.. Families of prisoners do come to our church, you know!?
We spoke with one of our volunteers, and he had a big smile on his face when he told that families of prisoners come to church, even when the help has stopped!
A pastor was asked to give his testimony on our volunteer meeting. He said: ‘I’m supposed to tell you how much impact the program has on our beneficiaries, but I have to tell you that the biggest impact of your programs has been for myself! Often I had no belief for changes or improvement, but now I see the changes in the lives of the families we work with, day by day.’

Another story was about our Dream Academy. A young girl of a very very poor family expressed her desire to become a Lawyer. Her dear mentor actually had no belief that that would ever happen. Nowadays, the young girl is still highly motivated and gets the best marks of the complete school for English and many other subjects!

Little Children growing up!
This week our children’s social worker sent us some pictures of this years’ Summer Camp for 80 children of prisoners. They had a wonderful time. What filled me with even more joy was that I saw 4 camp leaders were from oúr youth program!
At the time that I’m writing this message, Gezim, one of our Dream Academy students is assisting a team of electricians to gain experience and earn some money.

A Missionary Church in Every Prison
It’s for sure not easy to plant a missionary church in a prison.  Men are reserved to not become vulnerable in the eyes of the other inmates, police is not cooperative in bringing the interested men to the meetings, educators come up with changing lists because of their own agenda, meeting places that are unusable etc… and than our own people are time after time not allowed into prison.

Hebr. 10:23-24 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works

Many promising stories can be told though – of incarcerated men often waiting for hours until our chaplain is finally allowed to enter prison and start Bible teaching; of chaplains that are invited into the cells of the prisoners to pray with them; of administration giving us a place to meet with the prisoners and of a chief of police apologising to our chaplain for not allowing him into prison (after his director told him so…)

celebrating together – prison staf, prisoners and us

Easter in the Prisons
Many of our colleagues have celebrated Easter in prison, with the encarcerated men and women they  serve to every day. A feast of Hope and new beginning in a place where all hope is lost and endless waiting is the daily routine.
Ylli, our chaplain, spent time with one prisoner who is depressed because his wife has abandoned their little children, 2 and 6 years old. In such cases prison walls are literally insurmountable barriers.

Capacity Building and New Staff members
As we’re ready to give our best to the prisoners and their families, we need to increase our best! Time after time we organise moments for increasing our capacity – during staff meetings, single days and seminar-retreats.

At the same time our volunteer mentors for our Dream Academy are also eager to learn more. Wonderful people who have dedicated themselves to guide and support our Dream Academy pupils every two weeks for their personal growth.
Recently we were able to hire new colleagues and increase some others their contract hours. After summer we will happily present them to you.

Now what?
As you understand, there is much to do and we’re grateful to God that we indeed can dó many good things.
Galatians 6: 9, 10 is our motivation:

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

We are planning a new project –  Ending the Emptiness.
Men and women in Albanian prisons  are offered hardly any to none activity to break the endless dull daily routine. Many inmates grow weary.
With our project, we offer writing activities to inmates in at least 6 prisons. The program aims at breaking the emptiness, re-connecting with their family again and collecting inmates opinions for publishing in several books.
More info on this project you can find here

You can help us continue to do our work. You’ll find all needed information by clicking this link.

 

May your summer brings relaxation, joy and rest.

God bless!

Fred Westerink
Exec. Director Shkbsh Prison Fellowship Albania



Summer Update Prison Fellowship Albania
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3 thoughts on “Summer Update Prison Fellowship Albania

  • 23 July 2019 at 09:56
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    Good morning Fred an Team
    I’m always again deep touched, to read about your work in Albania!
    For the Salvation Army I work in prisons in Bern and Thun, Switzerland, much of the clients are from Albania … an will be deported to Albania, most of them with many years expulls for Switzerland an EU (Schengen).

    I’m looking forward, to spend some day in Albania with you. I will write a e-mail to Fred.
    Thanks for all your work, motivation and beeing there for the prisoners!
    marianne wiedmer

    Marianne Wiedmer
    Gerontologin MAS, Angehörigen-Supporterin DAS
    Justizvollzugsverantwortliche SAZ
    Diakon Gefängnisdienst
    marianne.wiedmer@heilsarmee.ch
    Büro +41 31 388 05 91 | Mobil +41 76 318 35 92 DI, DO & FR
    Stiftung Heilsarmee Schweiz
    Laupenstrasse 5 | Postfach, 3001 Bern
    heilsarmee.ch

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  • 23 July 2019 at 21:14
    Permalink

    Mooie verhalen weer Fred, het is duidelijk dat er veel zegen rust op jullie werk.
    Dat nog veel gevangenen bevrijding mogen vinden in het geloof in de Heer Jezus Christus!

    Reply
  • 24 July 2019 at 19:31
    Permalink

    It is very clear from this summer update that the focus of Sh.K.B.Sh. is on reaching outward, to those living in the margins of Albanian society.
    It makes for very encouraging reading, but one of my own summer highlights came when I called in at the Sh.K.B.Sh. office unexpectedly.
    There was nothing unusual about it: a warm welcome, kind enquiries as to my own wellbeing, a feeling of togetherness, a sense of optimism about our work and a willingness to bow our heads in prayertogether – right in the middle of the working day.
    All of this is significant, since it is out of this environment that the daily, outward looking activity comes from. You could say that this was going to the heart of the operation – and as we know ‘the heart is the wellspring of life’.
    Keep your hearts strong.

    Richard.

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