Today, in order to get some documentation finalized for my residency in Albania, I spent most of my time with Kreshnik.  Kreshnik is the man when it comes to just about everything.  We went downtown to take care of about half-a-dozen things for Pastor Kurt and myself, navigating the loosely controlled chaos of Tirana’s streets.  We went to a notary to get my rental contract and birth certificate notarized.  The charge was 500 Lek per document.  Afterward we stopped in at a coffee shop.  Kreshnik is one of those guys who simply loves life.  He has chosen, at whatever point in time, to laugh, smile, and bring laughter and smiles to those around him.


In a cafe, there is a joke in Albania.  Sugar is given with every coffee drink, and unlike cafes in the States, you order from a waiter who then delivers the coffee to your table.  These formalities speak of the importance the sharing of coffee has for Albanians.  The joke is to ask the person across from you to hold onto the table firmly with both hands.  As soon as they do, the other person proceeds to tap the bag of sugar against the edge of the table.  The idea is that the packing of sugar has a magnitude of importance which is very high.


After coffee we went to a nearby dry cleaner.  I asked Kreshnik to ask the man for me if I could take his photograph.  The man lit up as so many men in their fifties and sixties do at hearing that I am an American.  “Because of America, Albania has freedom.”  He told me.  Then he went on to explain that many of the people who love America also love Communism.  In his view, these people are confused and have forgotten how miserable life was under the yolk of Enver Hoxha.   We said our goodbyes and went off to the bank, and also to purchase the necessary food for the school cook this week.  There is a group of 15 Italians visiting the school until Monday.  Italian people are very pleasant, outgoing, and sincere.  We need to keep them well fed.















At 6:3PM Pastor Kurt picked me up en route to pick up Pastor Alban en route to a meeting in preparation for an upcoming visit from Luis Palau.  I am told that Luis Palau is the successor to Billy Graham as the most dynamic evangelist with the biggest following in the world today.  Aside from the fact that he is Argentinian, I don’t know much about him. The meeting was held on the 13th floor of a building near the Orthodox Christian Church in Tirana.  From there, I was able to get a new vantage point on the city.  I find the roofs of the simple houses in Albania’s capital city to be endearing.  Mediterranean architecture has a familiar homeyness to it.  Grape vines are commonly trained over arched entry ways and in order to make privacy walls.


Six months ago Albania became a nation with over 50% of its population living in urban areas instead of rural areas.  Tirana is a city of about 1,000,000 people in a nation of 4 million.  This ancient city is getting its face lifted daily by a driven people, determined to have a capital city which rivals those of its neighbors.

At this meeting I heard a joke in the form of a fable, and I thought it was spot-on.  A king took an ordinary peasant from his realm and stood with him in a field.  The king pointed to the horizon and told the man that from place they were standing to as far as the man could walk that day, the land he crossed would be given to him.  The peasant walked until he died.  As he lay on the ground taking his final breath, the peasant reached his hand out for another half meter of land.

We give up so much of ourselves for the folly we chase after.  Remember the words of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes.  Good night.