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Embracing a Second Chance

Embracing a Second Chance

For 17 years, Christar workers James and Dawn* have been working to see a church established in a Roma community in Albania. They’ve ministered through medical outreaches and literacy classes, held Bible studies and kids’ clubs, and drunk countless cups of coffee, building relationships through which they could share the gospel. They’ve developed songs to convey the good news in culturally relevant ways. And, they’ve prayed ceaselessly that God would allow His Body to take root among their least-reached neighbors.

For eight of those years, they’ve known a man named Patrin. James spent many hours discussing Bible stories with him, and would often share evangelistic songs and videos. “Jesus has always held a certain fascination for him,” James recalls. But, he adds, “It seemed that Patrin never went beyond mere interest and into actually committing himself to a decision for Christ.”

Despite James’ faithful efforts to convey the good news of Jesus, Patrin remained drawn to his drinking buddies and a life of worldly pursuits. But, when Patrin suffered a stroke, leaving half of his body paralyzed and his mind awash in fear, he realized he’d been given a second chance to accept the message he’d heard from his American friend.

As James reviewed with Patrin what he’d previously shared, Patrin told James of his change of heart, eight years in the making: “Your words used to go in one ear and out the other, but now they are sticking!” At age 50, he professed faith in Christ, thanking James for his patience and for standing by him even when he resisted surrendering his life to Christ.

Now, James and Patrin meet several times a week to study the Bible, and Patrin remains eager to learn from God’s Word. Patrin is also quick to share how his life has been transformed since he’s chosen to follow Jesus and has been joining James as he continues to visit Roma neighborhoods throughout his city. He’s been instrumental in helping James explain the gospel, and in the span of less than a year, has had the joy of seeing two other men accept Christ.

God has even used the way He drew Patrin to faith to give him an opportunity to share his testimony: When a friend suffered a stroke, Patrin was able to explain how the Lord used his own health crisis to work in his heart and make him willing to leave his old life behind. “Pray that the testimony of this changed Roma man will break through to the hearts of many others around Tirana,” James requests.

Participate by Praying:

  • Praise God for beginning to build His Church among the Roma in Albania!
  • Pray for unity, courage and boldness for Roma believers as they live out and share their faith.
  • Ask the Lord to raise up more believers to serve in the many Roma communities that have yet to be reached with the gospel.

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