Dozens of people have become Christians, less than a year since...
The course Christianity Explored, which goes through Mark's gospel, has been taken up in Albania with 52 churches doing the courses just 4 months after it was translated.
Christianity Explored (CE) is a seven week series for people who want to investigate Christianity or brush up on the basics. It explores who Jesus is, why he came and what it means to follow him and is done in many churches throughout the UK.
The course was only brought to Albania in May this year, with 80 pastors attending the launch in Tirana, the capital. Now, six courses have finished with 36 people saying they have become Christians.
Pastor Craig Dyer is the Director of Training for CE and has visited Albanian churches to help launch it there.
Dyer told Premier Christian Radio that the idea to translate it started when some Albanian pastors were using the CE prison ministry version and asked if they could have the original course material for regular use in churches too.
"They loved the way that it took people directly to Mark's gospel and didn't assume any prior knowledge" he said.
To produce the course material in their vernacular, CE teamed up with Albanian pastor Erion Cuni and the charity Adopt-A-Child, who provide food, medical care and relational support for children in Albania from poor families.
140 CE leaders have been now been trained and 1,500 course notebooks printed, with 26 courses currently going on.
"We're so encouraged to see the uptake" Dyer said, "It's always a miracle, it's always of God's grace and we know that with anything like that he gets the glory because he does the work in people's lives.
"But at the same time we have that expectation that his word is perfect and it will do exactly what he sent it to do and simply by taking people into the gospel of Mark and helping them to journey through it and encounter the Lord Jesus, particularly through Mark's focal point on who Jesus is and why he came and what it means to follow him, that very simple but very searching format, then it seems to be very effective and we're deeply grateful to God for that."
The formerly Communist country has suffered financially since the regime's fall in 1991, with the church feeling the effects, previously having little money for evangelism resources. It is predominantly Muslim but most are nominal and are up for asking the big questions according to Dyer.
He said: "There is an openness and an opportunity to speak openly about the Lord Jesus and people are obviously interested in the issues of life and what it's all about and the issues of death and how do we get through it. And in the gospel we have something glorious."
Samples of the recently translated version have also sent to pastors in Boston and Philadelphia in the US where 70,000 Albanians live.
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