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We believe in motivating and equipping Albanian Christians to share God’s love within the country of Albania and also beyond its borders. We help plant and strengthen churches, especially in areas of Albania where Christ is least known.
Albania is a small and mostly mountainous nation, with a long Adriatic coastline, and land borders with Greece, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro. Until 1991, Albania was subject to one of communism’s harshest and most isolationist regimes, which left it one of Europe’s poorest and least-developed countries. Although much progress has since been made in raising living standards and renewing the infrastructure, Albania is still very poor. Traditionally a rural economy, many people have left the countryside to seek work in the city, or in other countries such as Italy and Greece.
Before the Ottoman Empire came in the 14th century, the lands which are modern Albania were Catholic and Orthodox. About half a millennium of Turkish rule left much of Albania with a Muslim identity, but the Catholic and Orthodox faiths survived. After the Second World War, the communists ruthlessly suppressed all religious identity and practice, famously declaring in 1967 that Albania was the world’s first atheist state.
After the fall of communism, many people returned to the religious identities which their families had previously held; the early 1990s saw much outreach activity by evangelical believers from abroad. OM was one of the first mission agencies to enter Albania after the end of communism, discovering a great spiritual hunger, especially amongst young people. By the mid 90's, OM had planted four churches.
Today in Albania, religious freedom remains. Many people have a nominal faith as Muslim, Catholic or Orthodox but for many, practice is heavily tinged with folk-beliefs and superstition. Evangelicals make up around 0.6% of the population. As the number grows, OM Albania seeks to encourage and resource the church, and where no churches exist, we aim to plant locally-led ones.
OM Ministry in Albania
Church Planting and Development
OM Albania wants to restore their focus on reaching areas where there are few or no believers, to plant or help plant churches, to evangelise and to disciple people to serve as lights in their communities. The vision is to help develop the future workers and leaders of the church in Albania. The Church Planting and Development team leads various Bible studies, runs prayer meetings and evangelical sewing and baking courses, as well does worship training, amongst other things.
In many cities there is a Roma/Gypsy community who are often not well thought of, have very low self-esteem, and generally have low education and very few opportunities for work. OM Albania has worked with the Roma/Gypsy community for over 15 years. Emmanuel Centre, based in the town of Lushnjë, is sharing God's love with families through kids and youth work, Bible studies, house visits, material help and supporting their educational development. Our vision is to share the gospel with this community and for them to discover their dignity and value. We aim to see them become an active part of the local church, involved in ministry and discipling others in their community.
Special Needs Ministry
A number of children in Albania have disabilities, learning difficulties and other special needs that sometimes even their families don't know how to care for. State-run organisations are hardly able to provide the lowest necessary care for children with special needs. OM workers regularly visit one of these state-run centres to show the children the love of Jesus. They also provide support for families caring for their children at home—providing encouragement, material help, and training for special needs young people to help them in their development. Together with a local church, the Special Needs Ministry runs an evangelistic program for these children and their families. The aim is for them to hear about the love of Jesus through both Biblical teaching and to show the love of Christ in practical ways, including educational development.
Business as Mission
Christian and non-Christian families alike struggle to support themselves and find employment in a post-communist Albania. This forces many Albanians to seek work overseas, causing families to be separated. The vision is for Business as Mission (BAM) Albania to work with churches and existing Christian businesses, as well as helping equip Christian entrepreneurs who want to start their own micro and small Kingdom businesses. These BAM Albania-trained businesses should work towards providing ministry sustainability, while also being managed in such a way as to have a transforming impact on the community in spiritual, economic, and social areas.
In order to help plant and mobilise churches in Albania, the home office needs to run well, and an adequate place for training and hosting teams needs to be available. The home office manages and recruits and resources activities and provides for the training and accommodating of teams and new recruits. We need resources, people, prayer and financial support in order to best equip the team to do ministry and to promote the work of OM in Albania and internationally.
How you can get involved:
- Pray that more churches will be planted and developed through OM partnering together with local churches.
- Pray that through the OM ministries God will transform Albania for His glory.
- Pray that God will send more workers to serve in this country.
Give here (www.om.org/en/give) to help support the work of OM in Albania.
Come and discover what God is doing in Albania. You can visit as part of a short-term team or come and live in this beautiful country for a few years or longer! See the job opportunities listed at www.om.org/en/opportunities. Check out our website www.omalbania.org or contact us at: info.AL@om.org.
Population: 2.9 million
Official Language: Albanian
State of economy: One of the poorest countries in Europe, but has the potential for economic growth.
Religious make-up: Islam (60%-68%), Catholic (10%), Orthodox (close to 7%), Evangelicals (0.6%)*
*(Based on “The World Fact Factbook” on www.cia.gov and Joshua Project on joshuaproject.net/)