Dear beloved friend, we pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3 John 1:2) Our prayer is that the Lord will continue to bless and use you for his honor and glory. In this letter we wanted to take this time and remember what the Lord has done in our ministry in 2017. Our thankfulness goes toward the Lord who made possible for us to experience his hand throughout all this year. Blessed be his Holy Name.
Dear friend, as a family we want to wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
What happened this year?
* The first half of the year we chose to focus on discipleship in all three churches. As a result, we have seen much spiritual growth in those churches. We are very thankful to the Lord that he has blessed these people with a wonderful desire and a spiritual hunger.
* The second half of the year we had a focus on evangelism. In Eklesia church we tried to explore ever new ways of outreach, like using mathematics classes. In Disciples Church we have used English classes, and in Bible Church we have used the network of existing believers to reach out with the gospel. All these tools have yielded good and encouraging fruit.
* We defined the potential elders for Eklesia Church: Gentjan, who just recently became a father, for the second time; Artur who is a mathematics professor; and Orgest, who is also a mathematics professor.
* We have put out a lot of effort in training the potential elders for Eklesia Church. Our friends and partners in Bedum, Netherlands, with Pastor Marten De Vries, have helped. Other partners in Netherlands has contributed much to this effort. And we are very thankful to Banner of Truth in UK who has provided much help with their materials and made it possible for these potential elders to attend their conference.
* We have been blessed to see two American couples come and serve alongside us with Bible Church and be of help to Saimir and Kela.
* God made it possible for us to initiate a church planting in Mongolia. This has been a very blessed part of our ministry and we are very thankful for our president of Illyricum Movement USA, Daryl Harper who made it possible for us to see this new direction of God’s work.
* We have been able to visit the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the USA to encourage our brothers and sisters to continue to partner with our ministry, to pray for us, to visit us, and to financially support us. The more partnerships we have, the more we are able to plant and establish more churches. God’s harvest is great here in Albania and we need more workers who can help in different ways. We would encourage you to pray, come and give so that we can advance in reaching more Muslim people with the gospel of Christ.
* Our summer project was done without the Demos being present for the first time. It was not easy to let the young believers take this step but it was necessary. Of course not every thing went perfectly, but we are so thankful to the Lord that they lead the whole project and learned to depend on God, not on us. Our hearts’ desire is to raise leaders, and leaders needs to learn to lead. We experienced a mixture of feelings, just like the feelings of a parent letting his child take the first steps of decision, and it was a very important step.
* We have seen strong spiritual growth in the three existing churches. Believers are daily walking with God, memorizing verses from the Bible, encouraging one another and making him known to others without hesitation. It is the Lord that is causing His church to exist and grow. We are so thankful to see how lives are eternally changed by the Gospel in every aspect of their lives. There is no greater joy for a missionary to see lasting fruit--changed lives that are influencing others. Our desire now is to see elders raised up in Disciples and Bible church.
* We started to make concrete plans for initiating the fourth church in 2018. We located the area of the new church plant. We have the initiating plan and we are trusting the Lord that He will provide financially for this new church plant. We are praying that the Lord will provide an additional $25,000 per year plus an additional $5000 for start-up costs that will be used for chairs, sound system, projector, guitars, bookshelf, DVD player, TV, Bibles, and evangelistic materials. So thankful to the Lord for some of our dear friends and partners who have started to support this project. Whereas in the previous letter we told you that we are considering starting the new church plant in September, we are very happy to announce that we are considering initiating this earlier, during the summer 2018, since we are having many people and churches express a desire to come and help during the summer. If the Lord will provide financially we want to take this step. We are daily praying for this new church plant to the Lord.
* As a family we have seen the hand of the Lord working in many ways. We are so thankful for the spiritual growth that our family had. We are so thankful that we have matured more toward our faith in Christ Jesus. Our children Noel and Sion have been a great encouragement with their desire to honor the Lord in everything they do, think and act. It has been a great encouragement to see them memorize a lot of scripture. They have a great desire for knowledge and has been assigned among the best students in their school. Our hearts are thankful to the Lord. Bona’s health has been a challenge; generally not a lot of difficulties, but there has been a slow decrease of kidney function. We have learned to give thanks to the Lord also in difficult times because we know that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness; and steadfastness will have its full effect, that we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. My studies with RTS are going very well though a bit slow; currently I am studying Judges through Ruth. I have learned a lot and I wish I could have more time to dig deeper. God’s word is such a precious treasure that the deeper you go the more you find and your soul satisfies itself in a complete way.
* We want to say thank you so much, dear friend and partner, for your sacrificial support to this ministry in so many aspects. Without your help many things would not be as they are and we want to express our thankfulness toward you. You have played a very important role in all that we mentioned in this letter. Thank you for investing in this work of the Lord so that Muslim people could hear the gospel, with the result of churches being planted and established with eternal impact. Personally we want to say thank you so much on behalf of our ministry and of the many lives changed.
Preparation for Christmas
We would love to ask your prayers dear friend for this Christmas events. All our three church plants are planning to hold different events in their locations. We are planning to make Christ known in different ways in our neighborhoods—plans to have a horse-driven buggy around the neighborhood accompanied with Christmas songs, Christian literature and invitations for the churches' Christmas eve services handed out. People in our churches are planning to invite their family members to participate in the special Christmas meeting, where many of them will be baptized. We need your prayers as they invite their family members to participate in their baptism, so that the Lord will open the hearts of the family members and also come to know the Lord.
Our prayer is that in 2018 we will see the hand of the Lord doing greater things in this country among Muslim people through His church. Our prayer is that we will partner together in a closer way and that we will rejoice together in the work of the Lord.
With much love and appreciation,
Edi, Bona, Noel and Sion
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