This morning we had a field missionaries’ meeting at Pastor Barry’s house in Tirana.  Pastor Barry is the lead pastor of the International Church in Tirana, which is located directly across the street from the Iranian embassy, and next door to the residence of the Albanian Premier.  These meetings are held either monthly or quarterly, I can’t be sure.  In attendance were 11 people: 6 Americans, 2 Brazilians, 2 Romanians, and a man from Trinidad.  I will not go into details on what we talked about.  After we adjourned, I asked Pastor Kurt if I could accompany him later in the day to an important meeting.  He agreed, saying that he would pick me up near-by in two hours.  On my way to my next meeting, coffee with my roommate Marian, I passed a rotisserie stand.  This place had something for everyone.


If you didn’t want a whole sheep’s head, you could always settle for an entire chicken.

I met with Marian who had brought a friend of his along.  The man’s name was Salim, and he had just returned from 12 years in the United Kingdom.  He told me I looked Irish.  We found a nearby ice-cream parlor and had byrek.  Salim said it was the thing he had missed most overseas.


In Albania, there are about three things to eat, all of the time.  There is chofta, which is like a roughly-ground, grilled sausage; suflatcha, which is like a Lebanese schwarma with chicken instead of lamb and french-fries covered in ketchup and mustard instead of shredded lettuce in cucumber sauce; and byrek.  Byrek is filo dough stacked about ten shells deep with cheese or another filling halfway through the layers.  This is comfort food.  The food items I have missed the most since moving here are: #1, the entire menu at a Thai food restaurant (Albania doesn’t have Thai food), and #2, pho.

Kurt picked me up near the statue of Skenderbeu at 3PM and we headed out to Fushekruje.  Our work in Fushekruje has been postponed since Monday, pending a meeting and accord between Pastor Kurt and a man I will call Steven.  Steven’s son has threatened to kill two of the men who work with us, and so until that threat is removed, we are in a holding pattern.  I was not invited to attend this meeting, but I asked to be a part of it out of curiosity.  This entire process has been a true learning experience for me.  None of the decisions on how to proceed thus far have been decisions I would have made.  I was not raised in Kalashnikov rifle territory.

We met at Steven’s father’s home first.  Steven’s father, mother, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew were there.  They were very kind.  We were all served cold Coca-Cola and a hard candy while this preliminary discussion took place.  I said only hello.  As we left I said good-bye.

Then we met with Steven and his son.  Steven’s wife was also there.  We will be returning to work tomorrow.

After this meeting, we met with Fesnik, the architect and general contractor at the church.  He is a well polished man with serious, shimmering eyes which can feel both threatening and kind.  With him we went over tomorrow’s procedures for installing the church’s sewage handling system.


Tomorrow will prove out the progress we made today.  It is good with me, anyway it goes.  Pray blessing for Steven and his son.