The Church of God Great Lakes Region has adopted “The Cry of Albania” as their World Missions challenge for 2010. “With God’s help and the cooperation of God’s people, we can make this visionary outreach to win souls among the God-hungry people of Albania an overwhelming success,” says Darrell Rice, overseer of the Great Lakes Region.
The Cry of Albania
One of the poorest countries in Europe, Albania was declared in 1967 as “the world’s first atheistic state.” Although a ban on religion was lifted with the fall of Communism in 1990, no legal provision for religious freedom was made until 1998. Over 70 percent of the population identifies as Muslim, although religion of any kind is still uncommon.
Albanians are divided into two major groups: the Gheg, which has been identified as an Unreached People Group, and the Tosk, according to the dialect they speak. The Albanian church works largely among the Gheg.
Over 25 percent of Albanians live under the poverty line, and the country has many issues that range from high unemployment to corruption, a dilapidated physical infrastructure and a powerful organized crime network.
The Church of God in Albania
The Church of God was established in Albania in 1992, and has since grown to nine churches, three missions, six ministers and 583 members. The churches meet in Kalae Dodos, Tirana, Vora and Bulquiz, with social ministry taking place in mountainous towns that are difficult to access.
Albanian native Hervin Fushekati serves as overseer, and is known as a dedicated and dynamic minister. He is a graduate of the European Theological Seminary, and has recruited a group of young ministers who seek to bring light to a land that has turned away from religion.
Property in Marikaj
The Albanian Church of God has recently acquired church property in Marikaj, a town located 15 minutes from the two largest cities and economic centers in Albania. The acreage features a 2,700 square foot building set in the center of the land and surrounded by vines and fruit trees.
The property costs $130,000, and apart from local church use, it will be developed into a retreat and education center, as well as a small conference center for the Church of God in the area. It will also be an excellent place for youth and children’s recreation and camps.
Remodeling is needed inside the building, which features two apartments and a meeting hall which can seat 300 people. There are plans to renovate the roof, and for possible future expansion.
The Great Lakes Region has adopted “The Cry of Albania” as their World Missions challenge for 2010. “With God’s help and the cooperation of God’s people, we can make this visionary outreach to win souls among the God-hungry people of Albania an overwhelming success,” says Darrell Rice, overseer of the Great Lakes Region.
Churches of the Great Lakes Region have been asked to consider their finances and ask God how He can help them give in support of this mission vision, as well as lift up a prayer for the people of Albania.
During the month of May, the Great Lakes Region will dedicate their offerings to the work of God in Albania and bring it to the missions service on June 25 at Camp Meeting.
M. Darrell Rice
Overseer – Great Lakes Region
© 2010 Church of God World Missions