Although not as badly hit as its neighboring country of Italy, Albania has still been affected by the many changes brought on by COVID-19. As in many other places, the government there decided to close all schools and shut down the country.
The lockdown in Albania has been one of the more extreme, however. People there have been advised to go out only for one hour during the day to buy necessary items, like food and medicine. The elderly are ordered to stay inside, and only one person per family may leave the house.
In small towns, the local government delivers food and medicine to each family, while everyone stays home. Harsh penalties have been imposed for those who violate the regulations.
Businesses that have been allowed to continue operating must ensure strict measures of distancing and hygiene for their employees, while many small businesses have been closed completely, costing income and jobs.
All of these hardships are coming at a time when the Albanian economy was already struggling due to the devastating earthquake that occurred in late November of last year, killing 51 people and leaving many buildings unsuitable to live in.
The staff of Words of Hope Albania has been reaching families that have lost their jobs and income. They are helping by preparing food packages and other necessary items for distribution, and although the government has imposed restrictions on the use of private cars, they’ve been able to deliver these packages with special permission.
While brainstorming together about what ways they might be able to use technology in unique ways during the lockdown, the team decided to try a new idea. They put up a 24-hour story post on their social media channels, inviting those who viewed the post to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, and asking those who were making a first-time commitment to write a response to the post.
In just 24 hours, the team received 60 responses! They followed up with each individual to ascertain if they were sincere in their faith and to offer additional support.
All 60 individuals were reached, and each confirmed that on that day they accepted Christ into their lives! One of them, Nikolla, said: “Yes, I lovingly accept him.” Another shared, “Yes, I sincerely accept him with much love! Amen. My heart needs Jesus.” And one father told the team, “I have accepted Jesus since childhood. But now my son accepts him too, and this makes me so happy.”
We praise the Lord for these new commitments and pray that each person continues to grow in their faith.