Murray has been partnering in the Shalom Church for the past two and half years, along with Féy (very part time) and Kent & Angie Morton (for the past year). The highlight of those years was witnessing nine people growing in their faith, and then get baptised last September. However, after the baptisms, Valbona took over more of the leadership and decision making, as she feels that the church has been planted. As our involvement and input steadily reduced, we realised that it was time our involvement came to end, and at the end of May we had our last official service with them.
Our time in the Shalom church has borne fruit, and we have learnt a lot about working within the context of a small local church. We plan to continue to meet with the church members as opportunity allows.
We are now exploring and seeking another Albanian church to partner with in church planting, and have already had some encouraging conversations. Please pray for clear direction, and wisdom as we set up a new mutually beneficial partnership to help plant and strengthen Albanian churches.
During the first week of June, while at a week long training course in the beautiful Tyrol mountains in Austria, we received news that my dad had been admitted to hospital. On Wednesday we heard that he had had a very rough night, and that they had nearly lost him. For two days there seemed to be some hope and chance of recovery as they pumped him full of antibiotics and other drugs. For a number of reasons we made the decision not to travel to NZ at that point. We hoped and prayed for Dad to recover, but sadly Dad passed away peacefully on the Friday evening in the presence of my mum, my younger brother, our four children and three other grandchildren. We were able to come to NZ for a memorial service with family on July 4 and we will be here a couple of weeks to support my mum and move her into her new house before returning to Albania. Thank you very much for your thoughts and prayers.