March 30, 2016
It Was a Good Friday!

I am not making fun of Good Friday (which I value as a reminder of Christ's death), but I am making a play on words. Last Friday was good in as far as people goes. I gave back the tests my Chemistry 11 students had taken the day before, and then Bardhe stepped in and very willingly took my class while I consulted with Klementina, the principal of Lezha Academic Center about some school items since that was the first day she was back from her several week trip to the US.

Since Fridays are "early-release" days, we had a half-hour all-school assembly after classes and then after the students left we hads a faculty and staff pot-luck picnic. Both of these were good events to share in with other persons. 

senior class presents a play in Italian

Senior Class Skit in Italian (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

my eleventh grade class (one was sick)

Eleventh Grade Class at LAC Assembly (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Artjola and Kristi up close

Artjola and Kristi Up Close (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

At the potluck picnic, I enjoyed getting several informal close-up photos of my colleagues at LAC. 

Alba gestures and ponders

Alba Gestures and Ponders (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Tone and Ina M. pose together

Tone and Ina Pose As Friends (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Sonila considers the conversation

Sonila Considers the Conversation (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Josh enjoys the happenings

Josh Enjoys What's Happening Around Him (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Julie observes it all 

Julie Observes It All (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Edona says something 

Edona Voices a Puzzle (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Robert looks further down the table 

Robert Looks Further Down the Table (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Dini and Klementina host from the end of the tables 

Dini and Klementina Host Us from the End of the Table (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

the tables to my left 

Looking at the Feast to My Left (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

looking at the tables to my right 

Looking at the Feast to My Right (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Morela cuts one of the cakes for our dessert 

Morela Cuts One of the Cakes for Dessert (25-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

It was a good day. "Thank you, God, for friends and students." 

March 28, 2016
Gësuar Pashkët!

Happy Easter! This is the greeting (the Albanian words in the title) we shared and heard many times on this Easter Sunday. Here are a few photos telling the story of our day.  

 My dear friend and brother in Christ invited me to watch the sunrise from the castle here in Lezhë. So I was up at 5 a.m. to do a basin shower since our water is not on at that time. By 6:10 I was outside waiting for the Sun to rise outside of our apartment, but it was cloudy. (The street light gives a greenish cast to the scene while the neighbor's light in their apartment is more yellowish.)

before dawn at our apartmetn looking east

A Cloudy Dawn Arrives at Our Apartment (2nd floor on left) (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Dini picked me up, and we were up at the castle looking eastward by soon after 6:30. (Daylight Saving Time had come on during the night, so sunrise was  an hour later than Saturday.) In the quietness of the dawn, Dini pointed out the four tunnels to the left in the photo below and began to talk about his three years in the Army during communist times. He eventually became a commander of as unit in charge of a "TOP" gun (probably a KS-19 manufactured by Russia after WWII) near Shëngjin.

This led us to talk about how after becoming a Christian, Dini gained an awareness of the global nature of God's family and Christ's way of peace.  To me these are specially dear understandings of God's kingdom. We also shared in some Scripture reading and prayer before we left the top of the hill with a renewed thankfulness for God's love, forgiveness and power.

at the Lezhe castle looking east

At the Castle Looking toward the East as the Sun Rises (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

tunnels for the 100 mm TOP guns under previous dictator

Gun Tunnels Illustrating Humans Failed Attempts to Protect Ourselves with Violence (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

barracks ruins for military camp to manthe TOP gunes

Decaying Barracks Where Soldiers Who Manned the Guns Had Lived (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

overlooking Lezhe from the castle

Another Look out over the City of Lezhë (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

The castle at Lezhë dates from sometime BC and has been rebuilt a couple of times since. Sometime Elsie and I must go visit it when it is open. 

the whole castle from the northeast side

The Whole Castle Fortress (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

close-up of the castle entrance

The Castle Close Up (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

ongoing excavation at the castle

One of the Locations Showing Continued Archeological Work (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Later Easter morning(at our 10 a.m. church service) two groups gave us a reminded that the church really is global. First there was the singing in Albanian, then the Shahini's, Moyer's and us (the Bowman's) sang two Easter hymns in English follwed by the Tatari's, Marques's and Francis's brother's  families singing in Portuguese.

Shahinis, Moyers and Bowmans sing English Easter songs

Klementina, Elsie, Betsy, Phil, me and Dini Singing (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman; by Norma [thanks!])

Brazilian missionsary families sing Easter songs in Portugeuse

The Tartari, Francis' Brother's, and the Marques' Families Singing (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

In his sermon, Pastor Rafael reminded us of what Paul wrote in Colosians 2:13b-14.

"God made you[d] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross."

Pastor Rafael makes a visual point about Jesus taking our sins to the cross

Toni Helps Rafael Do a Visual Interpretation of Col. 2:13-14 (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

After church, with the other expatriate teachers gone on various trips into other countries for Spring Break from Lezha Academic Center, we three couples went to lunch at a seafood restaurant in Shëngjin. It was good food and good conversation (fun and serous). 

out to lunch near Shëngjin

Even before the Food Arrived, the Conversation Flowed (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

And of course I had to stop outside of the restaurant before we entered in order to photograph the plum tree in bloom. "Thank you, God, for the beauty of the natural world around us!"

a plum tree in blossom

Fi (27-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

By the way, the proper response to "Gësuar Pashkët!" is simply "Gësuar!"   

March 15, 2016
At Home in Lezhë (II)

Below are the last 35 of the 55 photos I have had ready to post. They show more of the events and settings of our lives during the past several weeks here in Lezhë. Hope you enjoy seeing our friends and the places we live. 

I begin with a photo of all who attended a congregational leaders meeting of all in formal ministry through the congregation. Rafael called it for 5 p.m. on Friday evening, February 26.

congregational leaders meeting

First Meeting of Church Leaders in Formal Ministry (26-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

After the meeting several of us went to the restaurant that specializes in rotisserie chicken for our dinner. 

rotisserie chicken for Friday dinner

The Owner's Daughter Gets Our Chicken from the Oven (26-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

On the following Sunday Phil and Betsy Moyer hosted the expatriate teachers and staff from LAC at a Brilant Restaurant on Patok Lagoon. The restaurant is named for one of the students at LAC whose parents own it.

bundle of wires on an outside wall

Waling to the Mini-bus We Pass a Bundle of Wires (28-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

placing our orders for seafood and salads, etc.

Placing the Order for Our Food (28-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

some of the food we were served

Some of the Side Dishes that Came with Our Fish (and Other Meats) (28-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

fishermen in their boat

Fishermen Out on the Lagoon (28-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

sea gull flying above the water

Seagull Soars Near the Restaurant with the Fishermen in the Distance (28-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

sign for Brilant Restaurant

Elsie and Dini Shahini Stand by the Restaurant's Sign (28-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

On the way back to the city of Lezhë, I captured a few other vistas I thought were signifiicant.

a chicken folloows a milk cow

A Chicken Follows a Milk Cow Grazing New Grass (28-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

crossing over the main highway to Tirana

The Limited-access Highway to Tirana as Seen from the Bus (28-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

a large bus passes us going toward Tirana

A Bus from Tirana Passes Our Miini-bus (28-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

On Monday we had a slightly belated celebration for the birthday of Edona, an Albanian teacher of mathematics in the LAC middle school grades. The cake was good, and Edona is a good teacher.

Edona celebrates her birthday with a cake

Edona Eyes Her Birthday Cakes with Principal Klementina (29-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Mirela serves Edona's birthday cake to staff and teachers

Mirela (Cook at LAC) Serves the Cake to Faculty and Staff (29-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

The next day was test day for my Chemistry 11 students. Below is a composite of two images I took of them at work.

composite of my Chem 11 class taking a test

Chemistry 11 Students Take a Test (1-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

On Thursday, March 3, LAC sponsored its first annual fundraising dinner. Friends and parents were invited to purchase tickets and to bring another couple to the event. The close to 100 guests exceeded hopes by double. Principal Klementina Shahini declared it a very successful event. Elsie and I had a good time meeting and talking with four persons from University of New YorkTirana. This private university is one that LAC will continue to have conversations with.

one of the tables at the ffundraising dinner

Tow of the Tables Begin to Fill up (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

another table at the fundraiser 

This Table Is Filling up with LAC Faculty and Staff (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

the live musical ensemble

This Live Music Ensemble Begins to Share Their Selections (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Mr. Balla soloing with the musical group 

Mr. Balla Voluntarily Sang Several Selections Enjoyed by All (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Ina Yzeiraj emcees the event 

Ina Yzeiraj Emceed the Evening (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Klementina gives her speech at the fundraiser 

Principal Klementina Shahini Welcomed Everyone (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

one course was a foil dinner 

One Tasty Entrée Was a Foil Dinner (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Phil Moyer and a professor from New York U. in Tirana talk 

Drs. Giakoumis and Moyer Talk History and Biology (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

two profs from the NYU in Tirana converse 

UNYT Profs Vajjhala and Giakoumis Share a Moment (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Mira and Robert Cook are dressed up for the evening 

LAC Teacher Robert Cook and His Wife, Mira, Came Well Turned Out (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Samuel joined his parents for the dinner 

Samuel, Son of Francis and Juliana Marques Seems Ready to Enjoy the Meal (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Juliana Marques and Norma Telos enjoyed good conversation 

Juliana Marques and Norma Telos Enjoy Some Good Conversaiton (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

two of my photos were on silent auction 

The Silent Auction Contained Two of My Photos (3-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

The afternoon of the next day was  parent-teacher conference time for LAC. Since most high school courses are taught in English, We all gather in one room and have one of the teachers who knows Albanian to be the translator for us with the parents. That works well,. It was a good time, but took three hours instead of the scheduled one hour.

high school faculty prepare for parent-teacher conferences 

LAC High School Teachers Get Ready for Paret-Teacher Conferences (4-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

In preparation for a sermon on what Jesus taught about the use and abuse of money and its power, I took a photo of some of our money (Lek) here in Albania.   

some Albanian money 

Albanian Lek (5-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

We buy a lot of items we need in the numerous small shops around Lezhë,  but we also buy items at the bigger supermarket called "Big Market."

me shopping in Big Market

Looking for Bathroom Air Fresheners (5-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

a young girl helps her mother with groceries 

A Young Girl Helps Her Mother at Big Market (5-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

I missed my best friend (Elsie) at the Sunday worship service on March 6, but she was trying to recover her energy and reduce her paon from a flare up of her lupus/arthritis. We both agreed it was best for her to spend the morning resting at home.

at church waiting for everyone to arrive 

A Few Attendees Arrived Early at Church (6-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

a group of men make an informal welcoming committee 

An Informal Welcoming Group Assists Dini in Greeting People (6-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

That Sunday the church was full with standing room only.

standing to sing in a packed church  

The Congregation Stood to Sing (6-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Below is the title slide for my sermon. (Click on the link for a pdf file of the sermon.) Hopefully God used it for his purposes.

how do God and money go together?

Title Slide for My Sermon (6-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

The time after the worship service is always a good time to meet and talk with others abut their week past and the week ahead.

Angelina and Juliana visit after church

Angelina and Juliana Share a Moment (6-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

We continue to feel at home here in Lezhë as we live and work here and learn new friends and more language.

March 11, 2016
At Home in Lezhë (I)

It has been three weeks since I have posted any photos or text on this blog. Wow! That does say something about our busyness. And this weekend we are planning on being with several international teachers from Lezha Academic Center as we visit Ohrid, Macedonia. Hopefully that will be fun and relaxing.

So here are some of the more than 50 photos that are waiting for their spot in this blog. (And I have just done my usual of anthropomorphizing an inanimate object!)

deciding what we want at My Bar 2--pizza or something else

Friday Evening at My Bar 2 for Pizza, Etc. (19-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

On Saturday morning and into the afternoon, we spent nearly four hours visiting Mira and Robert Cook and their two children (Emily and Joseph). What fun!

Elsie and Joseph Cook

Reminding Us of Our Own Grandchildren (20-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Emily plays with a toy camera whhile Joseph watches

Younger Brother Watches Older Sister Carefully (20-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Sunday was worship time with fellow believers at the Guri i Themelit building with sufllaqe afterwards. 

At church we affirmed "God is faithful."

"Zoti Eshtë Besnik" (God is faithful) (21-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

pooling our money to pay for sufllaqe

Elsie Adds to the Money Pot for Sufllaqe at Castro's (21-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Someone wanted a photo with me in it, so I took one using the time-delayed shutter on my camera during one of my Chemistry 11 classes. 

a timed shot of me with my Chem 11 class

In Front of the Chemistry 11 Class t LACs (22-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

That last week of February, I also decided to document some of the interesting building designs I see regularly on my way to and from our apartment and LAC. 

one interesting designed buildling in  Lezhe

One of Several Interesting Building Designs in Lezhë (22-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

another building with two floors occupied and one not

A Building with the Middle Floor Awaiting Occupants (22-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

A high rise building with some occupants

An Eleven-story Building Completed Since We Arrived in Lezhë (22-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

building across from the Net Center

Across from the Net Center Are Buildings in Process (25-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

The intersection near the bridge over the Drini near the market is a busy one. 

mothers walk their children home from school

Mothers Walk Their Young Children Home from School (25-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

fathers also walk their children home from school

I'm Glad to See Fathers Walking Their Children Home from School, too (7-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

live chickens await their sale to consumers

At the Market Live Chickens Await Being Sold for the Cooking Pot (25-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

a view of the outside of the market

Outside of the Market Building (25-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

another view from outside the market

Another Day, Another View of Outside of the Market (1-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

at a shop across from the market bedding plants are sold

Bedding Plants Were Purchased and Readied for Wheeling Home (2-Mar-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

Life at LAC continues to throb with energy. 

several of us have begun Albanian language lessons

Once a Week After School We Take Albanian Lauguage Lessons (23-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

a student easts in the cafeteria

Rice Pilaf Tastes Good and Is Filling (25-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

after lunch students line up to return to their classrooms

After Lunch Time Students Line up by Class to Return to Their Rooms (25-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

a dripping faucet needs fixing at home

At Our Apartment a Faucet Needs Fixing and Waits for Me to Call the Landlord (25-Feb-16; © Richard L. Bowman)

These are just a few of my recent photos capturing slices of our life in Lezhë. We are thankful for this time and place for us in Albania.

--©2014-16, Richard L. Bowman

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