ASeventh-day Adventist pastor is bringing health and hope to people in what once was Europe’s poorest nation, Albania. The retired minister, John Arthur of England, has recently made his fifty-first visit to the nation, its capital, Tirana, and rural areas.
“The capital city, Tirana, is like a mini Dubai, with buildings shooting up at a phenomenal rate,” Arthur reported. “Out in the rural villages, however, the situation is still the same. It’s like moving backwards into the Victorian era.”
Arthur continues, “This is where ADRA is making its mark. Forty school buildings and health clinics have been reconstructed during the past 10 years, mainly under the leadership of Lamar Phillips, the current national director of theAdventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). Volunteers from many countries have also played an important role in this modernization program.”
A health center on ADRA’s compound in Kombinat—one of the more deprived areas of Tirana—was opened by Liri Berisha, director of the Albanian Children’s Foundation and wife of the prime minister. This event was covered in the main news bulletin of TOP Channel—Albania’s most popular TV station.
An estimated 120 Seventh-day Adventist Church members and friends from all parts of the country assembled for an ADRA Rally at the central church on March 13. Retired BBC TV journalist Bill Hamilton gave an inspiring talk entitled “Love of God,” based on Romans 8:28. Arthur presented lectures entitled “Celebrating Albania’s Progress” and “An Even Better Day Is Coming.”
The purpose of the visit was to try to resolve some issues relating to ADRA’s 0.49 hectare site in Tirana, which was made available to the agency on a 99-year lease in 1993. Several key players were contacted, including the prime minister, Sali Berisha. A decision will be made by the Council of Ministers in due course.
—Reported by AW Staff with information from John Arthur.