do my part in making the need known to
generous hearted brothers and sisters in Christ.
If you know of someone who has been blessed financially and who is looking
for a good place to invest in eternity, please put in a good word for WEI.
We need your help.
If you are a church leader, please propose to the
budget committee that you include WEI in your church budget in 2003.
This work is eternally important, and we simply must not let it sink into
You are our partners in the cause of Christ. And we love you.
Dick & Maudine Ad