I have been serving as missionary in Romania for about two-years. Recently I was able to spend some time in Albaina and Kosovo as well. It was a special blessing to spend time with OCMC team of missionaries in Albania. During my stay in Tirana, I saw the useful ministries that the Orthodox Church in Albania offers to the faithful. One of the most valuable aspects of the trip was meeting the Albanians, who provided an atmosphere of enjoying the present moment with each other. They told many interesting stories and shared the current situation the Church was addressing through its different ministries. One example is the youth camp in Kosovo.
The majority of my time was spent in Kosovo participating with the Albania staff running the youth camps. I never experienced anything like this camp in my life. I was learning, offering support, and engaging with the staff as we worked together to offer an intense and quality-filled camp to the youth in Kosovo. I was like a fish out of water as I entered an unfamiliar culture, including, the way they prepared for camp and the activity of dancing traditional dances. What made this unfamiliarity less fearful was that the staff immediately became like a family to me and was such a support beam for me—so much that I cannot express how vital it was to feel that there. We all partnered together to give ourselves as big brothers and big sisters to the youth that we were interacting with in the camp. It was something else to receive from the children their unique personalities and authentic expression of life.
Now that I am back in Cluj, I am viewing things with a new pair of glasses from this experience. I believe God perhaps will use this experience in my future ministry work. I want to say thank you for OCMC missionary team in Albania for offering their hospitality, love, and labor to show me a glimpse of their work in Albania. My gratitude is also extended to my new Albanian friends who truly made me feel welcomed in their country.