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Gëzuar Krishtlindjen! or Merry Christmas

Gëzuar Krishtlindjen! (Merry Christmas), and Happy New Year from Albania! I hope everyone is feeling happy and healthy. We spent our Christmas here in Milot helping with two different church services. The first one was for children, and we had an awesome time being able to minister to them. We gave out something similar to Samaritan’s Purse boxes, had snacks, and a little message for them. My team and I led worship in Albanian for them. Playing children’s songs is a great way to get familiar with signing in another language. We may not always understand what we’re saying, but we know where our hearts are when we’re singing the words. It’s amazing how God can use music to bring people together.

Later in the day we had the adults service. Once again, my team and I led worship (it’s a little harder for adult songs), and then had a meal after the service. I can’t understand what the people at church are saying, but I’m starting to really appreciate their attitudes. I must admit that I miss having church in English sometimes, but seeing hearts that are worshipping God, communicates more than words ever could.

We had our service on Saturday, and then on Sunday we left for Montenegro. Our outreach coordinators have a ski trip there every winter, and took us along with them for a few days. Montenegro was absolutely beautiful and gave a little more insight to what other parts of Europe are like. We were told they are more likely to know English there than Albanian, so it was odd switching back to only using English with waiters and other workers again. Our trip was somewhat uneventful (in a good way), and we headed back to Albania again Thursday.

After having spent a few days being relaxed and laid back, we decided on Friday that we needed something higher paced again. Kurt, Cameron, and I decided once again to ascend the mountain behind Milot, but this time I had set my mind on only climbing partially up. The intention was to sit and read or draw, but when we got to my break point, Kurt convinced me to climb all the way to the top. I’m not one to turn down a challenge, so I made my way up the ever steepening slope. We left Cameron behind to read, and watch our bags. About 30 minutes later, Kurt and I had reached the top of the rock formation on the mountain. The view was amazing. We broke apart for a second and took time to ourselves to sit and reflect. That’s the most present I’ve felt God since I’ve been here. Just viewing His creation can speak so loudly to my heart.

This is getting a bit lengthy, so I’ll shortly end things by a quick summary of New Years Eve. Albanians love fireworks and New Years. They will launch them straight from their houses, not caring that they’re extremely close to other buildings. It was a wonderful thing to watch everyone celebrating, but it was also a miracle nobody burnt their house down.

I hope everyone is doing well, and I can’t wait to see you all again in May. Zoti ju bëkoftë (God Bless you) .

Lizzy Maust

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