Albania | World Challenge

Albania

Returning Home

Anna Kozlyuk
May 20, 2019

Many young, educated Albanians leave their homeland in search of a better life, and Vera intended to be no different until she met God.

Mynevere Saliu, more often called Vera by friends and family, was born into a Muslim Roma family in the city Peqin. 

Even though she had been raised to respect Islamic traditions, Vera didn’t really believe in Allah. When she was able to finally leave for university, she couldn’t wait. She met up with a close friend there, but suddenly her friend started talking about Jesus. All this “religious talk” chafed Vera.

“I even told her, ‘You’re stupid to believe in a God you have never seen.’” Vera remembered. “But she wouldn’t stop talking about Jesus until one day when I finally told her, ‘If you like my company, stop talking to me about this Christ.'”

Healing Refuge in Albania

Eljo Patoku
April 24, 2019

A World Challenge partner followed God’s call to offer support to a boy and those like him in one of Tirana’s grittiest neighborhoods.

I live in Rruga-Ura, a suburb of Albania’s capital, where most residents are Roma with a Muslim background. 

This is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Tirana, and it was difficult growing up here. People got into fights practically every day, and alcohol was almost everywhere

Most people dropped out of elementary school or don’t have any education at all. That makes it hardfor them to find full-time jobs. Usually, they earn their living with part-time work, or they beg and survive on whatever they find in trash heaps and garbage cans.

Secret Muslim to Freed Christian

Rachel Chimits
April 4, 2019

After growing up Muslim under Albania’s Communist government, a widow found spiritual and economic freedom in Christ.

In 1953, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached a sermon where he stated, “…the methods of communism are diametrically opposed to Christianity.”

That same year Stalin died, and the Soviet Union’s hold on many of its Eastern European holdings, including Albania, began to slip. However, it would not be until 1990 that communism would collapse in Albania, and its isolationist policies and rigid anti-religion laws would be abolished. 

Even today, the long wake of communism’s devastation is still being felt by many people in Albania’s rural towns and villages. 

A Village Much Like Many Others

Ibë is a small village about 12 miles south of Albania’s capital. 

Agents of Change

World Challenge Staff
May 15, 2018

An Open Window of Blessing in Albania

Transformation starts with the unassuming message that Jesus loves you. Those three profoundly simple, but potent words have the power to change the course of history, but they can also humbly save a family by first touching the life of an innocent child. In our most recent trip to the Balkan region of eastern Europe, we were blessed to hear about the story of a little girl who helped to restore her family through the love of Jesus Christ.

Blerta Kamberi: Loving Albania

Rachel Chimits
January 10, 2019

God is raising up leaders to help heal his people in the Balkans.

Loving society’s most marginalized can often feel like an overwhelming task, but for Blerta Kamberi, it has become her heart’s desire and her full-time job. 

Blerta is a leader of CHE Albania, one of World Challenge’s ministry partners in the Balkans, and she focuses on serving the Roma community, sometimes called gypsies. 

How did you become involved in ministry?

During my college studies I was always praying for my future job, wondering where I would go. I trusted God had the right one ready for me. 

When I graduated, Fida—a Finnish NGO (non-government organization or non-profit)— offered me a job. It worked with my home church in Tirana, so I thought ‘well, why not?’ and took the opportunity.

Hope for Albania’s Roma

Rachel Chimits
November 30, 2018

God is reaching the Roma community in the midst of poverty and prejudice

Recently, a member of the European Parliament pointed out, “There is not a single European country where Roma people have equal rights to non-Roma people. They are treated as a problem...”  

The Roma community—sometimes called gypsies—desperately needs to know that God has a hope and future for them. Children, who bear the brunt of violence and neglect, are the most open to the gospel’s healing but also in the most danger. These children are often separated from their parents and left wandering the streets.