Charles Vicker’s reflections on Albania, July 2014:

Albania Summer Team Orientation Weekend 1

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On the 9th of July I met the rest of the team of Nottingham students and UCCF staff workers at Gatwick Airport to fly to Tirana. I want to share a few experiences and reflections on the following 2 weeks we spent in Albania.

We spent a few days in the capital acclimatising, planning and getting to know each other before we made the 3 hour road trip to Pogradec where the summer camp we were leading was to take place.

For the first couple of days only the staff and student leaders of the Albanian student movement (BSKSh) were there. Our staff workers did some talks in this time and we started to get to know the Albanians more before all the other students arrived, about 60 in total ranging from teenagers to students.

Here is a typical day in the camp: After breakfast we would split into groups and have Bible studies. These were evangelistic in nature so aimed at those who were seeking to know who Jesus is and what the gospel actually is. Then we’d have English lessons where we taught conversational language in contexts such as mock restaurant or interview. After lunch there was free time where we might go to the lake or play sports, then in the evening a main meeting with a talk (again evangelistic) and a short worship time. On the last night we had a culture night where we did a presentation about British culture and the Albanians did about theirs through songs and sketches.

So that’s a quick factual summary about what we did but what was it that really made the trip? For me the highlight was one evening where after really feeling God had more appointments than I’d yet had I went and spent time alone in prayer. Then straight after this I went outside and got chatting to a few of the Albanians. Rather than struggling through small talk the conversation got deep quickly and we talked about Church, spiritual gifts and then I got to lay hands on and pray for each of them. Another highlight was one lunchtime I got to chat to a student who had never heard about Jesus until that week and I got to share the Gospel. Another time I got to explain to a student about being filled with the Holy Spirit and pray for them that they would be. It was awesome!

What did I learn? Dependence on God, trust, obedience and that I have a heart for overseas mission. Culture wise it was a bit of an adjustment but I honestly felt such a sense of being exactly where God wanted me to be and that made it so worth it.