Reclaiming FacebookSo I decided recently to get going on the social media side and use Facebook to broadcast what is happening at MRBC. Immediately I hit problems. Do I use the Facebook profile set up years ago when that was all Facebook offered, or should I use the Facebook Place Page that seemed to have been auto created because someone checked in there, or what about the group set up some years back that I am actually an admin for?
These days the route to social media has become clear, I needed to clam and use the Facebook page. Therefore we are now live on https://www.facebook.com/mrbcuk .
This was not without problems. The old group is now archived, so that the page is used in preference, but how do I take over the old profile? I never had the login details, and the guy who set it up can nolonger access it as Facebook have shut it down saying it is an organisation and so should be a page instead. Great, I want that. But if you type in Monnow Road Baptist Church, the profile gets the link not the page! The profiel is still there, still visible and totally inaccessible, How do you contact Facebook to correct this? I don't know. Once access is lost there seems to be no way back and no way to remove it from the internet.
Hopefully one of my many attempts to communicate with Facebook will reach a real person. In the mean time if you get the profile, not the page there is a way to correct that in a post, but only not on a laptop.
PeaceFrom our recent Bible studies on the Fruit of the Spirit:Peace has many different uses today. Peace can mean absence of war or an inner state of mind. It has been used as a greeting or a description of a quiet place.In the Old Testament, peace (shalom) meant more than just peace. It was an all-encompassing word that covered mental, physical, and emotional well-being as well as harmony between people and a blessing for the good of others. In the new Testament it says that Jesus is our peace, in faxct he came to bring peace between man and God.1) Peace is used in some unfamiliar ways in these passages. How can you leave peace John 14:26-27? How can peace rest on homes or return to people Matthew 10:12-14?Jesus left his peace with us, peace with form, the Holy Spirit. In the old testament the Holy Spirit would come and go, now it is here to remain.2) How can peace rule? Colossians 3:15-16 What do you think it means to “let peace rule in your heart”?It is only when we allow the Holy Spirit to rule in our lives that we truly experience peace, for if we are at peace with God, we will be at peace with ourselves, and this peace is infectious.Some more questions:1) Do you let peace rule in your heart? What would that look like in your life, how would it change?2) When you greet people, do you offer peace to those you meet? do you do so in words only, or is it as the Bible describes it?
James + Lori News from Albania (September 2014)September 2014, prayer letter from AlbaniaDear friends – greetings from Gjirokaster, Albania and love in Christ,Our last news letter was back in June and as anticipated between then and now we had lots going on. Thank you to all who were praying for us over the past months. There has been a lot to be grateful for. The camps went really well and outreach in villages in the evenings was encouraging. As school term starts we are turning our attention to restarting weekly activities and following up on contacts made at camps.CampsBetween the team here, we were involved in 10 weeks of camps. Thank God that over 400 children went through these. I had asked people to pray that we would get new children coming from rural areas – in the end we did indeed have a good number from villages.5 of these were day camps (children coming in the daytime only) these were held in Gjirokaster, Tepelena and Ballsh. As well as being great fun, it was a joy to see children and teenagers hearing the Gospel for the first time. Another camp was aimed at families and, although there were less numbers than anticipated, it was very significant for several families in particular who reacted positively to the Gospel presentations and asked more questions. The involvement of volunteers from the UK was essential to make these camps happen. A big thank you to those who came and helped.Shaun Thompson has put together a more detailed report on these camps - please ask me if you’d like it.Open air outreachWe spent several evenings doing open-air evangelism over the Summer as we’ve done previous years. We went back to the village of Chepun where we held an activity over 2 nights. This year less adults turned out for this though there were many children. In the village of Zhulat, high in the mountains, volunteers from the UK helped us sing some songs and Shaun shared a message with those who gathered. This went really well and the men of the village hardly let us go afterwards! The villagers of Zhulat are mainly ‘Bektashi-muslims’ and in the past though friendly, have been cautious. It’s great to see them being much warmer to us and our message – but of course we long to see conversions. Several other villages were visited over the course of the summer but a particularly memorable evening was spent in one of the poorer neighbourhoods of Gjirokaster. Over the past year Petrit has been starting a new work there and there seems to be an open door there for the Gospel at the moment.What to pray for of the coming weeks and months.Restarting youth clubs. At this time (September) those involved in youth clubs will be meeting to decide how to go forward and were to focus our time. We really need wisdom and guidance here as decisions made will be for the whole year. Many new children and young people attended camps – but would they come to weekly or monthly youth clubs? It’s impossible to know unless we try. We’ve previously had clubs in three cities; Gjirokaster, Tepelena and Ballsh. We hope to do the same again. For several of these groups we hope to do Bible overviews.Young men - pray for Ervin and Cheti who are two 17-year-olds who have been regulars at our lads meeting over the past couple of years. I’m going to be inviting them to commit to doing a Bible study with me over the next year.Village outreach I hope to restart going to villages weekly to do evangelism. Last year I taught English in villages schools with the purpose of building bridges with people there. This led to many conversations and opportunities to give out literature. To restart I need the permission of the new headmasters and of the new head of education in Gjirokaster. Please pray that I get this.Preaching We will be starting new series both on Sundays and for the Wednesday night Bible study. We've chosen to go through Thessalonians on Wednesdays and do a series on 'people who met Christ' on Sundays. We very much need the Lord's blessing as we study and prepare for messages. Please pray for Petrit, Shaun and myself in particular.Wider NewsIt just became world news that in Kosovo many Albanians were being recruited by mosques to become jihadist fighters for IS. Over 200 Kosovar Albanians have traveled to the Middle East so far which is a lot for a country of 1.8 Million. Thankfully the government there has been pushed to take action against extremist groups that they had been ignoring for a while. Islam has a stranglehold on the lives of many Albanians in Kosovo. Please pray for believers sharing the Gospel with Albanians in Kosovo who follow the false prophet.Family NewsJohn really enjoyed being at camps and swimming (with arm-bands) in the sea. John has just started nursery school. This is a big step for him and for us too! The beginning will be a bit difficult for Joihn as he’s not used to being away from us. Lot’s of other children were crying for the same reason the first few days and this made it even more scary for John!Ana is now 6 months now and is doing well. She’ll a real joy to us all.Lori will be doing a little bit of English teaching at home starting soon – this will give her something to break up the week with and also provide valuable points of contact in the neighbourhood. Please pray for our witness to our neighbours and more boldness and wisdom in sharing the gospel with them. One of our neighbours was ill recently and we asked her if we could pray for her – she was very happy to accept and this led to an interesting conversation about prayer. Another good conversation was had with her husband who is a practising Bektashi muslim.New car – it became apparent over the Summer that I’d soon be needing a new car – my current one has low ground clearance and can’t get to the more remote villages. In this letter I was going to ask if anyone felt led to contribute to this, but news already got out via Paul Davies, and amazingly the amount that I was aiming at has already come it! Praise God for providing and a big thank you to those who gave.I’m looking online at vehicles in Germany and looking at getting something that I could use both for villages and for outings with young people – something like a VW transporter with seats. This would be a real asset to the work. Please pray that I find something suitable that would be both reliable and useful. If anyone has contacts in Germany that might be able to help put me up for a couple of nights or help look at cars please let me know.We continue to be encouraged and amazed at God’s grace and might. Thank you again for your gifts and prayer support. Above all please continue to pray that God would be at work – through his Spirit – convicting and convincing people to turn to Him. We pray that same for the communities that you live in wherever that may be.In ChristJames, Lori, John & Ana“ And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” Acts 17:26-27
Latest news from James and Lori - June 2014June 2014. Prayer letter from AlbaniaDear friends, warm greetings from Gjirokaster Albania!The summer is upon us and the weather here is warming up. God willing we will have lots of activities and outreach during the next months. School holidays are very long in Albania; from mid June until September! So there's plenty of opportunity to run camps. Apart from this, the hot days always bring people outside – especially in the evenings when the sun is less strong. In villages in 'the cool of the day' the squares become filled with people simply sitting around, and in town the main streets are filled with strollers.We have a message of eternal importance that we wish to bring to children and adults alike! How can we best do this? How do we reach the right people? How can we present the message of Jesus to children and young people in a way that they can understand clearly? How can we best use the time? These are some of the questions that we face each year.But ultimately we are very aware that it is the Lord who saves. We are so dependent on Him to be at work in people's hearts, in circumstances, and in our own hearts too. Please then, do pray for us over the next few months for these things.Below is a calendar of events in the Summer, and below that a few explanations.
1st -18th Registrations for camps.
18Th – 27th Day camps in Gjirokaster 1 & 2
22nd Geni and Nikoleta's wedding!
30th – 4th Day camp in BallshJuly:
7th - 11th Day camps in Tepelena
12th - 19th Beach Camp for children from villages
19th – 26th Beach Camp for children from townsAugust:
4th-17th Village and town outreach
23rd-30th Evangelistic Family Camp.
Beach Camps for Children
We're actually half way through registering children for our Summer camps now. We always have a lot of children who want to come from the towns, the challenge is choosing which children to take. This year we aimed to have a week just for children from outside the main towns (from villages and small towns). It's a lot harder to get children from these places to come. Parents often don't give their consent. As I've mentioned before we hope that trust built up during out English teaching and through the Operation Christmas Child program might open a door here. Teachers and headmasters of schools have been very positive so far and have helped a lot. This week we will be going back to several schools to collect application forms. Please pray that parents would give their children permission to come – especially from villages. Pray also for registraions in towns that God would overrule in who we take.Day Camps in Gjirokaster, Tepelena & Ballsh
These are for younger chilren. They come in the mornings but sleep at home. As you can see from the calendar we will be having these in three places. Around 50-60 children are due to come for each camp, so over 200 children in total. As with the beach camps – these are all from non-christian families. This will be an opportunity for them to hear the Gospel.
We plan to spend some time in August focusing on outreach in villages in the evenings. We're still planning this, but it will probably involve some open-air preaching as well as other activities. We usually use the projector to show a short film as it helps to draw a crowd and if there are children, we have a separate children's program. We hope to go to some of the villages that have given us a warm welcome in the past, as well as some of the more remote ones. Last year New Testaments were given to individuals that showed interest.Evangelistic Family Camp.
This is a camp for non-christian families. There are evangelistic talks in the evenings and plenty of opportunity in the day time during meals and beach time for personal witness. It's aimed at reaching whole families – so is quite unique in this respect.
Ana is doing well and had her first vaccines without any problems. John is excited about the summer and is looking forward to swimming in the sea (as is Daddy)! Lori has enjoyed being home and seeing her friendsOther news: Geni Dogani, our close friend and pastor in Memaliaj, is getting married at the end of June!Thank you for your interest, prayer and support,James, Lori, John & Ana