Just posted my latest 100 "reasons" in my quest to give 10,000 Reasons to sing God's praise. CLICK BELOW to go there:
We were blessed to have my "motra madhë" (big sis) and her husband with us this past weekend. Tony and Lucy live in Bergamo, Italy and had a vacation weekend so they took the quick hop to Tirana and stayed with us in Elbasan. Pictured: the Shacks, Tony and Lucy Console, Bani & Zamira Verçani and their daughter Eklesia, and some of Shelby's students. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE FULL-SIZE GALLERY
Our first Easter Sunday in Albania was very blessed. We had a huge turnout at EPC for our morning worship service. Over half of the close to 40 people there were visiting for the first time and most of them were students of our school. Ken enjoyed leading worship in Albanian (his second time ever). We ended our time together by all walking over to Balli and her son Gjergi's home for some refreshments, singing and a chance to hear Balli's amazing testimony. She shared about how God used Easter and a very brave teacher to reach out to her when she was young during the communist years and share the good news about Jesus. Her teacher risked imprisonment by sharing this truth and giving Balli a red egg (an old Easter tradition in Albania). Balli's family was Muslim traditionally but the story of Easter captured Balli's heart and she has followed Jesus ever since. Balli enjoyed handing out red eggs to everyone who came to her home. (see video to the right for pictures of our Easter Sunday and some video of Balli sharing her testimony and some of our singing at her house as well).
Our family also enjoyed bringing some of our American traditions to Albania. Along with the many red eggs we were given, we also dyed some eggs ourselves and Jillian enjoyed going on a hunt in our courtyard. Click on the picture of Jillian to see pictures of our family Easter.
We ordered a sheep's head to go with our pizza delivery (not joking) and Robbie Shackelford ate half a brain (to make up for his other half?). It was a farewell party for our friend, Kerri Nixon, who is heading back to S. Africa. Kerri, by the way, ate the other half.
Jetë Studentore (Student Life - CRU) of Elbasan had a more than 50 university students go through a 3 Week intensive study called "Love Can". Ken was asked to speak at their final gathering. This video shows excerpts from his talk.
It was five years ago, today, that we witnessed God's promise of healing in a special way. After 3 months in the hospital, the doctors said that our son Robbie might walk after 6 months to a year of intensive physical therapy . . . if he is able to walk at all. The video above shows us what happened just SIX WEEKS later.
It's not often that you get the opportunity to enjoy fried frog-legs in an Albanian village with friends from Scotland, S. Africa, the Caribbean and, err, Texas. Të bëftë mirë!!