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97 In Albania, God kept working though missionaries evacuated

ELBASAN, Albania (BP)–Southern Baptist missionaries returning to Albania in August found God stayed put even after they evacuated the country this past March as violent mob anarchy degenerated into civil war.
“God is working in all of the churches in Elbasan,” said Suzanne Lacy, who works with believers in the city, located south of the capital, Tirana.
“They kept meeting on Sundays and also started another Bible study and have several smaller individual Bible studies. They visited in town as conditions allowed and in some of the villages where we had worked at great personal risk.”
The ministry is stronger as a result. The group she is working with baptized 20 believers two weeks before she returned; others await baptism.
The gangland-style fighting that continues is merely an obstacle for Lacy. She is determined to redevelop ministry possibilities in the shattered country.
Missionary Lawrence Duhon, also back in Albania and living in Tirana for now, travels by bus on weekends to Fier, where his church meets. Believers there told him they have been terrorized by the constant stream of robberies, carjackings, murders and kidnappings.
A new government is gradually bringing criminals to justice, although the violence has left little intact. The economy is in shambles. So is the country’s spirit.

Still, Albanian believers’ hope in Jesus Christ appears to be stronger. Duhon and colleague Gale Hartley planned for 40 people to attend a five-day ministry training institute in late August. Instead, 75 to 80 people came.
“There is no doubt that the trouble has caused growth of the new Christians,” said Hartley, who also evacuated in March and is based in Bosnia for now.

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  • Dana Williamson