My last drill. My last weekend wearing the uniform of the United States Army. It’s bittersweet, but this morning I’m not feeling very motivated. I don’t want to go, I have a headache. Is there any excuse I can use to get out this? No. This is my commitment to fulfill. I can see the light. I can finish this strong. One last time I get in my car and drive down the canyon, taking the road that leads me to my unit armory. It’s early. I’m tired. But I’m going.
As I’m driving I have a lot of time to think, and I do a lot of thinking. I don’t want to, but I do want to. I need to fulfill my commitment because the next chapter is coming soon. Despite everything, it is bittersweet closing out this chapter. Twelve years is a long time, especially when I basically grew up because of the Army. My entire adult life has centered around my military career and the places it’s taken me, the things I’ve learned. It’s prepared me for this time now, for where I am going next. My next chapter of life.
How ready Jesus is to respond to the hand of outstretched faith.
Ken Gire, Intimate Moments with the Savior
“Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.'” -Mark 5:33-34, NLT
Twelve years is a little less than half of my life thus far at age thirty, but that’s how long the woman had been living with an issue of blood. The doctors couldn’t figure it out, and as a result she was cast out from society. It had to have been some sin that caused her to constantly be bleeding, so the village cast her away so she would not spread her sin further.
For many Americans, Albania is a country they know very little, if any, about. It is a mostly unknown country, because so much of its past is shrouded in turmoil and confusion. Even to Albanians, some of the history is a question mark. When Mitchell and I first started praying and planning this trip to Albania, we knew very little about the country. Even when we would tell people about our next adventure, most did not know where Albania is located. The most we knew was that the country had a turbulent past, there is a great population of Roma and Gypsies, and apparently the country is very beautiful. So far, we have found all of these to be true. But we have also learned a whole lot more.
As we’ve been exploring these first few days in Albania, we’ve seen a culture which still creates. A lot of the markets feature handmade goods, and it is beautiful. There is a lot of color, from the buildings to the people. In a culture which is still developing as a country, having been free for only a short time, it is beautiful to see the people coming into their own.
Today was our first full day in Albania. We got settled into our room and immediately began the introductions and meeting the staff at Nehemiah Gateway. It was all about learning the mission of the organization and seeing how each of the pieces fit together to form the bigger picture. We got a tour of the Nehemiah Campus, and then we went to one of the local schools for the Roma children. We discovered that the school is much more than just a school, but rather it is a place of relationships within the community and a truly safe place for families. We learned about the history of the organization, and a few stories of key people within the organization at different levels, and it is an awesome testimony of the faithfulness of God to His children. We are excited for the events to come for our time here.