November 21, 2015
Meeting and Eating

[Note to my readers: I have been working on this for almost a week, so today must be the day to get it posted. And I have more photos to post when I finish this!]

Going to meetings and eating good food (not extravagant, just good) are two of my favorite activities. In the last week or more, we did a lot of each.

Two meetings were held on Friday and Saturday. The first was a morning and afternoon meeting of the Albania Mennonite Mission Foundation. Allen Umble has been the executive director of the organization for the past five years, and Rafael Tartari chaired his first meeting as president on Friday. This meeting focused on the history of the the activities supported by AMMF in the past and present. 

Rafael Tartari chairs our AMMF meewting 

Rafael Chairs the AMMF Meeting (13-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Dini Shahini shares about the historical ministry in Përmet

Dini Shahini Reviews the History of the Church Planting Experiment in Përmet (13-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

On Saturday all of the personnel (including families) involved with Albania Mennonite Mission met together to share how God has led and is leading in our lives and ministries. We ended our sharing in time for a season of prayer in small groups. By 1:00 p.m. we were wrapping things up and heading to 

Norma Telos & Stacey Nofziger listen to the sharing of our stories

Norma Teles and Stacey Nofziger Listen to Our Sharing (14-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Little David watched or not watched by his parents

Ori and Kosti Might Be or Not Be Watching David (14-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Team Leader Allen Umble shares his story

Allen Umble Shares His Story (14-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Lunch was a later leisurely affair at the Natyral Restaurant in Tirana. Even as we were in the parking lot getting ready to return to our homes, we were still chatting and lingering together.

several of us wait as we get ready to leave the restaurant parking

In Conversation: Klementina, Solenge, Rafael, Dini and Elsie (14-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

one--and-a-half yeqar old Sofia totes her own bag

Sofia Totes Her Own Bag with Style (14-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

it is good to see Dini and Klementina together after her trip to USA

We Were Glad to See Klementina Had Returned from Her Visit to the US (14-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

One place meetings occur for us on a regular basis is at the church site. Sunday morning worship times, Wednesday preyer meetings, pastoral team meetings, and Albania Mennonite Mission Field Council meetings all take place there. As a group o f Christian believers, we are called Guri i Themelit (Cornerstone) church. On the sign we are also identified to the community as an Evangelical Church (Kisha Ungjillore), and we refer to ourselves as a Mennonite and Anabaptist group. 

Guri i Temelit church door

Guri i Themelit Church Building (6-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

In our congregation we do have regular attenders of all ages. Beloow missionary from Brazil, Frances Marques, and his son, Samuel, follow along in reading the Bible together.

Frances and Samuel Marques Read the Bible Together (8-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

That Sunday afternoon close to sunset, Elsie and I took a walk and ended up at Mimosa''s for coffee and dessert. It seemed a good relaxing time for rich but inexpensive desseerts. Each one cost around $1 USD.

the dessert case at Mimosa 

Mimosa's Dessert Case (8-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

As we walked home after our desserts, we were in time to hear the bells on the Catholic cathedral as dusk settled on our day.

the bells ringing in the Catholic Cathedral 

Bell Tower of the Catholic Cathedral Peaks between Buildings (8-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

On Saturday evening before that Sunday, I had gone to one of our two main shops for bread--Aferdita. As their high school daughter served me, I asked if I could take her photo. 

buying bread at Aferdita bakery 

Buying Bread at the Aferdita Bakery (7-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

A week ago, Thursday afternoon, on the first day of mid-term exams, the assistant principal at Lezha Academic Center hosted Elsie and I for a seafood lunch in Shëngjin (about 3 miles from Lezhë). Good conversation flowed easily even though we all were concerned about her young son who had a stomach bug after he woke from his nap.

Bardha and Elsie eye the raw seafood salad 

Bardha and Elsie Examine Our Seafood Salad (13-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Bardha and Elsie conversing on the beach 

Along the Shëngjin Seashore at Sundset (13-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

a cow wonders down the Promanode at Shengjin 

Even the Cattle Are Allowed to Promenade (13-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Attending meetings and eating good food--both are things that energize me! "Thank you God for these God things including our good friends."

November 6, 2015
Blackouts, Persimmons, Computers, Etc.

Once a week or so, Lezhë experiences an electrical blackout. Last week this occurred while we were at Lezha Academic Center over lunch time. So we had an opportunity to just sit and chat with some students. That was a wonderful time of getting to know a few specific students better. (The photo below was stitched together from two separate ones.)

Twp students sit inn the cafeteria and talk with me during a blackout

Oriola and Kilda Talked with Me during a Blackout at LAC (28-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

The next day as I walked down the stairwell from third floor to first, I observed that the PE teacher had the class outside playing football (American soccer). 

time for football during PE

A PE Class Plays Football  on the School's Lawn (29-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

In one of the yards along the alleyway to LAC, we found a tree full of what we learned were persimmons. Right now these are on sale in the vegetable and fruit shops around Lezhë. We just have to buy some and try them.

a persimmon tree and its fruit

A Tree with Persimmons (30-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

And that same day on the way home from LAC, I got to watch the road construction people patching asphalt where they had dug up to put in new water main lines.

patching asphalt over the cuts for the new water mains

Patching the Street with Asphalt (30-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

On Saturday, October 31, we had a nice visit with Steve and Laura Campbell and there two girls, Ruth and Esther. The Campbell's live and serve in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro (the country just north of Albania along the Adriatic Sea). Dini, Katrina, Elsie and I had a very nice pizza lunch with the family, and Steve and I had a long talk while the women and children walked to see Katrina's apartment for this year.

Dini, the Campbells, and Elsie at lunch

The Campbell Family and Others at Lunch (31-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Esther eats herr pizza

Esther Enjoys Her Pizza (31-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Ruth draws on paper provided by Ellsie

Ruth Intently Draws on Paper Provided by Elsie (31-Oct-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

On Sunday, November 1, the evangelical churches in Lezhë gathered together for a worship service at the Baptist church. So several of us gathered for coffee at the Amiçi Bar before the service. On the way from the bar to the church we noticed a football team getting ready for a game.

a football team warms up for a Sunday morning game

On Sunday Morning a Football Team Gets Ready for a Game (1-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

With a nealy full church, the singing was full and vibrant. In front of us were some friends from our church, Guri i Themelit--Avianda and Katrina.

singing at the joint believer' service on Sunday morning

At Least Four Churches Gathered for Worship (1-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

On the way home from lunch at the Net Center Cafe, we notices this brother helping his sister (or were they friends or cousins?) with her scooter as she was taking advantage of the blocked off street to play on it.

a brother helps his sister with her scooter

Helping a Younger Sibling with a Scooter (1-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Back in school on Monday, I decided to take a "selfie" to show what I have been doing with my time at LAC for the past two weeks. I have been working to update and repair the software on the classroom of iMacs'

I'm working on one of the iMacs at LAC

iMac Updating in Progress (2-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

This year with at least two extra Albanian teachers, the teachers' room seems well filled. The photo below is only one vignette of the room.

the teachers' room is full this year

Robert, Tonia and Ina Prepare for Classes (2-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

I have also been using some extra time at home to explore some new territory in my fractal research. Currently I am looking at generalized and alternate forms of the algorithm that makes the gingerbread man fractal and its related perturbed form. A lot of fun, to me, at least!! 

working with fractals on my laptop at home

A New Fractal Form from the Gingerbread Man Fractal (4-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Elsie also has work and fun with her laptop. At times she is working on the list of books in the library at LAC and at other times it is seeing photos of our children on Facebook. 

Elsie is working at home on her computer, too

Elsie Comfortably at Work in Our Apartment (4-Nov-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

These are just a few samples of our life in Lezhë. Pray for us, and stop for a visit when you are in the area!

--©2014-15, Richard L. Bowman

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