It’s been a fun last couple of weeks and I thank you for your prayers! God’s been at work here and I believe it is in response to the prayers of his people!
Gjilan Community Center – This week we finally signed a two-year contract for a building. We’ve got a lot of work to do, as you can tell by the picture, but we’re off square one! I cannot
believe how long this has taken. This is partly because I am, frankly, pretty inexperienced. Part of this is that we have wanted to find the “right” place. Partly too it’s a product of trying to cement a healthy partnership between CAMA Services, International Ministries and our local partner, who doesn’t live in Gjilan. Yikes.
After signing the contract we bought our first paint and tile to begin the renovations. We’re going to do renovations in two phases. The first phase is to renovate the basement and the first floor. This involves tiling the floors, installing a bathroom, painting and furnishing the place. Half of our rent each month will help pay for these renovations. The basement will host our computer lab and occupational therapy center. The first floor will host our bookstore and visitor center, and temporary meeting space. Phase two will hopefully begin in the spring, which involves refinishing the second floor, where you see the five open windows and the open door. The second floor contains a large room that will ultimately host our large meeting room for church, meetings, forums, etc.
Muslim Holiday – This weekend marked the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan (or Ramazan, as they call it here). The end of Ramadan is marked by the holiday called Bajram…though you’ll see a different name in other Muslim countries. Here Bajram is celebrated by three days of visiting friends and family, eating a lot of sweets and giving kids money (kids always have an angle ;) ). On our way to visit our old Landlord’s house, we were greeted by the nightly call to prayer (1MB, mp3, RealMedia)
New Relationship for Sharing Christ – I also want to ask you to pray for Venhari and
his friend Agron. Venhari used to work at a small boutique next to my house. His first or second question to me as an American was, “Do you really think that Osama Bin Ladin was responsible for Sept 11? No real Muslim would do such a thing, he said. That continued into a discussion about Islam. Since then we’ve had a several conversations about Christianity and Islam. Pray that Melissa and I could build these kinds of relationships together. Sorry Venhari’s head is cut off, his friend Agron took the picture ;)
Car Bombing – I mention this, not so that you’ll worry, but just because it was interesting. Imagine for a minute the nicest Wal-Mart/Super K-Mart in your state. Imagine that folks from all over the county come daily to do their one-stop-shopping. The walk up and down the isle is shopping bliss, putting the best things Wal-Mart has to offer in their shopping carts. Now imagine that one day, inexplicably, someone drives a car into that beautiful shopping paradise and that car blows up four hours later. That’s what happened in Ferizaj this week, at our newest shopping paradise called Ben-Af. Well, fortunately hardly anyone was hurt and the young owner, who owns a similar store in Prizren, promised to rebuild the multi-million dollar (though uninsured) store. All this in a country with seventy percent unemployment. Things that make you go Hmmm.
Jeff & Melissa