April 1, 2020
  • 9:59 am Persamaan Islam, Yahudi, dan Kristen
  • 9:58 am Faith Training | Jesus Is Healer | Episode 40 | Christian Bible Study Devotional Video
  • 9:58 am Being a people of faith
  • 8:59 am Faith & Co. | Could You Tell Your Children? (Don Flow)
  • 8:58 am Hope Faith Ministries helping homeless during pandemic

For 45 years the country of Albania existed
under the iron shadow of communism. It was a particularly vitriolic type of communism
that banished all forms of religion totally from society, except for the religion of atheism.
Today the new, young, fledgling Seventh-day Adventist church is growing despite many challenges. That and much more coming up on today’s program. Hello and welcome to Mission 360Ëš coming
to you today from the bright afternoon sun in Tirana, the capital city of Albania. We’ll be focusing on mission here in Albania on today’s program. It’s a very young fledgling church that only
began in the early 1990s after the fall of communism. We’ll be talking to the mission president
– a missionary from the country in El Salvador. We’ll also be talking to one of just two ordained
Albanian Seventh-day Adventist pastors working in this country. We’ll also be traveling to the country of Belize. But first up, lets meet three global mission pioneers working in South Africa. Three pioneers, one common job! Gift, Steward
and Moeketsi are an energetic Global Mission pioneer team with a mission to reach the city
of Pretoria, South Africa. These men understand the local context; they speak different African
languages, and they are ready to creatively face the mission challenge. Daily they look for an opportunity to relate
to people. Some they encounter door-to-door. Others they are only able to talk to during
a work-break at the gas station. Pollen works here, for a few weeks he has been actively learning the Bible with the three pioneers. One of the many important life lessons Pollen
has learned, is to share the knowledge of Jesus with friends. And before long he invited
Maria, a co-worker to study with him. Now, they are both waiting to finish their last
lesson before baptism. In Pretoria there are many train preachers.
It’s a common sight while traveling by train. Pioneer Steward frequently travels by train
and one day he decided to address the many misconceptions presented as he rode the train.
But instead of confronting train preachers, he chose another wagon where he speaks directly
from the Bible on a daily basis. He always prays with the fellow riders and has found
encouragement through the growth he has seen on regular commuters in his ‘church wagon.’ And so far I have discovered that many
people have benefited from these presentations because right now they are able to identify
who is saying the truth and who is saying false doctrine. Because people are beginning
to even follow me wherever they see me getting into a coach. People are now knowing me and
they follow me. Some audience they follow because they want to learn more about what
I am presenting. As the three pioneers dodge traffic, navigate
crowds and climb endless sets of stairs in the city’s towering apartment buildings.
They know God is working with them to find hearts hungry for truth and hope. One day the three pioneers met an interesting
woman. As usual they spoke kindly with her and gave her a study guide. I introduced the lessons and she showed
interest in these lessons. And in two days after I left there, she called me because
I supplied my contact number on the lessons. She said come I am done with your lessons. You
know, I went back there thinking that in two days? I know people can take a month, some
weeks to complete them. But in two days she was done. I went there and took the lessons
and I marked them. You know when I was marking them I could see that really she read them. The pioneer team was surprised to see that
this woman had been up all night studying all of the lessons. She couldn’t put
them down. Although tired she still had many questions about the Bible, God, salvation
and prophecy. So Gift, Steward and Moeketsi continued to visit her house and strengthen
her faith. It was clear that the Holy Spirit was moving her heart and mind towards God. The spirit of the Lord is always working
in people’s lives. We had people who are willing to come to
the church. Some have already decided that they are coming to church. In fact, during the past 2 years the pioneers
have studied the Bible with some 1,500 people and baptized more than 200 of them. Through
this they started two new branch churches and they are encouraged to continue reaching
many more for the kingdom of God. Thank you for your prayers and financial support
of Global Mission pioneers across the world. They are making a difference in reaching the cities! I’m talking with pastor Leo Espana and we
are in Albania where pastor Leo, you are serving as the president of the mission plus you are also pastoring a church in this city. How many years have you been pastoring a church here? I came here in 2008, end of 2008 and since
then I’ve been pastoring here in the church of DurrĂŤs. How many people do you have worshiping? We have an average of 30 people to 35 people coming every Sabbath. Now this is a port city obviously, now what
happened here in the early 1990s? Well this is a city very important. It is the second largest city of Albania and also it’s important because for the harbor. Just across we have Italy about three
hundred kilometers from here and the city of Bari. After communist time, many Albanians
wanted to go away from Albania and to know other countries and to look for a better
living. So many people came here and try to go to
Italy. Right, in his pictures of boats that are
just full of people trying to get away. It happened just right here. Yes exactly. This is the place. Now in the last did a couple days we’ve seen
global mission projects here in Albania. What are the good things that are happening here? Well we thank God because the best thing
that can happen in Albania is people coming to Jesus. And through the Global Mission projects we have
seen that people are coming. For example here in the church in DurrĂŤs, one of our projects
is to run language courses, Spanish, English. And people like to learn languages
and they have come. We have a computer lab there and people come and they register and then once they
are learning they say what is here? What are you doing here? I say well, this is
a church and we also teach about the Bible and we invite them to come. So you’re really a center of influence in this city. In the heart of the city. Wonderful.
Now I have heard you speaking Albanian. And it seems to me that you speak it very
well but that is not your language, where are you from? I’m originally from El Salvador, Central America. So what is a family from El Salvador doing
in Albania? Well as you know Gary, God has plans for all
of us and once we decide to follow His will He knows where he wants you to be. We are serving as missionaries is here with my wife. My wife is from Honduras. And by the way are we have two children and
one of our just five months old. We have a baby girl born in Albania. What a blessing. What are your plans for the future here in Albania? Well we want to see the church grow
much more. We have many cities that still have not been penetrated. Even though the Adventist church is in most of the main cities here in Albania with the lacking to
penetrate north Albania and very south of Albania, cities that need to be rich for Jesus. We recently started a new global mission project in the city of Fier as well. Well very good, now after many years, 45-47
years of communism where religion was banished, there’s a high rate of atheism in this country
is that still the case? Yes there are still some people that are skeptical
to religion. Others that just don’t want to talk about God. However, people are more open now to the gospel and I believe that that’s
an opportunity or for us to spread the gospel here. Now, what about pastors. How many Albanian pastors do you have? Okay we have presently three Albanian pastors.
One is our secretary of the mission as well but he’s also a pastor in the central
church in Tirana. Pastor Julian Castrati. We have also pastor Genti who is in Albasar that you recently visited. And we have a pastor who is in the church plant in Fier, the city that I just mentioned to you. He was previously
working in Korcha and now is has moved to work in the church plant in Fier. So you have a small team in a big task? Yes you said so. We understand what it means
when Jesus said that we need to pray for more laborers. So what would you say is the biggest mission challenge facing you here? I believe we need to be more
open to the to the community still. We need to get to know people, Albanians need to know who the Adventists are. We thank God for ADRA because ADRA International
was the first NGO organization that came to the country. But also we need to spread
more. The most well-known religion here in Albania
is Islam, an Greek Orthodox church and Catholicism is 10 percent and then we are not that well-known, so we need to work more on that. I will say that as Adventists we
still need to invest in Albania, in education, in health. We don’t have a school here yet. We don’t have any hospital or clinic even though with ADRA we’ve been working with that, with health as well. But we still need to get to know more, the Adventists in the community. Pastor Leo, thank you so much for sharing
with us. And viewers at home please remember the challenge here in Albania. Remember
pastor Leo and his team as they follow God’s leading as they seek to build His kingdom right here in Albania. We’ve got more mission coming
up right after this break. Welcome back and I’m delighted to be talking
to pastor Julian here in Tirana, Albania. Summer’s day, sun is coming down and pasto Julian, you were one of the founding members of the Adventist church here in this country. In fact, you were one of the first ordained Seventh-day Adventist pastors. We’re standing in from of this building. Describe it and tell me the significance of it to you. Okay this building very, very significant.
It’s personal but it’s also much more than that. This building we call it the pyramid
but it was built originally in the late 80s as a memory a for the legacy of our communist dictator. He is infamous all around the world the notorious because he is the author of banning religion completely and for Albania becoming the first atheist country in the world. And it’s very ironic
and iconic, I would say, that this building, in this very building, that we have had the
evangelistic meetings, the very first ones run by Pastor David Currie from Australia and
this is the meeting where Meryl Pagica probably you know the famous story I think all around the world, her story is well known and I also got baptized
in this very building inside. Okay, this story, this was a lady who had remained faithful through the years have communism. Tell us briefly the story. Her story was very became famous in the GC Session in 1985 but I think it’s time maybe for the
even for the younger generation of Adventists to know her story because
it’s a beautiful story. Here’s a lady, she was a member of the Daniel
Lewis small group back in the 30s. When he became a martyr in the 50s he was tortured by the communist regime. She kept seeing him in prison. She loved the Lord but Daniel was pharmacist. He was not an ordained minister so she
couldn’t get baptized. And she waited 47 years, be exact, for the day until
she could get baptized. She was baptized by David Currie. Not just that she waited for
45 years, she collected her tithe regularly every month and she handed it into the General
Conference officials back in 1992. Very touching story. So she just kept storing it away through
those years. She kept storing it away. With that money at that time in Albania, she could have bought a beautiful villa anywhere they like but she was so faithful to the Lord. And she said I have this three dreams
I want to return the tithe to the church to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to my church.
I want to get baptized and I want to see a church building in Tirana. Wonderful now you were attending the meetings,
you started doing Bible studies but it was her baptism that really influenced you
what happened? Absolutely, I was the from the very beginning I was fascinated by the amazing Discoveries series. It was
just beautiful. I accepted all the doctrines but you know there was something when you’re
a first generation Adventist, When you hear the name Seventh-day Adventist
it seems a little bit that’s a bizarre or a bit strange. So I had some misgivings,
should I get baptized. So I was very close that I had not made the final decision.
But I was there on the 18th of April 1992 and I was right there in this building inside
and when David introduced her in front of all of us and I was just there, I was two meters
away from from her, from the baptistry and when I saw her praising the Lord with her
face you know up to the heavens just like that and saying praise be and glory to the
King, I waited 45 years for this day. I was like wow, this lady there must
be, if she waited that long there must be something very special about this church. This must
be the true Church of God. I better join this church sooner than later and I was baptized
the next the following Sabbath. Amazing, beautiful story. And I was we were all crying. It was probably the first time I was really crying like a a little baby. I was a teenager at that
time. Very touching story. And that’s what made me well who I am
now and we’re all shaped and we all learned from her example. Wonderful, wonderful story. Now Julian, you
grew up as a kid in an environment where atheism was a religion. What was that like? It was very strange you know very interesting
because in school we learned about evolution and there is no God then all this are fairy
tales and stupid stories and so on and so forth. You know my mom very interestingly very secretly
even though she was a math and physics teacher she will tell me secretly look there is a God, don’t listen to the communists. Now she was her family was persecuted
by the communist regime but it was a very strange. It was it’s felt like there was something
lacking you know in your life growing it’s like your empty there is no you’re just you
feel like we are all like animals, apes. And survival of the fittest, that kind of thing. And then you know it was difficult.
And you see the consequences, and the long transition, the corruption, the organized crime that has plagued this country for decades. There’s a direct consequence of that lack
of the fear of God you know for all those 30-40 years in Albania was staunchly atheistic. So when you see the popularity of the New Atheists at the moment it how do you react with your background? For me it is so sad to see this new, this new atheism movement and so on and so forth. It has brought nothing but you know destruction, tears, pain, disillusionment, corruption.
It’s brought the worst, I think, that human nature can bring about. And it’s just something that a is very sad and
we never want to see, no Albanian wants to go back to those years when there was no
God presently a society where you see churches being burned and being destroyed. When people, when you imprison people because they read the Bible and that’s just something awful and there’s so much lost in humanity from that kind of horrible idealology. Julian you’re the secretary of the Albanian
mission. You’re one only two ordained Seventh-day Adventist pastors working in this country.
What is your hope and dream for this country? My dream is very similar, it resembles
some Niropigika’s to have a beautiful blossoming church here, to extend the kingdom
of God in this country which so badly I think more than any other place in in Europe,
needs God because it’s been so dried up. It’s been so been really so thirsty for the Word of God and I want to see the church grow. We have the youngest church in Europe, probably in the world in terms of our membership. We are very encouraged
to see a growing active lay-membership movement and we are so thrilled to continue to work here. To have Church in every major town and then to extend all around the country and where we can take the three angels messages. Fantastic, thank you so much and please continue to remember church leaders, pastors, lay people here in Albania in your prayers. You know they have
many challenges and they need a world church that is praying for them. Next up, let’s go to the country Belize. On this Sabbath in northern Belize, police
have set up a checkpoint in front of the Adventist Church. Their church sits right along the
busiest road in town. A group of church members a plan something special to reach out to their
community and the traffic stop plays an important role. It’s not a big city but this is where
the most cars and pedestrians pass by. Since this is the traffic hot spot of the area sometimes
the police have checkpoints. They will check for seatbelts, registration, and anything else regarding the driver safety. But this is not an ordinary
traffic checkpoint. The church members use this as an opportunity to share about Jesus.
As the police stop the cars, the church members pass out Christian magazines and books.
Young and old take part in this activity. Drivers are pleasantly surprised as they stop
and receive an unexpected gift. The drivers also have an opportunity to pull over and
enjoy a free concert put on by the church’s pathfinder club. Many enjoy this unique event
and the cars are piling up. The Adventist group working alongside the pathfinder’s is called Manos Del Rey or Hands of the King. Manos Del Rey was started as an outreach group
in Belize. They build churches, hold community events, and do whatever it takes to share about Jesus. The members in this group range in age groups.
Rinaldo, Jeremy, and Rodolfo are cousins. They love being part of Manos Del Rey. During the week they love to swim, play soccer, and be a part of other events like these. These boys have fun passing out magazines to drivers. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small car or a huge truck. Rinaldo is eager to make sure people have the opportunity to hear about Jesus. Even though some people refuse to take the
magazines, Rinaldo is not discouraged. He continues to work with enthusiasm. He even
makes sure the police officers have magazines to take home with them. This is
just one of many events the group plans. It involves everyone in the important task reaching
the hearts of the Belizian people. As a result of the events like these many people have come to know Jesus and are attending the local church. Once they hear the message a lay church member will visit their home and study the Bible with them. The churches here get so full that new churches are needed throughout Belize. That’s where Manos Del Rey comes back into the picture. They help them build a new church. They work tirelessly to fill the demand a building requests. Shortly after one building is finished, construction begins on the next. Church members throughout Belize are constantly looking for opportunities to share God’s love. Please pray for the members in Belize. Pray
that they will continue to reach their community and teach them about Jesus. And thank you
for supporting mission. Well, I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s 360
degree view of mission around the world.>From small villages in countries such as Belize, through to major cities such as Johannesburg in South Africa, the light of God’s love is touching
the lives of men and women, boys and girls. But of course huge challenges still remain. And please
continue to pray for frontline mission workers, global mission pioneers, church planters,
missionaries. It can sometimes be discouraging work, it can sometimes be lonely work but it
is so encouraging for them to know that there is a World Church praying for them. We would like to send you a free gift, the 2015
Global Mission calendar is full snapshots of faces of mission around the world. It’s a daily
reminder that we need to pray for God’s mission around the world. Well that’s it for today’s program and I hope
you can join me next time right here on Mission 360.

Jean Kelley