Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Old and New

 Then they (older women) can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.    Titus 2: 4-5

In a world that is constantly changing and modernizing it is hard to hold on to the "old". We live and serve in Durres, Albania. It is the second largest city in Albania and getting bigger by the day. The city is filled with 7-12 story apartment buildings, traffic and new development. In under all that hustle and bustle are the remains of something so old and beautiful. Walking around the city you can find old Roman ruins and architecture from hundreds of years ago. 

I (Stefanie) teach women's Bible study every Thursday morning and I am the youngest one there. We have 6-7 faithful older women in their 60's-80's who come and listen to the word of God. I love taking this time to teach them but also listen to them to teach me from their years of wisdom. I think we all should respect our elders and spend time learning from them. Let us not assume that they have nothing left to give! God's not finished with them yet! 

 

Arian also spends every Wednesday morning doing a Bible study with the orphaned in the old home. Their faces light up like children when he comes to visit. The residents have been complaining a lot lately about their care and the quality of the food. We pray that the director will listen to their complaints and do better. In the picture is Drita and Muli. 

 

We have had a very hard winter and are praising God that it has finally gotten a little warmer. For a month our household fought some nasty sickness. The motor also blew in the car and after 4 mechanics and 7 weeks we finally got the motor replaced. We are very thankful that God provides and helps when we need it most! 

 

We had a blessed Easter! We took members from the church in Durres and Kavaje to join with Mondi Gjoni and his church in Elbasan. We had a great service and time of fellowship. Thank you Mondi for inviting us!



Thank you for your prayers please keep them coming! 

Prayer needs: 

*Pray that in 2018 the ministry will grow and lives will be changed. Albanian people act like they don't need God, so for God to change their hearts. 

*Pray for us to get some help. We are seeking long term, short term, interns and small groups to come and help us. 
*Pray for Salvation for Arian's parents. They are doing a little better but still need help. 




Thank you for all your prayers and support! We appreciate you and thank God for you all! 


Serving in His name,
Arian & Stefanie Kosta
Stateside address: 148 Wolfe St.  Cohutta, Ga 30710
Albanian Address: L3 Rr Egnatia AP:1043 Durres, Albania
email:kkdurres@gmail.com






Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Clear Vision

I lift up my eyes to the mountains where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

Not to long ago on a trip to Elbasan, Albania we encountered a bad storm. Normally this isn't too big of a problem but that day it was. As Arian was driving the car through the storm, the windshield wipers broke. That is when you realize the true value of a part of the car that you don't use daily. Looking through the rain filled window was quite blurry and very difficult to see. What a difference it makes when your vision is clear! I think this is true in our Christian walk as well. We allow things of life to blur our vision. We really need to stop and focus on our Lord Jesus Christ! This year I want to take more time looking to him and less time focusing on problems that this life brings! 

This past year has been very difficult for us but we are looking forward to the blessings that God is going to provide in 2018. 
Mac Preaching in Kavaje
Right before we were ready to come home for furlough we lost Shpresa, Romi, and Juli on our staff. We were amazed that several people stepped up in the church and also Mac and Diane McClintock were able to come to Albania for a couple weeks as we were serving in America. We appreciate all of this extra help while we were visiting churches. 
October 2- December 6 we had a roller coaster ride visiting churches! We covered 4 states and 8 churches in 8 weeks! We were so grateful to be with each church sharing with them all. We felt the outpouring of encouragement and prayers. Thank you McDonough Christan Church, Hickory Valley Christian Church, First Christian Dalton, First Christian Keswick, Crosspoint Christian church, Colonial Heights Church of Christ, Horsepasture Christian Church,  and Live Oak Church of Christ. We are also very thankful for all of you who invited us to spend time with you in your home, for a meal, or a coffee!
Another praise is that Arian's parents are doing better. They spent time in Athens, Greece with Arian's sister Linda while we were in the states. We pray for continued good health for them in 2018!


Since we have been home we have hit the ground running getting ready for Christmas!  We were blessed by Mission without borders again with food boxes for everyone in the church. We have been giving those out as well as Christmas boxes from Team Hope in Holland for the kids. We were also able to have a lunch together with the ladies of the Women's Bible study in Durres. 


On Christmas Eve we combined the churches from Durres, Kavaje and Mondi Gjoni's church in Elbasan and had a great church and fellowship time with over 50 people! There wasn't much room but we had a wonderful time. Thank you so much Mondi for bringing your church all the way from Elbasan. We hope to cooperate more with Mondi and the church in Elbasan.



On Wednesday before Christmas Arian visited the old home and gave them all thick socks for Christmas. They are always happy when we remember them even if it's only a pair of socks. 


Arian and I went to Kavaje for the day of home visits and to the old home as well. On the way to the old home we kept seeing lots of police. We wondered what was going on. During our visit to the old home came the Albanian president Ilir Meta. We were able to see him. They didn't let us stay for long but we were able to visit some ladies there. We are sad to say that
one of our favorite old home residents died last week Nene Bedria. I (Stefanie) was very sad that I didn't get to see her before she died. She had been very sick and Arian had spent some time with her the week before. We are glad she isn't sick anymore and hope to meet her in Heaven! 

We need your prayers! Please commit to praying for us in 2018! 
Prayer needs: 
*Pray that in 2018 the ministry will grow and lives will be changed. Albanian people act like they don't need God, so for God to change their hearts. 
*Pray for us to get some help. We are seeking long term, short term, interns and small groups to come and help us.
*Pray for David. He has been sick for over a year and needs to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. Even though that is a simple procedure it isn't so simple here in Albania. 


Thank you for all your prayers and support! We appreciate you and thank God for you all! 


Serving in His name,
Arian & Stefanie Kosta
Stateside address: 148 Wolfe St. 
Cohutta, Ga 30710

Albanian Address: L3 Rr Egnatia AP:1043 
Durres, Albania
email:kkdurres@gmail.com

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Are you watering the weeds?

The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one. Matthew 13:38

Walking home after buying two handfuls of groceries a couple of weeks ago I almost ran into a little girl in the middle of the sidewalk. I repositioned my stance and the groceries in my hands and squeezed around her. Why would her parents let her be squatted down in the middle of the sidewalk? What was she doing? She had a small cup and was watering the weeds growing between the sidewalk cracks. This stuck in my head as quite odd. But I think too many times in life we are just like that little girl. With all of our heart we pour out all that we have into weeds of this world and neglect the beautiful thirsty flowers that are around us. I want to pray daily for God to direct my focus to whom he wants and not for me to waste time playing in the weeds. 

Dorian's baptism
We have had an extremely busy summer! We had an intern, Nathanael Schanie from McDonough Christian Church join us for two months. Nathan was a blessing and a great help. Most of his attention was focused on helping Juli with the youth in Kavaje. I have so many pictures of what happened that there isn't enough room to show them all. So, Dorian a newly baptized believer in Kavaje put them in a video for us. You can check out the video here at Summer adventures Some of the summer activities have been a sea Baptism of Dorian, game night, two youth camps and a trip to a conference in Pogradec, Albania, countless youth trips to the mountain and beach, worship and prayer time, serving others in the community, lots of fellowship drinking coffee and playing cards plus lots more! We are very thankful for this eventful summer and sad to see Nathan go!

One of our youth Gloria is having to go back to school for highschool. This is her second year away in Elbasan. We have supported her with housing while she is away. She also has been an amazing help this summer and we are blessed to have her here. She told us that this has been the best summer of her life. Gloria was able to deepen her relationship with Christ this summer. 

Thank you for your prayers for our family! On July 11th, Arian's dad (Naun)'s heart stopped working. They rushed him to Tirana, the capital, to put in a pacemaker. He is doing much better but has some blood clots in his leg and they are worried about them moving and causing a stroke. Please continue to pray for Naun. 

We are very excited about visiting the states in October and November. God has prepared a way for Arian's sister to take care of his parents while we are in the states. Here is our schedule so far of where we will be during our furlough. We would love to see you! 
October 8- McDonough Christian Church, McDonough Ga
October 15- Hickory Valley Christian Church, Chattanooga, Tn
October 22- Horsepasture Christian Church, Horsepasture, Va
October 25- Colonial Heights Church of Christ, Norfolk, Va
October 29- First Christian Church Keswick, Charlottesville, Va
November 5- Crosspoint Christian Church, Conyers, Ga
November 19- Hickory Valley Christian Church, Chattanooga, Tn
December 3- McDonough Christian Church, McDonough Ga


Thank you for all your prayers and support. We love and appreciate you all!  

Serving in His name,
Arian & Stefanie Kosta
Stateside address: 148 Wolfe St.  Cohutta, Ga 30710 
Albanian Address: L3 Rr Egnatia AP:1043 
Durres, Albania
email:kkdurres@gmail.com



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Obedience

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

I think when it comes to our relationship with God we are just like children. Our son, David turns 4 next month. He has a hard time understanding why obedience is better than what you want. We tell him what would Jesus want you to do obey your parents or get what you want. He always responds with, "But I want!" I think a lot of times we are the same way with God. Getting what we want is so much easier than obedience. In those times that we are obedient to God, things always turn out better! 

We have been very blessed with visits the past couple of months. In February Mac and Diane McClintock came to visit. Mac preached in Durres and Kavaje. They are always a blessing to us. Who doesn't need a little help and encouragement every now and then! 

In March we were blessed by David and Linda Marckel. It was their first trip to Albania. When we came home last year we started praying about the possibilty for David and Linda to come we wanted them to see our ministry and share with them what we do in Albania. When they were here, they spent their time working along side of us in the ministry but David also lead two days of leadership training for our staff. We also took one day along with church members on a field trip to Prizren, Kosovoe. We appreciate David and Linda coming to encourage us and being able to go back to Hickory Valley Christian Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee to share with them what we are doing here in Albania. Our David also loved getting to spend time with Mr. Big David! :)
 
We were in great need of Bibles in the church in Kavaje. After Juli searching about where to get some bibles, we found out that the Bible Institute would donate some for us. The youth group in the picture are very happy to have the Bibles now! 

I have told you about Ana and Hekuron in the past. Hekuron just turned four years old. Ana gave birth a year ago to another son. Ana comes to church occasionally and we were able to give all the boys a new pair of shoes when they came. Please continue to pray for Hekuron, he has severe developmental delays

Please continue to pray for Gloria. We are supporting her to go to highschool in Elbasan. She is doing very well in school and making good grades. She is wanting to find a small part time job to help her with expenses. 

Please pray for Fatmira. She is in desperate need of an operation. She has a old wound that has not healed and is infected. The doctors at the state hostpital don't want to do the surgery. They have referred her to the private hospital but they keep giving a different price to do the surgery. Please pray that we can find Fatmira the help that she needs to have this surgery. 


Our sweet Abby just turned one this past week! She is growing so fast! She enjoyed very much her first chocolate cupcake! Please pray that she learns soon how to sleep at night.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. We love and appreciate you all!  

Serving in His name,
Arian & Stefanie Kosta
Stateside address: 148 Wolfe St. 
Cohutta, Ga 30710

 


Albanian Address: L3 Rr Egnatia AP:1043 
Durres, Albania
email:kkdurres@gmail.com





 


  


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Year new perspective!



Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29

Momma always said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!" Good advise momma! This year I have decided not to make a resolution (because who ever keeps them anyway?). I don't want to make a drastic change in my life, I just want to get better. I want to be a better Christian, mom, wife, missionary, and friend. I have been challenged to think of something and focus on it this year. This year my focus will be on encouragement and being patient and loving with people who aren't lovely at times. This includes everyone from my children who are crying and throwing a fit, to the lady that cuts in front of me at the grocery store, to the rude comments I see on social media. I pray that God will help me in the new focus and renewed perspective in 2017! 

We are praying that 2017 will be a better year because 2016 was rather challenging!  We are still keeping a very close eye on Arian's parents. Arian's dad fell down again and is having a problem keeping his blood pressure regulated. Arian's mom is doing much better but she is afraid to leave the house. We also have been without water. Here in Albania you get water for an hour a day and you pump it into a reservoir on the roof. Durres usually doesn't get colder than about 30 degrees. Well this week we have had snow twice and freezing temperatures as low as 18 degrees! So our reservoir on the roof along with all the pipes froze. But Praise the Lord it is warmer today and we got water! You really take for granted simple things like water!! 

We had a great New Year's eve this year! New Years is like the American Thanksgiving plus lots of fireworks shot from building to building. It is an amazing and a little scary at the same time! Arian's parents were here to celebrate with us. Arian's dad insisted that it would be best for Abby to lick the turkey leg. I'm not sure that was the best idea but I guess it didn't kill her. Living fairly near to Arian's parents is great. I just wish that my parents lived nearer and could celebrate with us as well!


Christmas was a very busy time. With having two churches there is a lot of planning to be done. We received Christmas boxes (like samaritan's purse) for the children and boxes of food for each family donated by Mission without borders. We also bought warm thick socks for the 50 residents of the old home. We had a staff Christmas party at our house where we played the White Elephant game, ate a huge meal, and played dominoes (while Dr. Nikolla took a nap). It was a blessed time together as a staff! We celebrated Christmas in Kavaje on Saturday (Christmas eve) and in Durres on Sunday (Christmas Day). The youth group of Kavaje had prepared a skit and a couple of dances for both churches. Also in Durres the men's Bible study group prepared a great skit about getting caught in sin. Definitely a busy time but a blessed time as well as we celebrated or Lord's birth!


















Things have been going great with women's Bible study as well. One day we had 10 ladies in attendance. They are faithful in coming and growing in the Lord. We are very happy about this! 

In September we decided to put David in preschool. He is loving it and having a great time. He was busy learning songs and even had a little part that he spoke himself. He got very nervous and one of his friends helped him. David often speaks about loving Jesus and wanting to be in heaven with Jesus. We pray that he will remain faithful in his love for the Lord! He is also a very good big brother and wanting to smother Abby with kisses all the time! 

Thank you for all your prayers and support! We appreciate you and thank God for you all! 

Serving in His name,
Arian & Stefanie Kosta
Stateside address: 148 Wolfe St. 


Cohutta, Ga 30710
Albanian Address: L3 Rr Egnatia AP:1043 
Durres, Albania
email:kkdurres@gmail.com