Church Planting in Albania

Transforming Lives in Dishnicë

News June 4, 2024

04 June 2024 | Dishnicë, Albania [Sarah Henke]

In the small, predominantly Muslim village of Dishnicë, Albania, a transformative church planting project is underway. Young members from the nearby Adventist Korçë Church, just 10 km away, in October 2023 began their heartfelt “Packages of Hope” mission to support 27 families facing financial struggles.

The work began in Dishnicë in December 2022 with an outreach programme, welcoming young people every Sunday for a variety of engaging activities. These included singing, sports, storytelling, and interactive lessons on Bible stories. Anxhela Lakollari, a project leader, recalls, “After witnessing the impact of our children’s programme, we identified additional needs within the community. Through surveys, we pinpointed families requiring assistance and began distributing monthly food packages.” But as Lakolloari went on to explain the leaders didn’t stop there. “We expanded our outreach to include educational sessions for adults, addressing health and addiction-related issues, intertwined with spiritual teachings.”

These humanitarian grassroots endeavours have now evolved into a church planting initiative. Pastor Adriel Henke, from the Adventist Korçë Church, explains the approach: “We are trying to copy Jesus’ method of mingling with people, demonstrating compassion, meeting their needs, and earning their trust before extending the invitation to ‘follow Jesus.’ At the heart of our mission is Our mission genuine engagement, fostering trust, and living the teachings of Jesus.”

Beyond the monthly food distributions, weekly seminars cater to diverse groups within the village. Fatjon File, another project leader, emphasises the holistic nature of their approach: “Our sessions cover a range of topics for children, adolescents, youth, women, and men, aiming to address not just physical needs but also emotional and intellectual well-being.”

While not everyone is immediately receptive to the Gospel, Fatjon notes, “This makes my wife Anxhela and me stronger in God because we have seen God’s hand working in us as a couple and in the work we are doing in Dishnicë.”

“When we follow Jesus’ example of serving and loving the community around us, we not only become a blessing to them, but we also feel blessed,” remarked Delmar Reis, president of the Albanian Mission. “We fulfil our mission when we step out of our comfort zone, beyond the walls of the church, and witness the love of God in action.”

[Photo: courtesy of Sarah Henke. ‘Packages of Hope’ being prepared for distribution in Dishnicë, Albania].

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