Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday February 5, 2009

It is my last day in Albania.  I am resting and getting packed.  We planned it that way.  The Albanian people are loving and kind.  I have been treated with such respect and i am so grateful to them all.  God was so evident in everything that we did together.  I am so grateful for this life changing experience.  I want to say thank you to World Vision for the opportunity as well.

I leave at 5am in the morning and will back in the states in the evening.  Thank you to everyone for your love and support, for your prayers and for yours constant help.  

The comment I want to leave with you is one that someone shared with us on the last day of training that penetrated my heart.  He said "I believe what you have done in training us with this mentoring skill will change Albania and its people."  Only God can do this.  

Thank You all so much.

Wednesday February 4, 2009

This is the last day of training here in Velore and for World Vision.  We spent most of the day doing role plays and helping them improve the skill of mentoring.  They did a wonderful job.  
The role plays were real life situations, so it was hard for some of them, but they learned a great deal.

We left and went back to the same italian restaurant to have lunch.  He made us what ever we wanted, the food was wonderful.  We had lunch with the primary mentors.  We made new friends with them both.  They will always be in our hearts.

Our driver arrived and we began the trip back to Tirana.  We want to thank Towland (i am sure that is not the correct spelling).  He was responsible for the 3 of us while in Velore.  He took good care of us and we found him to be such a sweet and kind man, so we say Thank You so Much.

Tuesday February 3, 2009

This second day we began the day having them share things with us from the day before.  We spent the day getting them ready to do as many role plays as we could.  Christy and I would speak and Evis would translate.  It worked so well.  Evis is quite ready to do this training.  She is amazing.  We could have never done any of this without her.

We went to lunch to a different place.  I can tell you that the wait staff in Albania treat you with such respect, it is wonderful.  

We then spent the last few hours before dinner with the 2 primary mentors continuing their additional training.  We then went out to do some shopping and then to get pizza.  We had a great time.

As we got back to the hotel, we realized that the electricity was out in the hotel and for most of the block because of the wind.  Well, when we got in the hotel, the desk had candles sitting lit for us to take to walk up the marble steps to our rooms.  Well, you can imagine, we had some fun with that.  Christy, Evis and I laughed and laughed and some day I will tell you a very funny story of what happened when the wind blew the candles out.   The electricity was out all night and in the morning, so no showers or curling of hair.  We just said, okay lets go.   By the way this happens alot in this country.  

Evis, Christy and I spent the rest of the evening in our room with the candles lit and made bookmarks sitting on the bed, talking and having a great time.

Monday February 2, 2009

We left Tirana at 7:00am and traveled 3 hours to Velore Albania to do the final training for World Vision.  This town is on the Adriatic Sea.  This is a town many come for vacation.  This training was for the Monitors who serve the families whose children are sponsored by people all over the world.  The monitors mostly live in the villages where the sponsored children live so many of them know them from the community as well.  What a incredible committed group of people.  Their work is hard because they see so many difficult situations in the families they serve.  
We met in a church for this training.  We spent the first day getting to know them and helping them learn about themselves.  This process is important so they can understand those they work with.  Some of the stories are hard to hear.  As we finished the first day, the pastor and his wife Darrell and Debbie came in to meet us.  They are Americans who are from Wooster Ohio.  Wonderful and great people.  

For lunch we went to this restaurant run by this very fun italian gentlemen.  He just says "what would you like, i will cook what you want".  The food was awesome.  And if you don't finish because you might be full, he almost offended, but fun as well.

After lunch we had met with the 2 primary mentors who were amazing young people.  We both fell in love with these two.  

In the evening we went to dinner with Darrell and Debbie and enjoyed getting to know them and how God brought them to Albania.  It was good to see how God is using them in the community of Velore.

Friday January 30, 2009

We had the opportunity to meet with World Vision Country Manager and the Christian Emphasis Manager to debrief our experience and training.   This meeting helped us understand better how World Vision has made a new commitment to Personal Development of the people they serve.   We discussed that the follow up for the training is key to moving the program forward.  World Vision Albania has made the commitment to do all they can to make this be all it was meant to be for them.  We received excellent evaluations from those that we trained.  Jason the Country Manager told us that he has already seen how the training has impacted some of the managers.  Yeah God!  

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday January 29, 2009

Christy and I went to the Stephens Center this morning to meet with some of the women we trained last July. We sat and just got caught up with a couple of them. It was so nice to see them again.

After that Evis, Christy and I spent an hour buying some gifts. It was fun.

We then left Tirana and went out to Bethora for a Farewell Celebration for Christy. Oh my goodness. The room was full with all of the women that Christy has ministered to the last year and a half. As soon as she entered the room, they all stood and applauded.

As always, Christy and I went around the room and greeted each women with the typical Albanian greeting; a kiss on each cheek. Immediately they began to shower her with words of gratitude. One women read a note of appreciation and of course Christy was quite moved. They than gave gifts to her and to me as well.
Christy spent some time telling them how much they have impacted her life and how they will always be with her. She finished by telling them how much she loves them and how much God loves them. Again, it was beautiful to watch and of course i was in tears as well. I was worried about her crying and I think i cried first. No surprise there for those of you that know me well.

Then the party began. They had tables full of food, everyone ate and then the dancing began. Oh my goodness, it was so much fun. Most of the time they had Christy out their dancing with them and i was filming the video. Then they got me out there and we had such a great time. They love our Christy so very much and each one of them wanted time with her. She of course was out there dancing and having a great time. A couple of young teen boys came in and did some break dancing. At the end of the dancing time, I told Christy lets do some swing dancing, she had never done that, so we did it and the women loved it. We got a standing ovation. We got pictures.

You cannot be part of an experience like that and not be changed. It is clear that Christy has made an impact on their hearts. She is amazing.

Wednesday January 28, 2009

Our last day of training the managers for World Vision. We got started in role plays right away. We wanted them to have as much time as possible to practice. We discovered they were really good at this as well as the first group. It was great fun for us to work with people that were so willing to learn and grow.

It is clear that they will use these skills as soon as they can. We had some people report that they already used the Active Listening skill with their friends and they loved it.

We learned an African Acknowledgement of Appreciation (i cannot tell you the real name), so you will see a picture posted that shows them teaching us. It was funny.

We are so grateful to World Vision for this opportunity. Christy and I both have met some incredible people. At the end of this training, they presented us with a lead crystal paperweight as a gift from both groups. It is beautiful.

We of course want to thank them as well for they were all so engaging and treated us with such love and respect. To you all we say THANKS!