Yesterday was Egli’s birthday. Since his family lives in Pogradec, we invited a few friends over for dinner and games to celebrate. We were a combination of English and Albanian speakers, with many different levels of proficieny in the two languages. For example, Jennifer just arrived a week ago from our home church in Norman to serve here at the orphanage for 6 months. The extent of her Albanian is po (yes), mire(good), and falemederit (thank you). On the other end of the spectrum, not everyone could understand Robert or I giving directions in English so a little translation was needed for the details.
We played a game that my grandparents, aunts and uncles have taught me called “Oh Heck!” (there are other versions…). Robert and I taught Egli and Gretchen a month or two ago and they have since taught others so when it came back around again, Dovi was giving directions in Albanian. You have never seen anything so funny in your whole life! I wish I had video of all of us trying to get a word in edgewise to explain the game to the newcomers, each in our native language. Imagine 7 people all trying to say something in their own language and be heard and understood by others who don’t have all the nuances of that language while also asking their friend next to them “What did he say?” trying to get a quick translation. It was comical. I think I asked the names of the suits of the card (hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds) at least a dozen times. “Kup” for heart is the only one I remember today!
But after the evening was over, we were so thankful for this handful of people (Toni, Egli, Dovi, Visi and Jennifer) that are committed to youth ministry and our church so faithfully! We are here to serve and help them find all that God has for them in their ministry. But in the process they minister to us and our family in ways that are so precious. It is so hard to put into words how our hearts are full when we have a night like this that is fun and life giving and it looks so much like our ministry in the US with a few added cultural quirks. God is good!
Egli and Dovi are laughing at me because this was the only candle I had in the house: left over from Jadyn’s first birthday!