Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Air Conditioner, ice chips, and $10 ~~~

The summer heat has been brutal, even by Albanian standards it is hotter than normal for July.  I have a wonderful A/C-heater unit that works very well, I purchased it jointly with my landlord almost two years ago.

Three days the evening, small ice chips started flying out from my A/C unit.  I turned the unit off thinking I had it running too cold...I keep it on about 80 degrees because electricity is crazy expensive here. The next evening, the same thing happened, only the pieces of ice were much bigger.  I spoke with my pastor, Tom Grimes, and he had never heard of anything like that before. I am pretty sure he wondered what was really going on in my apartment..??? 

Another friend told me that they had their A/C unit worked on yesterday, using a man from one of the local churches.  This afternoon the A/C repairman and his two sons came to look at my A/C.  

Enter my landlady...!  (and more drama than was needed)

She was not happy that I called this man to look at "our" A/C unit.  Finally she gave in and left us alone.  The filters were rinsed off in my bathtub, put back into place and that was it. The A/C guy looked over everything else, gave me some tips for best results with this type of A/C...and I paid him $10.  

If you hear someone laughing really loudly...that would be my landlady...she started laughing when she found out that I paid this man $10.  He was here for about 35 minutes...he did a service for me, taught me how to clean my own filters, and I learned something my mind $10 was a bargain. How much is a service call in the US...even if they don't fix anything...???

I guess the $10 was worth hearing my landlady laugh...she and her husband have been really stressed out lately. 

Yes, life in Albania still makes me laugh...!  ;-)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

marrëdhënie ~~~

The last few months I have started Albanian language lessons, again.  I felt I was at a place in ministry that required me to take my language skills to a higher level.  My current teacher is very encouraging, and she is pushing me to take all the "stuff" I have learned in the past, and putting it all together and using it correctly. This is still the most difficult part of ministry for me, but I am trying and working at using my Albanian language skills more often, more consistently, more confidently.

Two weeks ago my teacher shared with me a very cool word...

marrëdhënie is an Albanian word, translated it is the word for "relationship"...


when the word is broken into it's parts, marrë means "take/receive", and dhënie is a form of the verb "to give".  

Isn't that such a wonderful word for relationship? Relationship is about giving and taking, but the order of the words is very interesting..."take" is first, and then "give".  That is how it is with our "relationship" with God...we "receive" from Him first, and then we "give".  In any isn't about giving to others first, it is about receiving and then giving. 

When I come across this word, or use it in a conversation, it makes me smile...! Such a wonderful reminder of my "relationship" with my Abba Father. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Feeling like "Queen for a Day"...!

Sometimes patients or mothers of my little ones bless me with special gifts. Often it is fruit or something from their garden or their pantry.  I understand that this culture does not understand "grace"...a gift of helping with no strings or expectations from the receiver.

Last week I saw a new little girl in Elbasan at the Catholic orphanage. Amalia is 10 months old and she has some serious developmental issues, and she is blind. The mom carried Amalia, the huge fuschia plant in the photo below and a huge bouquet of flowers she bought for me.  I gave the bouquet to some friends to enjoy, and took the fuschia plant to my home.

Today...another surprise.  The mom brought me another huge bouquet of flowers. In the package was: 2 hydrangea, 10 roses, 3 tiger lilies, many dahlias of all shapes and colors and a gladiola.  I cut a plastic 2 liter bottle for one vase...both vases are packed full of flowers.   I asked the mom to save her money...that she didn't need to buy me flowers each week...the therapy is my free gift to her and little Amalia.  

Carrying that huge bouquet into my apartment...I felt like a "queen"...or like I had just won a beauty pageant.  

I love God's surprises...