Greetings from the Kona’s,
Praise the Lord! His mercy has been great and His arm mighty in the battle. The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Durres, Albania (temporary name) has finally started regular Sunday Morning Worship Services, the first on Reformation Sunday (81 days after our arrival in Albania).
How grateful we are for the chairs, pulpit, baptismal, communion table, and communion set that Woodruff Road PCA, our home church, has so graciously provided. The Session of WRPC further supported this opening by sending our Ruling Elder, Missions Committee member, and long time friend, Larry Oveson. Also, we continue to be blessed by having Martha McCarty in Albania, having helped us greatly with home and church preparations, especially after receiving our shipped boxes. Thank you!
Praise the Lord for such a sweet time of worship and fellowship on October 28, 2007 during the 10:00 am service in Durres, Albania! After such diligent preparations with various necessities in place, we were ready to welcome around 35 people who came to worship at this mission church, hoping to be registered soon as the “Reformed and Presbyterian Church, Durres”. There were about five children, seven or more over the age of 50, and the remainder over 25. We know of at least one unconverted Muslim man who attended initially in my honor, but afterwards spoke of his desire to come back on his own initiative.
The Lord blessed the preaching of His Word, the text taken from Matthew 16:13-19, “Christ and the Church that He Builds,” along with other elements of worship. The Hymn singing echoed beautifully even without the organ or piano being played to facilitate, and voices joined strongly during the responsive reading though the practice is rare. Jenny and Martha quickly distributed the juice and peanut butter blossoms (Albanian style) with the help of Redin’s mom and her friend, all making quite a few little friends as a result. Everyone seems to enjoy the fellowship and feedback was very positive, especially in regard to the richness and depth of biblical instruction from the sermon. Obviously, several elements are foreign to many Albanians but will hopefully be recognized as Biblical with more instruction. Please go to this link to enjoy several pictures of the building and preparations . . . as well as the church service.
Please remember our next Sunday’s worship in your church and family prayer time as I will begin an expository series on Isaiah 53. Also, we hope to establish a set schedule throughout the week in which I continue the weekly Bible study on The Attributes of God by A. W. Pink on Wednesday evenings, leaving Sunday evening for prayer and fellowship in our home. Various activities of the church are still being defined in this regard.
Here are several key prayer requests as we continue to establish this new church as well as pastoral ministry in Albania:
Preaching of the Gospel-boldness and clarity not only on the Lord’s Day but as well in all my interactions during the week.
Bible study and/or worship service attendees-that they may grow in their knowledge of Biblical truth and desire to continue as part of this church body
Conversion of our neighbors
Strengthening and growth of the core group
Protection from the schemes of the powers of darkness
Development of Christian education
Translation work of books as well as Hymns and Psalms
Financial support as we are down to about 60-70% (10% decrease due to conversion rates).
The Lord has provided so many blessings and provisions in our beginning, and we continue to seek Him in our needs:
Organist or pianist
Photocopy machine that would multiply Christian education materials and outreach literature (future translation work).
Thank you again for all your love, support, and faithful intercession in regards to the needs of Mission to Albania. How grateful we are for such sweet encouragement! Please know that you are in our thoughts, our prayers, and remain very dear to us as we miss you all.
In His Grip
Albert and Jennifer Kona