“These people are really big time in need!” exclaimed Pastor Gentjan, an evangelical Albanian pastor who has mobilised his church members to help earthquake victims in their country. Food, water, blankets and mattresses were top of the pastor’s list of material needs, but the members of his Ray of Light Church are also giving spiritual help, prayer and, above all, love.
Two earthquakes rocked Albania this week, causing massive damage, killing at least 47 people and injuring 750. The first hit before dawn on Tuesday (26 November 2019). At magnitude 6.4, it was the worst earthquake Albania has experienced for decades. In the midst of the early recovery work, the second earthquake struck yesterday evening at 8.33 p.m. local time.
The Albanian Evangelical Alliance is coordinating churches across the country to provide hot meals, tents, blankets, transport and other care for the traumatised earthquake victims.
For Albania, the fourth poorest country in Europe, this natural disaster comes at the worst possible time, just as winter is setting in. Thousands are effectively homeless, including hundreds of Christians, and are sleeping in tents and cars, or just in the open air. Either their homes have collapsed or the buildings are too unsafe to live in. At least twelve Christian families have had their homes destroyed and at least three church buildings are damaged and need renovation.
From the tyranny of communism to the pressure of radical Islam
Albania was dominated by Islam when the communists came to power in 1945. In 1967, all religion was banned and it became the world’s first atheist state, but in 1991 the communist regime itself came to an end. Atheism is still actively propagated, but the Church in Albania is growing, with many new congregations of evangelicals started in the last two decades. Christians who have left Islam to follow Christ can face much opposition – even violence – from their Muslim relatives, and radical Islam is growing in the country.
Aid through evangelical churches
Send your help for Albanian earthquake victims through evangelical Albanian churches.
An aid parcel for one family costs £31 ($40; €36).
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