Albania (MNN) — A believer needs your help in a David-Goliath battle.
Edmond Shkrivani is a church planter in Albania helped by Christian Aid Mission, your link to indigenous missions. His ministry is growing, with a church currently being planted in Lezhë and several upcoming community outreach projects.
"It's a good time for us in Albania to preach the Gospel freely," Shkrivani says.
But they're a small fish in a big pond. Albania is one of Europe's only Muslim-majority nations. Islam gained a foothold when Communism and national atheism fell in 1990.
And yet, Shkrivani is committed to seeing his nation come to Christ. Along with planting churches, he and his wife have community outreaches, Bible studies, prison ministry, and youth camps.
"My desire is to preach the Gospel; to save others," says Shkrivani. "Everywhere, every person that I meet, I use the time to preach the Gospel."
Shkrivani came to Christ in 1993 when an Italian couple built a church in his hometown of Shkodër and shared the Good News.
"For me [it was] very difficult to accept Jesus," Shkrivani recalls. When he first heard the Gospel being preached, he was hesitant to accept Jesus as his Savior.
The indigenous missionary was born and raised in Albania when it was a proudly atheistic nation under Enver Hoxha's dictatorship. His government did its best to stamp out any trace of religion, and by mid-1967, a year before Shkrivani's birth, all religious institutions had been closed.
However, with the fall of Communism came a rebirth of religion in Albania. Bektashi, a form of Shi'ite Islam, put down roots and has become one of Albania's three dominant religions. Foreign Christian missionaries also began sowing Gospel seeds in the soil of formally atheistic hearts.
One seed reached Shkrivani through the Italian missionary couple and was watered by the Word of God.
"When I read the Bible, I understood that only Jesus is my Savior," he says. "So I kneeled, and I accepted Him as my Savior.
"I say to Jesus that you are my Lord. Take my life; I want to be Your disciple."
He took his first steps as a new believer in his hometown of Shkodër.
"I started to proclaim the Gospel in my town, to go door-to-door to preach the Gospel to save others," Shkrivani says. "After that, my desire [was] to go into other places and proclaim the Gospel."
Thus, Shkrivani was sent forth from Shkodër to Pukë in northern Albania, Lezhë and Rrëshen. In each town, he boldly shared the Truth and discipled new believers.
A few new believers began meeting in Lezhë. Now, that group has grown to 30 members and Shkrivani is planting a church in the town. Until the church has a building of its own, believers are paying $400 each month to rent a facility.
But they need help in order to keep meeting here. You can support the ministry through Christian Aid by clicking here.
Shkrivani's vision for 2013 is to have new believers join their church in Lezhë, strengthen new Christian families, and for Christ-followers to grow in their knowledge of God's Word. Pray for strength and perseverance for this believer and his mission.
"Pray for me to finish the work," says Shkrivani. He also asks you to pray for more opportunities to share the Gospel, and that elders would be elected to run the church in Lezhë.