For the past six years, Home Moravian Church has partnered with The Moravian Church in Albania to minister to residents of Bathore. Bathore is an informal area created after the 1990’s as people from rural areas of northern Albania looked for a better life.
The Rev. Dana Myers, a founding member of the Home Moravian Albania Task Force, writes:
Albania, in the wake of Communism (which banned religion), remains one of the least religious countries in the world and is the poorest and most corrupt European country. There is no electricity or running water, no paved roads to houses, no doctors, and no means of heating your house or cooking food except a two-burner propane stove or heater. A family of six receives $17 USD a month in assistance.
Ann Radford, one of the leaders of the partnership between Home Church and the Church in Albania, shared, “When we started the project in Bathore, we had no idea what it would bring to the people. We started because we wanted to help the helpless. We knew women are the most marginalized part of the society in Bathore, so we wanted to offer help for them.”
Conditions in Albania
Vjollca Mazi, a church leader in Albania, said:
We wanted to help some of the poorest of the poor by giving financial support in form of food supply, but we do not want to bind them in a dependency situation. So the second step was to give women the opportunity of learning skills, with a perspective of being self-reliant. The third part is to teach them the Gospel, and that way help them to get the spiritual and mental ballast to fight for themselves. In a manner of speaking, we want to give them a fish, but also give them a fishing rod and teach them to fish.
In 2016 Home Church began a Family to Family program, sending money to the Moravian Church in Albania to purchase food packages for families in Bathore. $40 a month can feed a family of 4 or 5 members. Packages include flour, sugar, rice, beans, pasta, cooking oil, salt, soap, and detergent.
The partnership has grown as the Moravian Church in Albania’s ministry has grown. They now lead classes in Bathore, teaching illiterate women to read, write, and do simple math. They also as provide cooking and sewing courses, and have offered classes on social issues including domestic violence against women.
Thanks to your generosity to the Moravian Hunger & Thirst Field of Interest Fund, Home Moravian Church’s Bathore Project received $25,000 in 2022. That money provided food to 45 families.
Rev. Dena Fortuzi, the first ordained Moravian minister in Albania, shared:
Many recipients of the food distribution attend the weekly church services. Receiving the food brought many of the families to the church initially, but most have become members and attend church and classes regularly. In addition, they have established a trusting relationship with the leaders of the church.
“We hope and pray that we can continue building trust and show our sisters in Bathore why we do what we do – and have more opportunities to share the gospel. Our final aim is always the strengthening and growth of the church.