Christmas in Albania

Andrew Opari

READ : Matthew 4:12-17

Christmas in Albania after Communism? It would have been unbelievable and totally unacceptable 12 years ago. This tiny country in Europe was suffering under the most severe stalinist-style dictatorship. If anyone would venture to celebrate the birth of our Savior, they risked imprisonment and deportation.

I happened to be in Albania for Christmas 2001. I was invited by some young people of “Radio 7,” the newest Christian radio station in Albania. Going to the radio station was not very easy. We were lucky to get the bus, which dropped us off at the last bus stop. After walking down a wet unpaved road, jumping over muddy pools, we reached the radio station. I entered the half-finished building, expecting to find some electronic equipment, a warm studio and people busy with the radio work. But only one room was carpeted, named as “the prayer retreat.” The others were covered with old greyish linoleum.

Some boys and girls invited me to another room with tables, loaded with cakes and other home-made delicacies, for their Christmas celebration. Everyone greeted me saying: “Welcome to our new Christian station, which, Lord willing, will start broadcasting Christian programs soon.” (Cont’d July 17)

– Andrew Opari

PRAYER

Lord, I thank you for changing people and nations.