Friday, February 17, 2006

Some of the Amazing Story of God’s work in Erseka, Albania

Mark Stoscher and I grew up in the same youth group in San Carlos, CA. After college Mark worked as a youth pastor for six years before enrolling in the School of World Missions at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. It was during his time at Fuller that he went on his first short term trip to Albania.

One month after marrying Ruthie in May of 1994, they moved to Albania through a Presbyterian based organization called Alongside Ministries. They devoted themselves to working with youth and planting a church in the town of Erseka. God's hand was upon the people there, and the church grew in strength and numbers.

In 1997, the Stoschers stayed through a season of anarchy after a series of economic pyramid schemes fell apart. Their perseverance and the solid faith of the church acted as a lighthouse to a country in chaos. I (Geordie) remember talking to Mark during this time and him commenting that his children were no longer bothered by the background noise of machine gun fire and hand grenades exploding!)

In 1999, the church leadership again rose to the challenge of being light in the darkness by caring for a growing stream of Kosovar refugees who flooded into Albania. As the war ended, many from the church took their light into a hatred and pain filled Kosovo to help rebuild over 100 homes of war widows.

Another result that came out of the Kosovo war was a property that the church purchased for Kosovar refugees. When the refugees went back to Kosovo, the idea emerged of holding summer camps at the facility.

In 2000, the first camps were held with youth coming from all over the country of Albania.

In 2001, Fremont church sent four of its members to Erseka to work on building a climbing wall and ropes course for the facility.

Through the help of several other churches, they were able to winterize the building and held their first Bible School starting in September 2004.


Post a Comment

<< Home