News update: March 2021

Finally in Albania

After all the planning and prayer, we finally came across the border from Kosovo into Albania two months ago. Many of you know about the distress, illness and difficulties we have had just to get here. Your prayers and petitions to the Lord are close to our hearts. Be assured that you did not merely pray into thin air, God hears us when we pray according to His will.

We have also now finally moved to Durrës after two months in Tirana. Things are still a bit disorganized at our new home as we work to turn it into ‘our’ home where routine, normalcy and stability can become something familiar again. Frequently moving across continents with two children is by no account normal. We look forward to becoming efficient in the simple things again so that we can shift our focus to serving others instead of only our circumstances.

One thing that has been a great blessing to us is the fellowship we’ve already enjoyed with our church, even within such a short time. The teens and students are especially eager for conversation and helping us so that getting to know everyone has been easy and very pleasant. The return of Albert and Jenny Kona with their kids from South Carolina two weeks ago has also been a great blessing. We really enjoy their friendship.

Our ministry

It would be foolish to try writing anything to you about our last two months in Albania, about the culture, our engagement with people or our ministry. What we cautiously dare mention is that we have come to a part of the world that has shunned the true God perhaps more explicitly than where you and I may have grown up in. And this has had consequences. In Albania, Islamic and Marxist categories of thought have had its effect on how people deal with one another, how people view themselves and others and how they treat God’s creation. Yet, these same people also are still each individually and as part of the collective the image of God.[1] Subsequently the ‘traces of God’ (vestigia Dei) in them is undeniably real, and to be recognized and celebrated.

Our experience of Albania has thus so far and will always be twofold (curse/grace) and this is what we want to reflect in our news updates also.

To illustrate, it has been hard for us to get used to the endless sight of rubble and trash in our neighborhood, along the highway and on all the riverbanks. We are also upset at the huge disparity between rich and poor, especially since the absence of a middle class in Albania exposes its underlying injustices so well. Without a middle class to drive the economy, materialism in its raw, unsophisticated and ugly expressions has eroded any natural sense of hopefulness out of most people we’ve met.

On the other hand, we are very happy to find friendliness and helpfulness from people wherever we’ve been. Even the police at the immigration office seemed sympathetic and even appreciative that we would come to do something positive for Albania. People are generally respectful and kind.


Free range chicken

Thanksgiving

Here are some things to thank the Lord for:

  1. So many of you have prayed for us during our wrestling with kidney stones, food poisoning and COVID all within the first five weeks. Rejoice with us that God has delivered us from all that. Mauritz’ kidney laboratory values have all returned to normal and we are all full of energy again.
  2. When we left the US, Euodia had received three months’ supply for all her medicines. We are grateful that this was not a concern over the last few weeks. We have begun engaging the healthcare system and hope to get her medication supply set up soon.
  3. We are excited about our home in Durrës since it is not far from where the church is and also since the children will have some room outside to play. We look forward to having people over often.

Supplication

As you present our needs before the Lord, please also pray for the following:

  1. Please pray for our immediate relationships around our home – with our landlady and other neighbors, with the butcher, the baker and the barber etc.
  2. Culture shock teaches us that people are as bad as they can be, that they are opportunists, out to extort you and not worthy of love, attention or even kindness. Scripture teaches otherwise. Please pray that we will stand on the truth of Scripture if and when culture shock begins to make its appeal on our hearts and minds.
  3. Please pray for us to think responsibly as we seek to raise Nadya and Yehoshua. We are particularly concerned about how to school them, friendships and the dynamics of language and culture. Please pray for wisdom, and trust in God for their futures.
  4. Please pray for Euodia’s medication. As many of you know, she suffers from Sheehan syndrome and growth hormone is essential in her case. Please especially pray for the availability of hydrocortisone and growth hormone at a pharmacy easily accessible to us. This is a very explicit prayer request, but quite critical in our case.
  5. Please pray for Mauritz as he needs to juggle language learning, ordination exams, Martin Bucer and our ministry in Durrës

Together in Christ,

Mauritz, Euodia, Nadya and Yehoshua.       



Published by Mauritz Bezuidenhoudt

Pilgrim

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