Children’s Hunger Fund is excited to announce its latest Mercy Network – Albania. This spring, CHF launched the new Mercy Network with 10 churches in and around the major city of Korçë, which will be serving 60 families consistently.
God has transformed the religious landscape of this country in only a few short decades. Until the early 1960’s, Albania was run by a Communist government. In 1967, Albania became the world’s first atheist country, and Albanians were discouraged from practicing any form of religion. Those who chose to participate in outward religious activity faced the possibility of violent consequences.
Communism later fell, but the country found itself thrown into chaos in the late 1990s, when civil war broke out. During this instability, many Christian missionaries were removed from Albania, either for their own safety or by the request of mission agencies. However, a few stayed behind despite the threat of danger.
Culture in Albania
In Albania, you’ll find a highly relational society, full of close-knit and intimate communities. During the day in the city of Korçë, cafes are filled with men of all ages, while women take care of children and work. Many men find themselves unemployed, due to the lack of suitable job opportunities Years of instability has made Albania one of the poorest countries in Europe, where the average monthly income for someone is between $300-400 USD.
Evangelical Church of Korçë
Most of the 10 Albanian churches that make up the Mercy Network were planted from a central church, called Evangelical Church of Korçë. This church is responsible for starting and running a multitude of ministries that take place in their community. They include:
- Children’s Day Center for street kids
- Safe home for girls – home to nearly 10 girls who are protected and cared for
- Elderly home – the church financially supports some, while others pay for their own board and care
- Prison ministry
- Women’s shelter
- Education for special needs children
- Community theater
- VBS and sports camps
- Church planting
The people within the Evangelical Church of Korçë have a clear vision of what the Lord is doing in Albania, and they are determined to reclaim the name of Christ in their communities.
Refugee Care in Greece
In addition to ministry within their own community, the Evangelical Church of Korçë has been serving at a refugee camp in Idomeni, Greece. This ministry began in 2016 when Macedonia closed off its border, causing thousands of refugees to be stranded.
When the refugee team from the church first arrived in Idomeni, they asked what they could do to help, and were told they could assist by cleaning the camp. They picked up trash, cleaned the camp bathrooms, and swept around the living areas. Through these simple acts of service, the team has been able to forge relationships with those in the camp.
CHF in Albania
CHF is coming alongside the existing ministry of these churches, and providing additional tools for outreach. This includes containers of Food Paks, as well as financial support for things like travel expenses and vehicles. With the help of Food Paks and other aid, church volunteers have what they need to engage in Relational Mercy Ministry.
We are encouraged by the ongoing work of these churches, and their clear compassion for their neighbors. They have already sacrificed their time, money, and energy for the sake of making Christ known to others. We pray that we can help deepen the important ministry that is already taking place.