Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Resealable socks?

I just received 3 packages of socks for Christmas, all in re-sealable plastic bags. Can someone tell me what that is about? Is that to keep them fresh or is it to put the dirty ones back into so you can contain the stench? Especially when some people in the country I live in go a week or more without changing them! Help me out on this one.

Son of a Preacher Man

My friend here in Albania was talking about how her sister married a pastor's son and they made all the guests a CD with various songs on it, including "Son of a Preacher Man". The song later popped into my head, and I started thinking how there are little to no pastor's sons available here in Albania! There are very few Christians old enough to have a son my age, let alone to have a Christian son! Think about a whole generation gap within Christianity! Since Albania has been closed off from the rest of the world by Communism for roughly 50 years, everything stopped advancing during that time. They were not allowed to listen to foreign radio or television stations, and everyone was afraid that their own spouse would turn them in. Please pray for this new generation of believers who will set the foundation for new traditions and mentalities in Albania!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas traditions

Living in Albania has taught me how deeply Christmas is engrained into American culture. Just think of all the Christmas songs that we have to commemorate one day of the year. Christmas is just another day here in Albania--which is a plus when you need to run to the store for that last-minute sack of flour! But it's sad in the sense that this country doesn't even pause to celebrate the most miraculous day in history. Even of the Albanian believers that I've asked, "How are you going to celebrate Christmas?", most of them reply by saying their family doesn't celebrate because they are not Christians. Imagine growing up your whole life not celebrating Christmas! No Christmas cookie bake day, no wrapping gifts and hoping the recipient doesn't find the hiding place, no Christmas Eve candlelight service (my personal favorite), no Christmas caroling (my second favorite), no putting up the tree (or disposing of it, my least favorite), no Christmas shopping with Amy Grant on the loudspeaker, no stockings, and no guilt trip that if you're not good, Santa will bring you a lump of coal. In all seriousness, I grieve that I live in a country that doesn't have that festive, goodwill spirit this time of year. Pray that God would use this time to shine His light upon this people and show them the wonders of His love.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Time on my hands

One of the things I love about Albania is the slower pace of life. Albania is a relationship-based society versus our American time-based society. This means it's OK if I'm half an hour late to a meeting because I met someone along the road and stopped to have a coffee with them. But this also means that some people stop their cars in the middle of the tangled traffic to greet someone they haven't seen in a while.

Living in Albania has given me the time and opportunity to try new things or develop hobbies. For example, since coming to Albania, I have learned how to cook lots of things from scratch, I've learned to knit (check out the hat I made all by myself!), sewing myself a dress, I've started scrapbooking, and my newest adventure is learning to play the guitar! I feel adventurous, getting to try new things and enjoy the new creation God is making me into!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Muddy Season

Someone once made the comment that Albania only has two seasaons--dust and mud. We are now entering the season of rain and mud. With the nice potholed roads, it makes walking somewhere without being splashed a big challenge. You kinda have to make a game out of it in order to not get frustrated! We've also been having major power outages (no electricity for 8-10 hours a day) because of the lack of planning. The hydroelectricity plant's reservoir has been nothing more than a puddle for some time now. All these things together makes Albania quite the gloomy place in the wintertime. So please keep praying that God would restore our joy, and that we would still be shining the light to those around us.