Tuesday we drove from Tirana to Berat along beautiful green countryside where the hills were full of homes and farms, olive trees, cemeteries, and round cement bunkers left over from communism (wiki link). Berat is a historical city over 2,000 years old. There is an old castle up on a hill which some from our team hiked up to explore. Sabre, our Albanian tour organizer, grew up in Berat, within the castle walls where there are many modern homes among the ancient structures. You can read more info on Berat here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berat
We performed in the city center Tuesday evening in front of an abandon building where many of the glass panels that lined the front had been broken. We set up among the broken blue glass which was everywhere. We did a quick sweep in the greater performance area to keep glass from lodging in any of Dustin's tires. Someone turned up the heat and it was very warm outside! We delayed our show start time a bit for it to get cooler so more people would be out and about. After the band played a few songs, the local pastor borrowed Paul's guitar and sang 2 songs in Albanian to help delay the rest of our show.
The local church (which was planted after a TACO event 3 years ago) had volunteers helping connect with people, hand out Bibles and literature and invite them to church. One 17 year old girl who was helping, had been at the TACO event 3 years ago and had really connected with Dustin's story and gave her life to Christ at that event. Previously, she had tried to kill herself numerous times, was very depressed and had no hope. Since then, God has totally changed her life, given her purpose and meaning and she has been very involved in the church.
Today, Wednesday, we drove to Kucova for our evening show. The police showed up to close down the street so we could perform. Then they hung around to help keep an eye on things. During the show, the barrier tape which defined our "stage" area broke and a policeman hustled over to fix it for us. Both last night and tonight, a good number of people of all ages responded to the invitation to follow Jesus!
Pray for these new believers and for the churches who will follow-up with people and welcome them into their fellowships. And pray for those who didn't visually respond but heard the Truth and have Bibles and material to read.
Tomorrow we perform in Rogozhino, which is a 100% Muslim village. Pray for prepared hearts. Thank you!
Me Shprese (With Hope),
TACO Albania team