Friday, 28 October 2011

James Clarke - Oct 2011 News

James and Lori Clarke’s
News Bulletin. October 2011

Working with the Albanian Evangelical Mission (AEM) in southern Albania

What’s been happening?
We've now got into the rhythm of the new academic year, and the heavy rain shows that autumn is definitely here. It's great to see how the Lord has used the summer camps; several teenagers have been coming along to meetings for the first time and showing interest. I’ve begun to preach once a month at church in Albanian which I find very challenging and feel a deep need for the Lord’s help in this. Lori helps me a lot with Albanian during preparation.

Gospel Newspaper
Shaun finished another edition of the gospel newspaper which we are currently giving out in Gjirokaster, in villages and at markets. Once again I’ve been struck by its worth. People seem to be much more willing to take and read a newspaper than a tract. Perhaps it seems less threatening to them. This edition included an article commenting on the 20 years since the ‘good news’ was brought into Albania after communism. (Albania opened up in 1991 after almost half a century of communism.) It seems strange to think that while I was being taught the bible in Sunday school and infants school as a child, Albania was still shrouded in spiritual darkness with virtually no access to the light of God’s Word! It’s sobering to think that Albania has had a mere 20 years of this light. Surely bringing the Gospel to Albania should continue to be one our greatest concerns and subjects for prayer!
This weekend Petrit and I are planning to go to the village of Fushbardhe again (the village I mentioned in my last newslatter). Pray that the weather will enable us to go and that the Gospel will find good soil there!
Youth clubs have kicked off again in Tepelena and Gjirokaster with mixed attendance partly do to the rain. With the group of teenagers in Tepelena we’ve begun a new series looking at selected passages from the Bible. Last week we looked at John chapter 1 which stimulated some interesting discussion and gave the opportunity to show that the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was divine and not just a prophet or a ‘wise teacher’. Kristi who has recently shown much more interest continues to come regularly. Sindi and Tea who came every week last year and were also at the summer camp have not been coming so regularly recently. Please continue to pray for God to open their eyes. Sindi, who I mentioned was reading the DaVinci (in my last news) recently said that she would like to read all of the Bible before she makes a decision regarding what she believes. I don’t know if she has started this or not. These teenagers are in their last year of high school (the equivalent of year 13 in the UK) and so have much more homework to do than previously. Also many of them attend private courses to improve their school grades. Pray that they would make coming to the youth club a priority as well as studying hard at school. Alba (18) who came to meetings last year has just gone to University in Tirana to study medicine. We put her in touch with a Christian students union there and encouraged her to go to their meetings. Please pray that she does! Albina came to summer camp for the first time this year and immediately after camp she came to church. However her family stopped her from coming to church again. She then asked for a Bible so that at least she could read it at home. But now her family have forbidden her from having one. I’m sure she has a sincere desire to know God, but faces strong opposition from her parents and relatives who are atheists. Denis (15) moved to Gjirokaster from another part of Albania a while ago. In his home town he attended a ‘hyper-charismatic’ church where he professed faith but sadly didn’t get much biblical teaching. He also has a lot of emotional problems.

Family News
Lori has started teaching English at a foreign language centre here for a few hours a week which she is enjoying. Little John is well and is beginning to stand up while holding on to something for support. He looks very tall when he does this!

Prayer Points:
• For the trip to Fushbardhe village.
• For the teenagers mentioned above.

Thank you again to all who support us.

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