Seven young Albanian volunteers from the Albanian Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church went to Germany to learn how to become missionaries, April 4-8. Volunteer work has always been part of the Albanian Mission’s history. With the first church in the country built by volunteers in 1994, the work of volunteers was and is critical in supporting the development of multiple outreach and mission projects.
To understand how this particular opportunity came about, however, we need to go back for a moment to 2021. It was during 2021 that students and staff of Josiah Mission School in Germany (sponsored by the Baden-Wuerttemberg Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church) visited Albania for the first time to take part in a mission project. After hearing the history of Adventism in Albania and personal testimonies from other missionaries, a smaller group from Josiah returned to Albania in 2022 with a desire in their hearts to serve in a more intentional and sustainable way.
They eventually created the Send Me project. Ole Dust, one of the creators, said that after their visit to Albania, “their hearts were touched and they knew that it wasn’t just a mission trip, but the start of long-lasting mission and cooperation [and] relationship between young people from Germany and the Albanian Mission.”
The project was created with the “objective of offering different types of support to the Albanian Mission,” Dust said. Dania Schlude, also a core member of the organizing team, added that “above all, we want to show publicly that we support our brothers and sisters in Albania and [want to] help where it is needed. We want to support the Albanian Mission with active engagement.”
This year, the project invited the young Albanian people they are supporting to visit Germany for a unique mission training experience. “The main objective was to show Albanian youth that they are not alone as a church. Another goal was to show them a different perspective on how a Christian life works in a missionary school like the Josiah Missionary School,” Dust said.
For the first three days of their visit to the school, the Albanian youths went through a missionary and outreach experience, helping with various social projects such as serving food to refugees. Reflecting on her experience, Aiselda Vladi said that “going out of Albania for the first time, meeting new people in a new place, made me nervous, but as soon as we arrived in Josiah school, it felt like home. They welcomed us, we ate and prayed together, connected with nature, and studied the Bible. Every lesson we studied helped me understand the Bible in a new perspective.”
As a bonus to the mission trip, the Albanian youths were able to attend the 17th Youth in Mission Congress with the theme “He is Risen.” More than 1,200 young people participated in lectures and workshops.
The Albanian group even had the opportunity to lead a workshop, where they shared the history of Albania. Albanian Mission president Delmar Reis also presented a workshop on the challenges of cross-cultural mission.
“Participating in a week like this is positive in so many ways,” Reis said. “Seeing Albanian youth returning motivated, and ready to apply new ideas to share the gospel, is just one of them. Additionally, it is very important for our youth to see that, though we are a small [group] in Albania, we are part of a larger worldwide church. This is a crucial reminder that we are not alone.”