Albania (MNN) — [Editor’s note: This story is Part Two of a 2-part mini- series.]
As a teenager, Andrew Teeuwen with PIONEERS got his first taste of the Albanian culture when his dad, who worked for Open Doors USA at the time, traveled to the communist nation during the Easter Holiday.
The trip was an opportunity to pray for the small country, find Christians to could connect with, and discover if there were any unregistered churches needing help.
Albania had recently declared itself an atheist nation. All religions were outlawed.
But man’s laws don’t trump God’s.
Yet, while his dad was in Albania that Easter Sunday, the ground quaked just as it did when Christ first rose from the dead — conquering death and securing everlasting life for His people. And in the quake, an atheist museum was destroyed.
Ironically, it was the same museum Teeuwen’s father’s tourist group was set to visit the same morning. “[My dad thought] God is just showing us that He is the same today, in this country that denies the existence of God, as He was when Jesus rose from the dead on the first resurrection day,” explains Teeuwen.
“When my father came back and told us about his trip to Albania, I felt a need to pray for this country. I didn’t like it that this small country of three million people could deny God’s existence. So I began to pray for God to work and open up this country for the Gospel, never expecting that I would end up there myself,” Teeuwen says.
Then, when Albania’s communism began to fall in 1989, it opened a door for the Gospel.
“My wife and I, after we got married, joined PIONEERS…. We ended up going to work with a team in the northeast of the country in the mountainous area,” Teeuwen explains.
There, in the mountains, the Teeuwens helped to share Christ and plant churches. The goal for planting churches wasn’t to simply put up a building and invite people to church. No. It was to share God’s igniting Word and help disciple believers to share their own faith with their fellow countrymen, creating an exponential effect.
However, communism’s fall also opened a different door for Albanians–who had been kept from knowing the outside world. Before long, many Albanians began fleeing their homeland to their neighboring country, Greece.
After serving in Albania, Andrew and his wife relocated to Europe’s gateway in efforts to better serve Greece’s growing Albanian population. After all, the couple had the advantage of knowing the Albanian culture and its language.
Today, they’re still serving in Greece and planting churches for the Albanian believers there. And they’re reminding Albanians how loved and cherished they are by God. Learn more about the Teeuwens’ Greek story here.
Please pray for the Teeuwens and their ministry. Pray that God will move and guide them to best serve the Albanian people. And pray for Albanians everywhere to continue to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.