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Dragash, Kosova, 28-31 October 2008
In the south west corner of Kosova is an area around the towns of Dragash and Brod with around 28 villages, half in Kosova and half in Albania, which are home to approximately 30,000 Goran people. Incidentally, there are also quite a lot of Goran people living in Luxembourg and Chicago. These people are a mixture of Kosovan, Albanian and Macedonian, and because they are not from one people group, they have over the years been shunned to the mountain hills, where they are sheep and cattle farmers. They have no written language and there is no church in this area.
Our desire is to distribute the Gospel tapes/CDs to the people we meet in Dragash and the neighbouring villages. The Lord has provided the funds for Language Recordings (Kenny and Joan) to produce approximately 1,500 tapes/CDs for which we are very grateful. Our long term plan is to see a church established there.
It has taken us 8 years to find a Goran person able to record the translation of his Christian testimony and Christian worship song into the Goran language and on to CD. Our Goran volunteer is Mukin, a Christian musician and hunter from a Goran village just over the Albanian border near Kukes. We plan to link up with Mukin in Dragash in order to:
1 - Go prayer walking in a number of the Goran mountain villages surrounding the main town of Dragash. We want to spend some time asking the Lord to shine the light of His love into the hearts of the Goran people, many of whom have never heard about the love of Christ.
2 - Establish a list of contacts in the area that we can follow up in future months either with aid, shoeboxes or Christian literature.
3 - Have available children's books in Albanian ready for distribution to Albanian speaking families.
4 - Distribute a small amount of aid to poor and needy families if appropriate, ie blankets, toiletries, shoes, clothes etc.
Over 500 years ago Skenderberg the famous Kosovan warrior whose photos and statutes are featured all over the country defeated the reign of the Turks. During the Turkish reign many of the nominal Christians were forced to become nominal Muslims by a tax that was imposed by the Government, ie if you were a Mulsim adherent then you could earn money tax-free, but if you were a Christian, Catholic or nominal Protetstant you were taxed. Many of the poor farmers could not afford the tax, and consequently defected to become Muslims. So, really our mission is to see the Goran people come back to the roots of Christianity which Skenderberg promoted in this ancient land of Illyricum, which the apostle Paul travelled through on his way to Rome as features in the Acts of the Apostles.
We need to be culturally sensitive, ie we cannot do street evangelism and we need to be discrete as we walk and pray. We ask God to soften and open the hearts of the mountain people to receive the gospel message.
We need to ask God to open doors of opportunity for contact with people who may wish to try out their English on real English-speaking people.
Men need to remember that they must not go into the home unless the man of the house is present, as this could cause misunderstanding and be a hindrance to our witness. However, women may well be invited into widow's homes and this would be a great opportunity to share the gospel CDs so that they can hear the testimony and music in their own language.
We need to pray that God will provide opportunities to pray for people who may be sick or living with difficult situations.
As far as we are aware, there has not been an outreach to the Goran region in Kosova before, therefore we need to be open and available to the creativity of the Holy Spirit as He leads us to the people of his choice, so that we might share the love of Jesus with the Goran people.
We can be confident of this, that God will go before us and with us and that He will glorify Himself as we faithfully sow seeds of love in this remote mountain region.