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Eastern EUROPE

The Bible tells us that "obedience is better than sacrifice"! So when Pastor Billy Jo Daughtery asked for missionaries to go to Albania, we looked at each other and knew that he was speaking to us, (even though we thought we were to go to China)!  A few weeks later, we landed in Tirane, Albania.  WE LOVED THE PEOPLE!  Though conditions were difficult - for example, it was nearly impossible to buy toilet paper or nails or even a paper cup.  The CocaCola company was the only place that had paper cups, which they willingly donated for our outreaches!

We loved working with the Albanian Bible school students; certainly some of the most gifted people anywhere.  Most of them spoke several languages.  But since Albania had been under communist rule for 50 years, people felt they could not trust anyone!  It became especially difficult when Lumteria, a little mountain girl, wanted to come to Bible.

Lumteri loved God and somehow heard about our Victory Bible school in Tirane. She wanted to attend, but had no place to stay.  We tried to pay several different families to keep her, but the answer was always "no"!  Everyone was afraid of her many brothers whom they felt would steal from them.  Finally, we decided to keep her.  However, that proved to be difficult too. We lived above a Muslim family in Kombinati and when they heard we were keeping her, they threatened to throw us out.  We asked them to give us one week.  Within that short time, Lumteri won their trust.  
The first English words she learned were, "I'm not hungry!"  She felt so embarrassed because she was staying for free, that she tried to fast the whole week!  Finally, we had to get Keti to explain to her that all we had came from God and she was as entitled to it as much as we were.  Finally, she ate.  
Lumteri graduated from Bible School and still loves God today.  We are in touch.

Lumteria's brother came for Bible school for a semester and took the class on Christian Marriage.  When test time came, one of the questions was:  Name 2 main qualities you would look for in a wife.  Of course, we were looking for answers such as: One who loves God, follows His ways, and/or raise a family to know God.  So you could imagine our surprise to read his answers:
1. Strong back and 2. Good teeth! Certainly the hardships of mountain life change one's priorities.  We hope he got both a strong wife and one who loves God!

​Mergen, who also attended University, came to ask if we could talk with his Dad, as he had forbidden him to continue in the Bible School. (His Dad felt he couldn't keep up studies at 2 places).  So, we made the journey to his village.  When we entered their home, it was clear that Mergen was quite nervous; his father was sitting with a very serious face on the other side of the room.  After talking for some time, his father still did not give his consent for Bible School. Finally, Larry opened the Bible and read from Exodus 20.  He quoted, Honour your Father and Mother.  Mergen looked like, "are you kidding?!"  Larry went on to explain that he knew his father cared deeply for Mergen and just wanted the best for him.  But he also said that God is a Father too, and wants the best for His children. and that as a Christian, Mergen needed to know Him better.  So Larry told him, "Let's give Mergen a chance; if his University grades drop while he is in the Bible School, I will personally ask him to stop coming to school."  His father agreed.  Needless to say, Mergen did excellent in both schools.  Today, he honors God through his successful web design business.

Luan, Olie, and Iler had been so faithful and hardworking...showing up for every outreach, church service, and team meetings that Larry felt it would be wonderful to treat them to a Pastor's Conference in Germany.  Pastor James Kennedy from Florida was the keynote speaker and many pastors from all over Europe were attending.  His first preaching was a powerful Salvation message.  Iler asked Larry, "Why is he preaching about salvation?  We are all pastors!"  He got his answer; when Pastor Kennedy asked for those who wanted to be saved to come forward, the alter was full!  We so appreciated Luan, Olie, and Iler - they helped expand the ministry through their sheer love for God & willingness to serve.


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