Friday, June 26, 2009

Gregor's Story

Gregor was a 24 year-old artist from Albania. Although open to spiritual matters during initial contact with International Teams missionaries, his English was severely limited (and our Albanian was non-existent). After viewing the "Jesus" video in his mother tongue, it was obvious that he was very moved. When asked his opinion about it he said that as a movie it was not so special but as he watched it he began to think, "What if these things about Jesus are true? What if He is really like this?" He said that there was like a battle going on between his head and his heart, and at the end of the film he had prayed the "sinner's prayer" and asked Jesus into his heart.

Although he had prayed the "sinner's prayer" on that day, it was really about a week later when during a follow-up visit that the message of the Gospel was clearly understood by Gregor. It was as if a light had clicked on. From that day, Gregor had an insatiable hunger for God's Word, a passionate desire to do God's will, and a consuming burden for the lost. Although meek and mild-mannered in his personality, Gregor has been gifted by the Holy Spirit with the gift of evangelism and has been instrumental in leading many other Albanians to the Lord.

While Gregor was still in Athens he led to the Lord his parents, a cousin, and half a dozen friends IN ALBANIA through correspondence with them. As a result they started a home fellowship in Shkoder, through which others came to the Lord. In Athens, Gregor led (or helped lead) several Albanians to the Lord, including his sister, brother-in-law, and his Muslim room-mate. Gregor's English quickly and dramatically improved. He spent large quantities of time in prayer, discipleship studies, and evangelism training.

Before he had come to Christ it had always been his dream to leave Albania and try to get to America where he would be free to express his artistic gifts. However, now he began to sense that God was calling him to return as a witness to his fellow countrymen.

In October 1992, Gregor returned to his home city, certain of God's calling on his life but unclear about how to implement it. He later entered a YWAM DTS (in cooperation with Frontiers) in Tirana that had a special emphasis on church-planting in Albania. A team was formed and an outreach in Shkoder resulted in a church plant that continues to grow in impact until this day. They have been active in evangelistic outreach to remote mountain villages in Albania as well as their own city. They were active during the Kosovar refugee crisis (at the request of the government and in cooperation with a few other churches) in running a transit center for 3,000 refugees a day, and developing an outreach program to them out of their church. They have been active in both evangelistic and discipleship ministry in Kosovo.

Some time after Gregor's parents came to the Lord they entered a YWAM DTS and were both used to lead people to the Lord and help plant the first church ever in a mountain city of 15,000 previously unreached for Christ. One of the young men they led to Christ became a part of that church plant and later joined Campus Crusade for Christ where he not only actively shared his faith with others but was very active in ministry around the country training others to share their faith as well. Now he works for World Vision.

Gregor and his wife Kela, with their two young boys, moved to Kosovo in January 2004 to begin a church-planting ministry there. They currently (as of 2009) have 3 boys and are on a team with other missionaries in the area, and are all working in unity to bring Kosovars to Jesus.

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