The village of Rodokal is in the remote mountains of south-east Albania. The AAC sponsorship programme here began in mid-September 1995 when, to cut a long story short, the village chief said that if we kept our promise to return with food for ALL the village’s children then we could share the Gospel with them freely. By God’s grace the programme was running on time and we began feeding, caring and sharing. This grew to over 500 – in fact every child (and nursing mother) in the wider community.
Within the first couple of months the village chief had given his heart to Jesus Christ, followed shortly after by 6 or 7 of the elders of the village to say nothing of the many, many children. Within a year and a half, 70% of the children had clearly received Christ.
Spring 1997 saw Albania torn apart with rioting, looting, murders and all manner of evil. Our base in [the nearest town of] Pogradec was also eventually looted and destroyed as were the kitchens, and the non-Albanian staff had to flee to Greece. For two or three months there was no word of the children in the village. All we could do was pray. When the missionaries eventually got back in, they found all the children safe, the believers and staff standing firm in their faith and the village intact! The very return of the staff was a witness to the Muslims who were taunting the Christians, saying they’d seen the last of the Christians’ love and care.
The children in the village have never known much love or care and live in very rough conditions, isolated from the outside world except by rugged donkey tracks. Social problems, malnutrition and poverty are rife with 70% unemployment. The people here basically seek to live off the land which explains in part their dietary deficiencies, and a team of doctors/nurses/dentist come once a year, to help us address these problems, as well as do health care checks on the children and villagers.
A new building which houses kitchens, offices and accommodation was opened in Pogradec in June 2000, and there are now three other programmes in rural mountain villages. God is continuing to do a deep work among the Albanian people and it is a privilege to stand with them prayerfully and financially at this time.