18 April 2014

18 Apr 1992: 22 Years since Meropi Gjika's Baptism!

18 Apr 1992-2014: It is exactly 22 years ago today that Pastor David Currie from the Trans-European Division baptised Meropi Gjika! Our God is an awesome God - Happy 22nd birthday:Adventistet e TironesKisha Adventiste në Shqipëri

14 March 2014

Dita Globale e Rinise - 15 mars 2014

Marrin pjese te gjitha bashkesite e organizuara te Kishes Adventiste ne Shqiperi!

12 January 2014

10 DITE LUTJE 2014 - BASHKOHUNI ME NE!

#10Daysofprayer
www.facebook.com/adventistalbania

14 October 2013

‘Connect to Escape’ Impacts Central Albania



Photos: S.N. Borges; J.Kastrati & D.Pertafi


EXTENDED DRAFT RELEASE: 11 October 2013 Tirana, Albania [Julian Kastrati & Dea Përtafi, tedNEWS] There was great anticipation on the weekend of 4-6 October for the 130-strong crowd in Tirana for the reprise of “Connect to Escape” Series, featuring Dr. Miroslav Pujic, TED Internet Ministries Director, following its hugely successful launch back in March 2013 as a Stream Event. With the public event in focus this time, pastors and church members from Central Albania (Tirana, Durrës and Elbasan, where more than half of Albania’s population is situated), coordinated efforts together and invited unchurched seekers that outnumbered the church members in the packed auditorium at Hotel Tirana International.


The three evenings followed a similar format to the LIFEconnect Stream Event earlier in the year, incorporating health tips, life stories and quizzes; nonetheless with all-new and relevant topics: “When the World is Collapsing, Is there any Hope for Us?’ (Trust), “How to Escape Corruption?” (Integrity) and lastly, “Being Wrong Isn’t that Bad” (Choices).
Reminiscing on the weekend event, Professor Linda Çepani Gjika, Tirana University Faculty of Economics, felt that “there was a blessing in the programme for everyone, irrespective of their age and walk of life. All felt free to share their experiences and all benefited from the Bible-based principles, so eloquently presented by Dr Pujic.” “I was particularly blessed by the warm, welcoming atmosphere as well as the relevancy of the topics presented” said Indrit Balliu, who helped accompany the group from Durrës, who along with the Elbasan-based attendees travelled over 80 kilometres to Tirana and back during all three evenings in order to attend the long-anticipated event. 
 
“Needless to mention, Dr Pujic’s presentations and his didactic approach were greatly appreciated by the audience; moreover we have been blessed through these series to extend our network of evangelistic contacts,” mentioned Pastors Sergio N. Borges ( serving in “Ali Demi” District, Tirana) while, together with Pr Gentian Thomollari (serving in Elbasan), reported immediate Sabbath church attendance from unchurched Friday evening attendees). 

“Once again we give praises to the Lord for the successful reprise of the ‘Connect to Escape’ series”, shared enthusiastically Pastor Julian Kastrati, who was largely responsible for the event and also serves locally in Central Tirana. “Seeing all of our churches in Central Albania benefit directly from the large number of non-SDA attendees is indeed encouraging and overwhelming. This in the context of a programme whose appeal has well crossed Albania’s borders: Just to illustrate: it was particularly moving to receive a message from Qashif Imeri, who reported that “34 Albanian diaspora members convened in one room in Offenbach, Germany, praying for the success of the Tirana event as well as God’s blessing for Professor Pujic.” “We have been doubly blessed this year with “Connect to Escape” and the good news is: there’s yet more to come!” said Dea Përtafi, a committed LIFEconnect Albania activist, referring to the upcoming 6-8 December meetings on the same venue.
 
Asked for his comments, Pastor Leo N. España, President of the Albanian Mission, said, “We are very grateful to our God because once again the event proved to be successful! People who attended the ‘Connect to Escape’ series were welcomed in a friendly and cozy environment, where they had the opportunity to make new friends, share personal experiences and learn about God’s word and His plan of salvation. People of all ages had a delightful time in fellowship. The variety of formats included in the programme made it possible for pastors and church members to interact with their invitees through discussions and reflections.”  In his appeal to the church and pastoral team, Pastor España concluded, “Let us continue to pray and work to follow up this evangelistic initiative that will lead more Albanians to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour!”
For more information about LIFEconnect as a Social Media evangelistic platform and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Albania, please visit www.lifeconnect.info and www.adventist.al. [tedNEWS]

31 August 2013

Festival Besimi 7 shtator 2013

Miresevini ne Festivalin e Besimit te rradhes, sabat, 7 shtator 2013, ora 10:30 ne ambientet ku mblidhet Kisha Adventiste e Qendres ne Tirane! Zoti ju bekofte!

14 June 2013

Pastor Alban Matohiti zgjidhet President i Kishes Adventiste ne Shqiperi

[almNEWS, 10 qershor 2013, Julian Kastrati,Varazdin, Kroaci] Kisha Adventiste ne Kroaci, Slloveni dhe Shqiperi,  njohur si Unioni Adriatik (AUC) mbajti sesionin zgjedhor te rradhes ne Marusevec, Kroaci, dt. 9 qershor 2013. Sipas Kushtetutes se AUC, Sesioni i AUC zgjedh zyrtaret ekzekutive te Misionit Shqiptar (Kishes Adventiste ne Shqiperi).  Keshtu, Unioni ne sesionin e rregullt votoi si President te ri te Misionit Shqiptar (ALM) Pastor Alban Matohitin nga Sydney, Australi i cili do ta filloje mandatin e tij ne vitin 2015. 

Pas votimit unanim, Presidenti i Divizionit Trans-Evropian (TED), Dr. Bertil Wiklander, e konsideroi zgjedhjen e Pastor Matohitit si "nje dite historike per te gjithe adventistet shqiptare", sepse "per here te pare Kisha Adventiste ne Shqiperi do te drejtohet nga nje pastor shqiptar!" Me kete rast, Dr. Wiklander, i cili vjet ne Tirane mori pjese ne festimet e 20-vjetorit te Kishes Adventiste ne Shqiperi, dergon pershendetjet me te ngrohta personale dhe te TED per gjithe besimtaret adventiste shqiptare! 

Pastor Alban Matohiti eshte pastori i pare i shuguruar shqiptar (2004) i cili ka sherbyer ne rrethe te ndryshme te Shqiperise. Perpara se te merrte nje thirrje nga Central Sydney Conference ne Australi, ai ka sherbyer ne Kishen Adventiste Durres. Per momentin sherben si Pastor Ekzekutiv i Wahroonga SDA Church ne Sydney, e cila eshte kisha me e madhe adventiste ne Australi. Gjithashtu, vitin e kaluar Pastor Matohiti eshte vleresuar maksimalisht duke u zgjedhur si anetar i Komitetit Ekzekutiv te Konferences se Pergjithshme (GC), organi me i larte vendim-marres i Kishes Adventiste boterore.


Nderkohe, ne Sesionin e 9 qershorit, Pastor Zlatko Musija eshte zgjedhur si President i ri i AUC dhe Pastor Neven Klačmer si Sekretari i ri Ekzekutiv. Pastor Nebojsa Milovanović eshte rizgjedhur per here te trete si Pergjegjes per Financat. U zgjodh edhe Komiteti i ri Ekzekutiv i unionit qe perbehet nga 17 veta dhe ne te cilin Shqiperia perfaqesohet automatikisht nga Presidenti i Misionit si dhe nga Pastor Julian Kastrati, i zgjedhur nominalisht nga Sesioni. 

Sesioni i AUC gjithashtu votoi t'ia transferoje vendim-marrjen per zgjedhjen e zyrtareve te tjere dhe caktimin e Presidentit ne detyre Komitetit Ekzekutiv te Unionit deri ne mberrritjen e Pastor Matohitit. Ftojme te gjithe adventistet shqiptare dhe miqte e tyre nderkombetare qe te luten per bekimin hyjnor per Pastor Matohitin si dhe Kishen Adventiste ne Shqiperi ne periudhen e ndermjetme. [almNEWS].




09 May 2013

LIFEconnect Stream Brings Hope to Many in Albania

05 March 2013 Tirana, Albania [Julian Kastrati, tedNEWS] The weekend of 1-3 March was indeed unique and had an immense impact on the Adventist Church in Albania. For three evenings, "Connect to Escape", a LIFEconnect Stream event featuring Dr Miroslav Pujic, Trans-European Division (TED) Internet Ministries Director, was launched very successfully in downtown Tirana.
This type of evangelistic outreach was notably the first of its kind in Albania but also in the TED territory. The format proved very impressive, innovative and engaging, both for the hall audience as well as for online viewers. The three evenings of broadcasts were themed "Connect to Escape" ("Is There Any Hope for Us?"). They focused on Trust ("Is God Doing His Job?"), Forgiveness ("Should I Forgive Someone Who Hurt Me?") and Hope ("End of the World. Really?") and have since been uploaded on YouTube.
The church in Tirana as well as the LIFEconnect Albania team had spent months preparing for the high-profile event which took place in the Hotel Tirana International.  Over 100 non-Adventists attended the meetings excluding Tirana-based church members and local staff. Among the audience, there were representatives of Albania's Presidential Office, A Member of Parliament (who is a church member in Central Tirana), the Director of Culture for the City of Tirana, as well as TV personalities.
Throughout Albania, an additional twelve organised groups, met in churches or homes and interacted with the chat moderators. Around 100 people participated in chatting with our moderators regarding the topics and what was going on in the programme. Overall, about 1000 non-Adventists followed the programme online.
The event's live streaming enabled many others to watch the programme from the comfort of their own homes not only in Albania, but also throughout the whole world. With viewers from over 15 countries in Europe, Americas, and Asia. "Just to give an idea about the impact of the online streaming, I received a report that an organised group of 17 watched all three evenings from Offenbach, Germany" reported Gentian Thomollari, one of the chat moderators, who also added that "120 contacts viewed the programme from Elbasan alone (a city in Central Albania).
The Adventist Church in Albania and the Internet Ministries have a strong presence on the Internet, and particularly Facebook. The advert for the event produced by tedMEDIA Productions was shown over 3 million times on the LIFEconnect.al page and it was seen by 286,476 people and 3,210 people shared, liked or, made some other actions on the page.
"LIFEconnect reached the point of enjoying the fruits of the hard work of Julian [Kastrati], the [Albania] Web Pastor and the Mission team," said Dr Pujic. "I want to praise God for the success of this initiative, as well as the team in Tirana andtedMEDIA who did an excellent job."
Reflecting on this unique experience, Pr Leo Espana President of the Albanian Mission noted: “From Tirana city to the entire country and abroad, many persons were reached with a message of hope and salvation in the privacy of their homes. I am deeply grateful to God for this initiative. Certainly, God is preparing His church in Albania for greater things to happen: " Pr Espana continues quoting: “’…so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’" (Isaiah 55:11)
Needless to say, the feedback from in-hall and online viewers was tremendously positive. Lorena Idrizi, who has started baptismal studies with Pr Kastrati, brought her two cousins and two close friends. She could not hide her excitement online as she said: "I feel the blessing of God, as I reflect on the presentations of Professor Miroslav. I am challenged to be a better person and to trust God much more because He alone provides hope for us!"  Also Qashif Imeri, an Albanian from Macedonia, commented online: "These were three of the most joyous evenings od my life. May God bless the organisers for providing such quality content and bringing us closer to God. It's particularly beautiful to watch and hear everything in the Albanian language".
"The Lord has blessed so abundantly!" said Pr Julian Kastrati, who was responsible for the event and who coordinates Internet Ministries in Albania. "I feel very privileged to be a part of the LIFEconnect family, and I want to wholeheartedly thank Dr Pujic, Mirjana Tesanovic Kicusic, thetedMEDIA team, as well as our local staff and group of digital missionaries. I am overwhelmed by the growing sense of ownership of the church in Tirana. So many brought their relatives and close friends to the programme, showing strong support for this initiative. We have received such positive feedback that we're keen to have Dr Pujic and the team return to Albania to feature similar programmes on a regular basis.
For more information about LIFEconnect Albania and its Facebook presence, visithttp://www.lifeconnect.al and https://www.facebook.com/LIFEconnectALBANIA. To see more photos from the event, please click here. [tedNEWS].

28 March 2013

FESTIVAL BESIMI 4 maj 2013!




  • Kisha Adventiste"Daniel Lewis Memorial" Korce!
  • Te gjitha bashkesite Adventiste ne nje sabat te vecante! MIRESEVINI! te shtunen 10:30


18 February 2013

" Connect to Escape" TIRANA LIVE 1-3 mars

Per here te pare ne Shqiperi...

LIVE nga Hotel Tirana International - live streaming: www.lifeconnect.al

17 December 2012

Holy Spirit Works in Albania


12 December 2012 Tirana, Albania [Julian Kastrati, tedNEWS] On the Saturday of December 1st, Adventist believers and seekers from all churches and groups throughout Albania convened at the last Festival of Faith for the year, celebrating the wondrous works of the Holy Spirit.
Pr. Leo N. España, Albanian Mission (ALM) President, in his year-end report exclaimed: "2012, what a blessed year for the Church in Albania!" He was referring to the highest number of baptisms to be recorded (21) in the last 15 years. "We thank God for His many blessings," said España. "It has been wonderful to see how the Holy Spirit has worked in the hearts of the people through the work of pastors and church members who have been dynamic in their participation of the proclamation of the gospel."
The congregation showed solidarity for the illegally imprisoned Adventist pastor and church member in Togo.
Pr Espana concluded: "Amid songs of praise, preaching, reports, meditation, fasting and humble prayers, our church has met today seeking for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We know there is still much to be done. As our Lord Jesus said in Luke 10:2 “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few” (NKJV).
"We are very excited to report that ADRA Albania and the Church in Albania are working together on a special Christmas project", said Dr. Beatrice C. Kastrati, ADRA Country Director. "For the first time ever, Albanian children are joining German and Austrian children in giving Christmas parcels to poor and vulnerable children throughout the country. The annual distribution of thousands of Christmas parcels, kindly provided through ADRA Germany and ADRA Austria, is regularly highlighted on national and local television. "Here's an excellent opportunity for ADRA and the church to encourage Albanian society to be more engaged in our own communities by giving rather than receiving", said Dr. Kastrati. In response to the appeal, children from local churches and the general public pledged nearly 300 parcels.
The year will also be marked for the significant progress of internet ministries. "Thanks to the LIFEconnect platform, we can now witness, make real connections and even give Bible Studies to the unreached, in ways that we could never imagine before!", said Sanda Veidemane-Thomollari, one of the most prolific Digital Missionaries (DMs) from Elbasan. Using the LIFEconnect Albania website and its Facebook presence, the online series 'Exploring Life Together' has already shown promising results. "Over 1 million Albanians are on Facebook, and as we post, we bear in mind that we are the light of the world and salt of the earth" said Blerina Hasani, an active DM from Durres.
"Preparation for outreach efforts throughout 2013 has commenced," said Pr Julian Kastrati, co-ordinator for Publishing Ministries in Albania, who was the main speaker at the festival. "We praise our Lord for the increased number of publications for this year, especially in regard to Spirit of Prophecy literature", explains Kastrati. "By Christmas we will have in print the highly-anticipated "Patriarchs and Prophets" by Ellen G. White for the very first time in Albanian. It is also a blessing for Albania to be part of the Great Hope Project. The translation of the books The Great Controversy and Experiencing the Joy, as well as the 'ESCAPE' and 'CONNECT' magazines has already started.
In his sermon, Kastrati invited everyone for the New Year 2013 and beyond to 'wear the wardrobe of Christ', consisting of His compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and covered by His forgiveness and divine love for God and one-another."
In a special message to the world church, on behalf of the Albanian Mission, Pr España kindly solicits "please join us in prayer for Albania, so that the seed of the gospel may continue to bear fruit – fruit that lasts for eternity."
For more information about the work of the church in Albania, click on these links: www.adventist.al, www.adra.al and www.lifeconnect.al [tedNEWS]

18 November 2012

Aktivitet i ekipit pastoral ne Kruje

Ekipi i Pastoreve dhe Misionareve Adventiste ne Shqiperi me bashkeshortet e femijet 
- Kruje 18 nentor 2012 (Foto Sergio Borges)

15 November 2012

Children Ministries Progress in Albania

15 November 2012 Tirana, Albania [Julian Kastrati]*
On the weekend of 10-11 November, Children Ministries coordinators and teachers from Adventist churches and groups in Albania participated in a very successful and useful training workshop conducted by Clair Sanchez-Schutte and John Sanchez, Trans-European Division (TED) Directors of Children and Family Ministries. Adriatic Union Conference (AUC) Children Ministries Director, Pr. Bobo S. Marčeta, accompanied them in this important event, and introduced them to the anticipative audience.         

Employing a creative, interactive approach, the Sanchez couple instructed the audience on various topics that involve ministering to children and teens. Among others, the keynote speakers stressed the importance of taking into consideration all aspects of the development of early teens -- physical, cognitive, social and psychological. Meanwhile, the TED speakers could not hide their enthusiasm at the strong presence of children and teens in Adventist churches throughout Albania. "It is a unique experience for us to see such a high ratio of children and teens taking part in Sabbath services," said Sanchez-Schutte. Taking into consideration the fact that the Church in Albania has the youngest demographic in TED territory, Pr. Marčeta, pointed out that "we at AUC see an excellent potential in this particular ministry and we take this opportunity to express our continued support for Albania."

On behalf of all the participants, Clarissa España, Director of Children Ministries for the Albanian Mission (ALM), expressed her most sincere appreciation to TED and AUC for supporting children’s ministry during this visit. "It was indeed a blessing for all of us!  We all got very encouraged to continue working with our children and youth for the kingdom of heaven, fulfilling the biblical counsel found in Proverbs 22:6 'Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.'"Furthermore, Pr. Leo España, ALM President, thanked the speakers for the professional, enjoyable and creative presentations. "Church administrators as well as local pastors were glad to see the enthusiasm from all the children coordinators and teachers who participated in the training. They returned to their hometowns motivated with new ideas to put into practice in their local congregations." Pr. España also emphasised that "children and teenagers are the future of our church in Albania; there is a great potential in them, and we have to invest our time, resources and talents guiding them in their spiritual growth with Jesus."

For more information about the church in Albania, please visit www.adventist.al [tedNEWS]
*DRAFT almNEWS release for tedNEWS.


14 November 2012

Projekti "Shpresa e Madhe" gati per te filluar [EN]

The Great Hope Project Ready to Start

13 November 2013, St Albans, United Kingdom [Miroslav Pujic, tedNEWS] Trans-European Division (TED) is part of the Great Hope Project worldwide. The vision of this initiative is to engage members and pastors in witnessing to make disciples of Jesus Christ. This will be achieved by sharing printed resources for the purpose of bringing spiritual seekers into a better understanding that our only hope can be found in Jesus Christ as a person and that His Second Advent will be a final solution to life’s challenges. People around us are desperate to find hope for today and for the future. They are not looking for a manifesto from any political party or for a message from any leader, but for something that is more promising and gives them an assurance for a better life and offers a final resolution to the problems of this world.
The plan is to do a massive distribution of attractive Great Controversy magazines, 'Escape' for adults and 'Connect' for youth, to raise the interest of people who want answers to critical questions about the challenging times we live in. Pastors/members will purchase in bulk of 25, 50, or 100 copies and strategically share them with their immediate non-Adventist neighbours, family, friends, and colleagues at work. Once the interest is shown, Bible studies will be conducted using the message book, Experiencing the Joy, accompanied with a DVD and curriculum. In addition to this The Great Controversy book will be offered to those who want to learn in depth about the battle between good and evil. Finally, invitations will be offered to follow Jesus and make a commitment by the action of baptism.
Dr Bertil Wiklander, TED President, shares his excitement about the initiative: "The story of the Great Controversy presented in the book written by Ellen G White and the book of Revelation gives us in-depth information about the historical background of the battle between good and evil. It also describes the deceptions that we will face at the end of time, but it ends with the great hope that we can find in the person of Jesus Christ and His Second Coming. This information needs to be shared with people in our neighbourhood, in our work place, and with our friends and family. I am very happy to report that the TED is ready to commence this programme in the year 2013 in all 22 countries. Our goal is to share 2 million magazines and books in order to make a connection with our neighbours, and if the interest is shown, we will follow with the Bible studies to help them become disciples of Jesus Christ", concluded Wiklander.
The benefits of “The Great Hope Project” are numerous: members and pastors are engaged in the community to share hope for today and the future; people and entities are blessed because they are blessing others; the Church is united in working on a global witnessing project that will continue to have a ripple effect; and the truth is spread, resulting in transformed lives.
By the grace of God, we pray and believe that this project will generate great interest for Bible studies and the eventual baptism of those who are seeking a deeper relationship with God. [tedNEWS]

26 October 2012

Ekipi pastoral merr pjese ne Seminarin per Mediat

Pjesemarresit ne Seminarin e Medias ne foto me Dr. Polak, i pari djathtas
Pastoret e Kishes Adventiste ne Shqiperi (Pr. Leo Espana, Pr Julian Kastrati, Pr Sergio Borges, Pr Gentian Thomollari dhe Pr Trifjol Ngjela) moren pjese ne Seminarin per Mediat sponsorizuar nga Sharing International dhe Qendra Stefan gjate 22-25 tetor.
Prezantuesit kryesore ishin Dr. Chuck Pollak dhe vajza e tij Sarah Hoffman, me eksperience te gjere ne Median e krishtere, dhe kryesisht per sherbesen e radios. Seminari rezultoi bekues dhe i suksesshem per te gjithe pjesemarresit (nga bashkesi dhe radio te ndryshme te krishtera ungjillore ne Shqiperi dhe Maqedoni). 
Diten e fundit, devocionali i mengjesit u ndermorr nga Presidenti i Kishes Adventiste ne Shqiperi, Pr. Leo N. Espana, i cili ndau nje mesazh dinamik nga Bibla (Eksodi 16) per te pranishmit, duke i sfiduar ata te kalojne kohe cilesore heret cdo mengjes me Zotin. Te gjithe pjesemarresit shprehen mirenjohje dhe falenderimet per organizatoret, me besimin se ky lloj trajnimi do te kthehet ne nje eveniment te pervitshem.

[Tirane, Julian Kastrati, 26 tetor 2012]

09 October 2012

Adventist Church and ADRA Leaders Meet Albania's Prime Minister

Courtesy Photo with Prime Minister Berisha
02 October 2012 Tirana, Albania  A delegation from the Adriatic Union Conference headed by its President, Pastor Branko Bistrovic, held a courtesy meeting with Albania's Prime Minister, Prof Dr Sali Berisha. In this visit, Pr. Bistrovic was accompanied by Pr. Sretko Kuburic, AUC Executive Secretary, Dr Dragutin Matak, representing the Religious Liberty Association, Pr. Leo N. España, Albanian Mission (ALM) President, Pr. Julian Kastrati, ALM Executive Secretary, Pr. Sergio N. Borges, ALM Associate Treasurer as well as Dr Beatrice C. Kastrati, ADRA Albania Country Director.
In his opening address, Pr. Bistrovic transmitted to Prime Minister Berisha greetings on behalf of Dr Bertil Wiklander, Trans-European Division (TED) President, who visited Albania earlier this year to mark 20 years of officially organised Church presence in the former communist country. Pr Bistrovic then proceeded to give a brief presentation regarding the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, its structure, mission and vision. Pr Bistrovic stressed that "the Church does not exist to serve itself, but rather to serve and address the needs of the local community," thus reassuring Dr Berisha of the on-going commitment of the Church and ADRA towards the Albanian people, offering universal values through a holistic approach that has given Adventism a very positive image worldwide.
Dr Berisha meets with Adventist Church leaders
On behalf of the Religious Liberty Association, Dr Dragutin Matak commended the Prime Minister and the Albanian Government for the outstanding and exemplary level of religious liberty and the peaceful coexistence among religions in Albania. As he expressed his gratitude to the Adventist Church for its contribution towards religious liberty, on his part, Dr Berisha pointed out that "respect towards others' religion is one of the most fundamental values of the Albanian civilisation." Furthermore, Dr Berisha emphasised that "religious tolerance and co-existence has been passed on from one generation to the next, despite various attempts from occupiers to use Albania's religious diversity as a tool of discordance, or from the former communist regime which tried to wipe religious faith of fron the national consciousness."
After briefing the Prime Minister on the 20th Church Establishment Anniversary celebration, Pastor Leo España, President of the Church in Albania, highlighted the fact that Adventism has much older roots in Albanian soil, reaching as far as 100 years ago. Pr. España then shared briefly the touching story of Albania's Adventist martyr of faith, Daniel Lewis, a pharmacist from Boston who returned to his native Albania in the 1930s to share the Advent message in the Land of Eagles. Following World War II and the instalment of a repressive communist regime, Daniel Lewis was later imprisoned, tortured and died in prison because of his Scripture-based religious beliefs, including keeping the Sabbath day holy.
Receiving a certificate of recognition from ALM and ADRA
Pr. España also briefly shared the story of one of Lewis' Bible students, Meropi Gjika, who waited for over 4 decades to get baptised and return her tithes and offerings to the Lord. Evoking on Meropi's last wish to have a church near central Tirana, Pr. España presented a letter of request to the Prime Minister, kindly appealing for the latter's assistance on securing a special permission to build a multi-purpose community and evangelistic centre that would simultaneously house the Central Tirana Adventist congregation. 
To the delight of everyone in the audience, the Prime Minister pledged his full support for this project and affirmed that such a church that caters for the spiritual, social and health needs of the community would be most welcome. In a wider context, Dr Berisha also expressed the support of the Albanian government on initiatives of the Adventist Church and ADRA in areas such as inter-faith dialogue, culture and social solidarity.
As tokens of appreciation, the AUC, ALM and ADRA Albania leaders at the close of the meeting presented the Prime Minister with a small gift from the TED President, a recently-published Thomson Bible in Albanian, as well as a plaque in recognition of Dr Berisha's long-term, unique contribution to religious liberty and promotion of humanitarian and faith-based values for the Albanian people.
For more information about the church in Albania and ADRA Albania, please visit www.adventist.al and www.adra.al [Julian Kastrati, tedNEWS].

tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor
119 St Peter's Street, St Albans, Herts, AL1 3EY, England
E-mail: tednews@ted-adventist.org
Website: www.ted-adventist.org

ADRA Albania Launches Literacy and Integration Centre for Roma

08 October 2012 Fushe-Kruje, Albania [Lydia Weidner, tedNEWS] ADRA Albania has successfully launched the "Reflect! Act! Integrate!" Training Centre in Fushe-Kruje, 25 km from Albania's capital, Tirana. Kindly sponsored by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Austria, the projects aims to combat illiteracy among the largely marginalised Roma populations.
In the opening ceremony, Dr Beatrice C. Kastrati, ADRA Albania Country Director, welcomed distinguished officials including His Excellency, Mr Florian Raunig, Ambassador of Austria, Mr Erik Tintrup, Vice Ambassador of Germany, Ms Filloreta Kodra, Vice Minister of Labour, Mr Ardian Came, Vice Minister of Education, as well as Ms Wein and Mr Qosja from ADA.
Dr Kastrati also welcomed other important stakeholders of the project such as UNDP, Amarodrom, Terre des Hommes, Save the Children. In a strong show of support for ADRA Albania, a delegation from the Adriatic Union Conference (AUC) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as well as the Albanian Mission (ALM), headed by Pastor Branko Bistrovic, AUC President, was also present in the opening ceremony.
In her welcoming address Dr Kastrati expressed her deep appreciation for the Austrian Embassy and ADA for their generous support on behalf of Roma women, men and youth who desperately need literacy and social integration into the wider Albanian society. Dr Kastrati then shared a touching story, as she described the birth of the project idea back in 2009 when an elderly Roma woman asked ADRA to teach her reading and writing so she could sign a contract.
In his address, Ambassador Raunig, expressed words of appreciation for ADRA Albania. In a wider context, the Ambassador stressed that EU Integration commences inside the country from the bottom up, building peace within the community before integrating into society, and then society integrating into the world.
Vice Minister Came pointed out in his address that the integration of Roma children into the public school is an excellent example for the whole country, a goal the Albanian government has been working towards for many years. He emphasised the key role of women, especially mothers in child rearing in the development of society. He assured ADRA of continuing support and cooperation in part of the Ministry of Education.
"ADRA Albania is well-known to the Ministry of Labour through many years of service to the vulnerable communities and we look forward to many years of cooperation in the future," said Ms. Kodra, Vice Minister of Labour. She commended ADRA’s efforts to prepare Roma adults for vocational training courses offered by the government and promised cooperation in the creation of needs assessments of the Roma communities.
Ms. Erinda Toska, in charge of implementation, proceeded to introduce the project specifically, listing all problems the Roma people face in their everyday life, such as poverty, disease, confinement of women, unemployment and presented the results of the pilot project and the action steps towards the new project.
On behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and ADRA's Board of Directors, Pastor Bistrovic expressed the Church's appreciation and continuous support for such fine and humane initiatives. "Our mission is to serve others in the community, especially catering to those who are underprivileged and discriminated," said Pastor Bistrovic.
The meeting was concluded with a visit of the Austrian Ambassador, ADA and other officials to the project centre. In this centre, Roma women, men, youth and teenagers will have the opportunity to receive training as well as participate in group discussions on sensitive topics such as healthy lifestyle, early marriage, family planning, sexually-transmitting diseases, employment and education.
Later that day, Dr Kastrati, along with AUC and ALM administrators, met with Albania's Prime Minister, Prof Dr Sali Berisha, who expressed his deep appreciation for what ADRA Albania has done on behalf of the Albanian people. ADRA was the first non-for-profit organisation that entered post-communist Albania. Its leader at the time, Pastor John Arthur, OBE, was decorated in 1994 with the country's highest medal, "The Mother Teresa Order".
More information about this project can be found at reflectadraalbania.blogspot.com
For more information about ADRA Albania please visit www.adra.al. [tedNEWS]

tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor
119 St Peter's Street, St Albans, Herts, AL1 3EY, England
E-mail: tednews@ted-adventist.org
Website: www.ted-adventist.org

20 June 2012

TED President and Church Leaders Meet Albania's Minister of Culture

18 June 2012 Tirana, Albania [Julian Kastrati, tedNEWS] Dr Bertil Wiklander, the President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division, held an official meeting with the Honorable Mr. Aldo Bumçi, MP, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sports in Albania. He was accompanied by Dr Reinder Bruinsma, President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in  Belgium and Luxemburg; pastor Leo N. España, President of the Seventh-day Church in Albania; Pastor Julian Kastrati, Executive Secretary of the Seventh-day Church in Albania; and Beatrice C. Kastrati, Director of ADRA in Albania.
In his opening address, Minister Bumçi thanked the guests for the role the Seventh-day Adventist Church has played in igniting and enriching the spiritual awakening of the Albanian people, following four decades of a repressive and atheistic communist regime. “I take the opportunity to express our gratitude to your church and its humanitarian agency, for their 20-year contribution to Albanian society at large”, said Mr Bumçi.
Dr Wiklander complimented Mr Bumçi and the Albanian Government for the exemplary freedom of conscience level as well as the admirable inter-faith harmony existing in Albania. He then proceeded by briefing the Minister about who Adventists are how their fundamental beliefs, including the Seventh-day Sabbath, are based solely on the Bible. In this context, Dr Wiklander presented to Minister Bumçi a special edition of the Thomson Study Bible in the Albanian language, which the Minister accepted gladly. Dr Wiklander also assured Mr Bumçi of the willingness Adventist Church to engage in dialogue and have good relations with all other denominations present in Albania.
Dr Bruinsma highlighted the significant contribution that the Adventist Church has made worldwide towards the promotion and fostering of religious liberty. He made a kind suggestion to Minister Bumçi regarding the prospect of him participating as one of the main speakers in an international religious liberty conference, which Mr Bumçi not only agreed to, but rather positively asked in return: “why not host [the conference] in Albania?”
On behalf of ADRA Albania, Mrs Kastrati informed the minister about the considerable contribution of ADRA Albania, as the first non-for-profit organisation that entered post-communist Albania, in various relief and development efforts and projects since 1991. She shared more information about the latest project relating to the civil society empowerment such as Roma people inclusion and integration, as well as community service.
Pastor España kindly notified the Minister about the Sabbath jubilee event, as he made an exposé of Adventism in Albania, with its roots going back to the 1930s. He reassured Mr Bumçi that Adventist pastors and lay members are committed to serving the Albanian people and praying regularly for the country's authorities, as the Holy Bible counsels to do so. Subsequently, Pastor Kastrati thanked the Minister for the excellent relationship that the Church in Albania has with the country's Regulatory Body for Religious Denominations. In this context, Mr Bumçi asured the guests that the above mentioned Regulatory Body will continue to advocate on behalf of the Adventist Church's priority needs in Tirana and throughout the country.
In closing, Mr Bumçi was presented a joint certificate of appreciation by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Albania and ADRA Albania in recognition of his contribution to religious liberty and promotion of humanitarian faith-based values for the Albanian people.
For more information about the church in Albania and ADRA Albania, please visit www.adventist.al and www.adra.al [tedNEWS].
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