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When God Opens the Door…

This is a story about a Crossway partner church in the Balkans. It’s about believers who lived through difficult circumstances and trusted in the Lord’s plan for his church. These believers are from a church in the city of Vlorë, Albania – The Evangelical Church of Vlorë.

The existing church building started to feel smaller and smaller every time we used it. While the space was limited we recognized that this was a good problem. As a church, we are very much involved in children’s ministry, pre-teen’s ministry, teen’s ministry, student ministry, women’s ministry, and prison ministry. Every Sunday the meetings in our church were full. There was not enough room even just for chairs, so some people were standing, some stayed outside and listened, and some went home as they could not get in. As a church, we had set money aside to buy a building but we knew we did not yet have enough. So as a church, we decided to look for a building and to trust God for help from other churches. Then, Covid-19 hit! What a shock for everyone! We had people coming to us and saying that this was not the time for a building. There was no financial security. But… when God opens the door nothing can close it. We were all of one mind and one spirit and we knew we were only instruments. If it is was God’s plan he would continue to bless it. 

First, some churches answered and said that they would help…WOW! All of a sudden we were half way there! Then we found the perfect building but the owner who initially agreed to sell it decided he didn’t want to sell it to us anymore. Some frustration settled in. In this process, there were some blind spots and discouraging moments and we had to lift our eyes daily to the mountains from where our help comes from. God is amazing! Other churches and believers kept giving. The Crossway Network was a huge help! Slowly, and with faith, things kept moving forward on the right path. We found the right building and paid for half of it. In a few months we will be able to pay the other half.

Then, when the war in Ukraine broke out, some people recommended that we not ask for help as people are focused on those other needs. This was understandable.

At the same time, when God opens the door, nothing can close it! We were still of one mind, heart and spirit that this new building was God’s project, not ours. It was for his Kingdom and this small city in the Balkans. We are a small church that trusts in an Almighty God. We are his instruments through this entire journey and we have been composing this symphony with our eyes focused only on the perfect conductor, God! Our prayer is that through this new building, we will give glory to God and serve the people of the city of Vlorë.

Thank you for your partnership in kingdom and gospel work thousands of miles away! When God opens a door, nothing can close it.

Suela Mema