Monthly News and Prayer Update – April 2015

Dear friends,

We begin this update on this Good Friday by wishing you a very happy and blessed Easter weekend. We realise that you will be reflecting and celebrating together with your churches Jeff and Shirley Townsendand families. We are going through a series of readings on the shadows of Easter which take us back to the Old Testament and the fore-shadowing of Christ’s death and resurrection.

EASTER – We have the privilege here in Albania of very often celebrating two Easters! We are having a special emphasis on the meaning of Easter this Sunday and again next Sunday which is Orthodox Easter. Pray for those opportunities of sharing the gospel as many times friends of believers come to the service. There are varying outreaches being carried out with the youth in Gjirokaster, Tepelena and Ballsh.

Newspaper for Easter – Once again we have the newspaper with an Easter theme to use in our evangelism over the next couple of weeks. We are encouraged that just under 10,000 copies were ordered and printed. For those of you familiar with the name JEHONA we want to let you know that it has now changed from being “The Echo/Jehona” to “The Message/Mesazhi”! More and more people were experiencing problems as the word Jehona was often misunderstood as being from the JW’s. We trust that this will help us all as we share the message of the gospel in this way.

Legal requirements for foundations – The past few months have been somewhat stressful with the government imposing new laws relating to declarations that each foundation needs to make each month as well as the procedure for doing your tax declarations at the end of the financial year. We have been so grateful for the knowledge and expertise of Xhelo who has kept AEM legal and also been a tremendous help with the foundation “Light for the blind”. We have now deposited those documents and trust that all is well. It is definitely a less tense time since March 31st which was the deadline.

Here are some ministry dates for you to pray for:

April 14th – Geoff needs to gather the board of “Light for the Blind” in order to sign legal documents that were incorrectly done in March! They plan to meet in Elbasan for this and then deposit the documents in the high court for approval.

April 14 to 17 – We plan to be in Fier/Patos area for Shirley to do some teaching with the women in both churches and Geoff to teach the small group of men in Patos. Pray for the Lord to use these studies and for us to be an encouragement to Will and Doreta and Bledi and Bela. Margaret Reid has now left Fier and has moved to Derbyshire. They are already missing her as a friend and mentor!

April 18 to 23 – We will have a mission visit as Paul Davies and Trevor Baker come to the Gjirokaster area. Pray for their time not just in Gjirokastër but also Kosova, Tirana, Korça, etc.

April 20 – AEM-Misioni Ungjillor board meeting in Gjirokaster. Please pray that at this meeting we will be able to formalise the handover of the role of Executive Director from Geoff to Xheladin Palushi (Jelo). This depends on finding a suitable office space to rent in Tirana so please make that a special matter of prayer. In reality, Xhelo is doing all the work and Geoff is there to answer a question or lend a hand as needed. Earlier this year Geoff did a legal document with the notary giving Xhelo the powers to operate in Geoff’s name. This has been working very well.

April 23 – May 4 Andrew and Anne Jones are coming to both Kosova and Albania on a mission visit. Geoff will meet them in Prishtina on the 23rd and travel with them until they arrive in Gjirokaster for the last 4 days or so of their time. They want to have an overview of the work so doing more travelling this time.

May 8 – 10 – Women’s conference in Erseka. Jennifer and Shirley are both busy working on the practical aspects of this. Some names have already come in and the registration deadline has been set for the 15th April. Continue to pray for Kristiane who is the key speaker and the practical things that will need doing.

May 11th – July 30th. We both plan to travel overland in our car to be in the UK for a short sabbatical. We feel the need for a rest so we are not planning an itinerary for deputation this time round. We have tentative plans for doing that next year. Please pray for our travels, rest and times of Spiritual refreshment throughout this period.

Current visits to Tirana – We quote from Shaun and Jennifer’s most recent update;

“Shaun has been doing a weekly preaching series in Tirana. This involves a seven hour round trip each Wednesday. Please pray for safety in travelling, especially as we have had some problems with both the cars. The preaching is hopefully an encouragement to Christians in the big city, but also should give some indication about our future direction.

We feel that the time may be right to be handing over our responsibilities in the Gjirokaster area to the rest of the team. This is a big decision after living here for many years, but the Lord has raised up others to do the work of the gospel, for which we can only rejoice. We are looking for things to become clearer over the next two months”.

Please do pray for Shaun and Jen as they seek God’s direction for their future ministry and location to become clearer.

There are visits from parents also! Will Niven’s Mum is here to see the family as well as Jen’s parents from the USA and James’ Mum from Brighton. Do pray that these family times would be precious and meaningful as grandparents spend time with the grandchildren and their families.

We do want to say that we greatly value and appreciate your faithfulness in prayer, in contacting us for up to date prayer needs and not least of all for being our friends.

Partnering together,

Geoff and Shirley

AEM-Misioni Ungjillor,

Gjirokaster,Albania.

E.mail: geoff.shirley54@yahoo.com

Home Tel: 00-355-84-263490

Mobile: 00-355-696096070 (AEP group)

Mobile: 00-355-692421623 (Vodafone Club)

Skype: geoff.shirley.townsend