Happy May Day! It's a holiday here in Albania so we have a day off to rehearse and rest.
Our team arrived in Tirane Albania on Tuesday, March 28. We consist of: Dave from Turkey (TACO director) leading the team and herding kids at shows, Chris (American from Istanbul TACO team) running sound and singing, the Aussie band Sam (keys and vocals), Paul (guitar and vocals), Jarred (guitar and vocals), Lauren (drums and vocals) and Nevel (guitar, vocals, harmonica); Dustin (unicycling) and Katie (dancing) from America; and Sabre (Albanian pastor/church planter) our local organizer.
It was not the best welcome to arrive and learn that our amp that we've stored here has gone missing and all Dustin's wooden structures that he uses for the obstacle course part of his show were left out in the rain and rotted.
Wednesday, March 29 was a rehearsal day and yesterday, Thursday was our first show in a poor neighborhood in Tirane. This area has a new, small church plant with about 30 people led by a Roma couple. The show was a good dress rehearsal as we put all the elements together. We performed in a smooth surface, fenced-in basketball court in the center of an apartment block. The majority of our audience (which gathered the minute we unloaded and started setting up) was very rambunctious kids. Dave's kid corralling skills came in very handy, as the kids were everywhere and very hard to contain. We tried to keep them behind a rope to create a "stage" area but they kept come through holes in the fence elsewhere. Basketballs flew into the band a few times as they were performing, one even hitting Nevel and knocking his guitar pick out of his hand.
But, despite the chaos, more than 20 people of all ages visually responded to the Gospel message and invitation to follow Jesus! Lots of Bibles and other material were handed out to the eager crowd. Sabre was very happy with the results and said our efforts were not in vain. He said he's heard many reports of kids leading their parents to Christ. The kids take the Bibles and literature home, ask their parents to read it to them, the parents end up hearing the truth and turning to Jesus. A couple men connected with Sabre after the show and are planning on attending the church.
Unfortunately, since the show last night, 3 of our mics have gone missing. It was super crazy packing up after the show so we're not sure what happened to them. You could pray that they are found! Also pray for the seeds planted last night and for the upcoming 11 days of outreach we have ahead of us! Thanks!
Me Shprese (With Hope),
TACO Albania team