Community Health Evangelism Impact in Albania
Call me Vera. I’m from the city of Peqin, in the middle of Albania, where I grew up amid an Egyptian (Roma) community and within a family that respects Muslim traditions. I first heard about Jesus Christ when I was a university student in 2012. Whenever my close friend there talked about Jesus, I got irritated. I told her she was stupid to believe in a God she’d never seen, and that if she loved my company she shouldn’t talk to me about him.
Later on, people from a church in my neighborhood began holding weekly meetings to teach lessons that helped the community. These “community health evangelism” meetings had a very friendly atmosphere, and through them I began to learn more about Jesus—his life, his miracles and ministry, his love for us, and his crucifixion and resurrection for our salvation. This caused me to begin reading the Bible, and the more I did the more I believed in Jesus. I became aware I was living a sinful life in total darkness—and I repented and asked God to forgive me that I had denied him. Now he would become the Lord of my life.
I got involved in the community meetings as I saw how the teaching helped end mentalities of dependency and prejudices. I consider children the future, and I wanted to help them in their education, which I see as the main obstacle to our community becoming integrated within the rest of society. I was able to earn my degree at university, and now my heart’s desire is to teach the girls of my community and their parents that they can be well educated, too.
Today I serve as chairwoman of the committee for community health evangelism, working with others to bring change to our neighborhood. I also go to church, loving to worship God and hear his word preached by the pastor. Last June, I was baptized to show that I left behind my old life filled with darkness, unbelief and sin, and to continue my new life in Christ. That day I felt relieved, light like a feather, and had an inner joy that I cannot describe in words.
If the old Vera was in darkness—afraid for her life with low self-esteem, selfishness and full of sin—after baptism the new Vera living in Christ is full of light, with great confidence and no longer selfish because she has Jesus. I pray others in my neighborhood will accept Jesus Christ in their lives and be blessed as I have been. Just as I came out of darkness and into light, I wish the same for them—to know the true God and Savior.