“Here I have friends I look forward seeing” said one of the representatives in our Evangelical Alli-ance Balkan regional meeting last month.
We as Evangelicals in the different nations of the Balkan region are presented every day with the relative obscurity of our distinctive religious community by the visible symbols of the other reli-gious communities in the form of imposing cathedrals and mosques in the most prominent places of our cities and villages as well as dominance in the mainstream media and publications. Our distinctive evangelical emphasis on the personal relationship with God in Christ and regular bible reading definitely explains why we are not discouraged by such displays of power and influence by other religions in our societies that seem to have intensified with time since the fall of Com-munism. In this context it comes as great encouragement to belong to the European and World-wide community of Evangelicals expressed in different ways through alliances and networks con-necting the international body of Christ in many ways and at many levels providing much encour-agement and practical synergistic impact.
Jesus prayed for the unity of His followers, His little flock, and it is beautiful to see that in most of our Balkan nations there are forms of such unity expressed in some kind of a National Evangelical Alliance through which we connect with each other regionally but also at the broader European level.
Our regional meetings have become highly expected occasions:
• To gather with friends, where we see ourselves as in a mirror because of the similarities of our challenges and we can appreciate different initiatives seeing how easily they fit in our situations. • We can rejoice with each other over good meals and drink and bear each other’s burdens in serious times of prayer. • We explore the special places of each other’s country and history and learn to see with the eyes of our country’s neighbours into our own prejudices.
These are rich times of fellowship and discussion of issues we can rarely explore in this way with others who cannot appreciate the specifics quite like our counterparts in other Alliances in the region. Just as my friend from my neighbouring country I also look forward to seeing my friends, the choice representatives of the Evangelicals in the Alliances of our Balkan region.
If you came once in our fellowship you would understand what I mean. Jesus sought such sweet blessing for us as well when he asked on our behalf: “The glory that you have given me I have giv-en to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be-come perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:22-23).
Ylli Doci President VUSH (Evangelical Alliance of Albania)