October 19, 2014
A Preacher, a Teacher, and an Appreciator of Albania

At Guri i Themelit Church this morning, we began with a time of singing and worship followed by a baby dedication.

praise group leading in singing

Justin, Rafael, Evianda, and Fabi Lead Singing (19-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

a praise song in Albanian

An Albanian Song Projected on the Screen Last Week (12-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

a baby dedication

Rafael Leads in the Dedication of Përparim's and Rosa's Baby Son (19-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

After that I preached the second sermon in my occasional series on "Living in God's Upside-Down Kingdom." This time was on the theme of living God's way of peace and agape love.

sermon PowerPoint title

"Living in God's Upside-Down Kingdom" (18-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

sermon poiints

Living in Love as God Does (18-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

At school this past week, I took some photos of the chemistry class I teach working in small groups on an in-class problem I had assigned.

my chemistry class working in small grooups

Chemistry Class Working in Small Groups (14-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

For a couple of weeks, we have been seeing morning glories blooming along the side street into the school. Here are two close-ups.

a blue morning glory

A Blue Morning Glory (16-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

a close up of a purple morning glory

A Purple Morning Glory (15-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Below are the last of my photos from our trip to the Albania Mennonite Mission Foundation meeting in Korçë on October 3-5. The first two photos are of two of the remaining bonkers along the shores of Ohrid Lake on the Albanian side above Pogradec. They remind me of how much money and time we put into protecting ourselves as nations and as individuals but often to no avail. Only God is our true protection and then re requires us to practice sacrificial agape love.

a bunker aloing Lake Ohrid

A Lake-side Communist-era Bunker (5-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

another bunker aloing the l;ake

Another Such Bunker (5-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

bamboo growing at the edge of Lake Ohrid

Bamboo Growing along Lake Ohrid (5-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

fresh fish for sale along the lake

Fresh Fish Live from Lake Ohrid (5-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

a fishing boat along the lake shoore

Artistic Shot from the Shore of Lake Ohrid (5-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

There seems to be plenty of availability of free water along the highway from the lake toward Elbasan and then Tirana since we observed many car washes with water running as invitations to stop. So Dini did just that while we drank some coffee, juices and sodas at a small shop across the road.

Dini has the car washed on the road to Elbasan

Dini's Car Being Washed (5-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

a fruit and refreshment shop and coffee bar was across the road

Roadside Shop for Refreshments (5-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Back in Lezhë for two weeks now, I have been watching the ongoing construction of a new street besides the mosque. Know something about road construction in the USA, it has been interesting to watch this street develop over the last nine months.

a new street under construction next to the mosque in Lezhe

Sidewalks Being Finished along New Street in Lezhë (6-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

more new street construction

Stones Piled for Spreading as Base for Asphalt (9-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

And it feels very good to continue to see the children around our neighborhood, to talk with them, and to take their pictures.

children in the small park near our apartment building

Children in Our Neighborhood Enjoy Nice Weather (12-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Beautiful country and beautiful people. That is Albania!

October 17, 2014
Milk, a Meal, and Meetings in Korçë

As the advertisement says for Campbell's soups, our Saturday (October 4) in Korçë as part of the Albania Mennonite Mission Foundation gathers was "Mm-Mm Good." During the morning and afternoon I attended meetings of the AMMF board as a very interested guest. Then after a delicious dinner, we toured the new milk processing plant in Korçë.

Visiting the Milk Processing Plant

Albael Dairy is new in Korçë, and it is making a big splash. (Kosti and Kris told me the name comes from "Albania" and "El-Shaddai" (God).)

Albael Dairy sign

The Albael Dairy Sign Lights Up the Front of the Milk Plant at Night (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Kosti and Ori Sguri and Kris and Rachel Bucher arrived in Korçë a year ago and began production of milk at their new milk processing plant on May 29. They and their children have settled in Korçë where Kosti was from originally before he went to the US in 1999. (Read more at Lancaster Online.)

Butter from the Ablael Dairy is selling very well, and their milk is doing fine, too, but they need to work at marketing it. We were able to taste some cheese which they are experimenting with producing. Elsie and I were intrigued by the cheese as we remembered my graduate school days in Oregon and our making cheese at home. Their testing lab was right down my liine, too. "Great job, friends! And may God give you a productive business and contacts for his kingdom."

milk tank truch

A 1000-liter Milk Tank on a Truck Picks up Farmers' Milk (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

lab for checking butterfat and other milk related characteristics

Brittany, Elsie and Stacy Visit in the Lab Room (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

listening to Kosti explaining their operations

Kris, Elsie, and Dan Listen as Kosti Gives the Tour (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

butter and milk as produced by the dairy

Butter, Milk and Buttermilk Are Current Products (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Can economic development projects be one way for Christians to share the love of God with others? Albael Dairy is sure trying to be one such project. 

Enjoying Dinner Together

Before our tour of the milk processing plant, the fourteen of us ate together at a restaurant right in Korçë. We included: Kosti and Origena Sguri and their two children Raquela and David; Kris and Rachel (not present) Bucher and their daughter Eden;  Stacy Nofziger, Brittany Peachey and Dan Rice, Eastern Mennonite Missions staff; Janet Blosser and Lavonne Lehman, Virginia Mennonite Missions staff and supporter; and Norma, Elsie and I, from Lezhë. Andon Rrapokushi had left for a prior engagement, and Dini and Rafael were on their way to visit Anton at the Bible School in Erseka, about 45 minutes away from Korçë. 

Elsie and Raquela Sguri

Raquela Entertains Elsie and I (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Eden Bucher

Eden Peeks at Us from Below (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Kosti, Ori, Allen, Janet, and Lavonne Chat (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Dan, Kris, and Kosti Hold down Their End of the Table (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Stacy and David Become Fast Friends (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Kosti and Ori Take Time to Smile My Direction (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Norma Gets Captured in My Artistic Water Bottle Photo (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

We Are Still Conversing Even on the Sidewalk after Dinner (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Relationship building, fun conversation, sharing about God at work in our lives--all of this and more happens over food as it did that evening.

Meeting  Together for Reports and Planning for the Future

The AMMF board has a broad charter but seems to have recently focused primarily on community development loans and grants. So in a revised organizational grid shared by Janet and Stacy, Dini, Rafael, Allen and I were commissioned as a group to explore church development prospects for the near time and the future. I will try to call us together in the next week or so.

Andon (Chair) and Allen (Team Leader) for AMMF Prepare for the Meeting (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Norma, Stacy, and Janet Get Organized (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Dini Makes a Point while Rafael, Dan, and Kris Listen (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Brittany Lives Her Role as Photographer for EMM (4-Oct-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

And even though this all occurred two weeks ago, I still have photos from our return trip which I have not posted. Maybe tomorrow I can finish with this trip. It was a very good time of learning to know new and olod friends and to see how God is working in many places in Albania.

--©2014, Richard L. Bowman

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