In 2018, when Euodia and I felt moved to pursue fulltime ministry, little did we know what would now lie ahead of us. You may recall that it was end of August that year when we said our goodbyes to Switzerland and Basel and Europe, not knowing where exactly the Lord would lead us once I complete my Master of Divinity degree.
Well, as I am about to finish that degree in June and stand on the shore of another leg of our sojourn after our Lord, we are deeply convinced that the Lord is leading us to Albania.
Brief background and reasons for Albania
For several years now, Euodia and I have identified the key things we think are closest to the gifts Christ is developing in us through His Spirit. The first of those identifiers is that we want to be in a place where we can serve the Lord through shepherding and discipling a young church that would truly need help.
The second thing is that since we visited Nepal in 2008, a country with no evangelical infrastructure, yet with the church in great theological need, we’ve had the strong desire to be in an environment where I could support pastors in such environments – teaching and guiding them in the Word as they shepherd their flock. And thirdly, it is for me specifically a desire to engage apologetically and evangelistically with people from the Muslim community, without it siphoning away too much of my primary devotion to the church and its leaders.
When we thus became aware of a Reformed church plant in Durrës, Albania, we felt that this church is perhaps the place where God is calling us to. The evangelical church in Albania is very small, poor, young and in great need of help on its way to mature as the body of Christ in Albania. On the other hand, most Albanians are nominally Muslim, very much like in Turkey.
The pastor, Albert Kona of this church plant of ~30 members is Albanian and had studied at a reformed seminary in the US. I say this because I will be called to serve alongside Albert as his associate. Albert himself, along with his wife and children are supported financially from churches in the US and just like him, Euodia and I would have to raise our own support as missionaries. Albert’s vision is to establish churches with reformed theological depth in Albania. Our own vision thus overlaps significantly with theirs.
Martin Bucer Seminary, Tirana
In parallel to this, an opportunity has arisen for me to be involved with Martin Bucer Seminary (MBS) in Tirana, the capital of Albania and 25 km from Durrës. The campus in Albania needs someone to act as the local academic and student dean, i.e., to teach, provide theological consultation, support the students and liaise with MBS in Germany. While MBS in Albania is a small campus, it is in a position to fulfil a critical role in providing a much-need solid foundation for Albanian pastors to equip themselves in the Word.
From our point of view, this role wonderfully overlaps with what Euodia and I believe to be our calling. The vision is that I would support the seminary with 60% of my time and the rest along with Albert in support of the church.
It is clear to both Albert and me that the existence of this campus MBS in Albania provides significant opportunity for the Gospel. MBS does not only provide theological training for local pastors studying there but is also the only serious Evangelical body to engage on a theological level with other communities like for instance the Orthodox church in Albania and the Muslim community.
It is for these and many other reasons reason that we as a family feel confident and fervent in our pursuit to serve God’s Kingdom in these ways in Albania.
If you have a desire to see the Gospel of Christ reaching people in Albania, will you prayerfully consider supporting our call to Albania. All our resources and efforts over the past 12 years, especially the last two have been geared to prepare us for serving the Lord fulltime, but we recognize that there is no doing it alone in Albania for us.
One thing that the Lord had taught us over the years is that when we engage the world without prayer, we only walk into frustration, confusion, exhaustion and even defeat. God had designed the Gospel of His Kingdom to breach the gates of hell, NOT without prayer. Will you kindly consider supporting us in prayer for this work?
Furthermore, while life in Albania is relatively cheap, the reality is that unless we are sent financially along with prayer, we will NOT end up in Albania. We need partners in the Kingdom for this. This partnership, we do not seek in shame, but in full confidence that God builds His Kingdom through His people. As of June 2020, we stand at 20% of the $4000 p.m. we need to live in Albania. While big sums of money seem grand, all the missionaries we meet tell us it is the small amounts that matter more. Will you also kindly consider supporting us financially for this work?
Finally, we deeply value your response, even if you are unable to support us. It is a great encouragement to us, knowing that you will read, know, share and even give feedback on our efforts.
There is so much more that we could write to you about our mission and even our lives and will do so in the coming months. Still, I hope this letter provides you with sufficient insights as we ask you to consider prayerfully whether the Lord leads you to support his church in this specific way.
With warm regards and longing in Christ,
Mauritz, Euodia, Nadya and Yehoshua.