Yesterday I went to the pharmacy (farmaci) close to the my house (about 200 yards from my door). The woman there, a pharmacy technician, has helped me frequently when we have needed something. I was stocking up on propanolol which I take to prevent migraines. Her name is Meli. Also there sitting at a little table in the corner and having coffee with Meli was another older woman from our neighborhood (75 years old, she told me) named Eva. We greeted each other in the Albanian way, grasping hands and kissing cheeks while asking each other, “How are you, how is your family, how are the children, how is your daughter, what have you been doing, how are things going?” (At least 4-5 questions would make you truly Albanian!) After discovering that they did not have what I needed, but would be delivered the next day, the questions began. People in our neighborhood are becoming more bold in their questions of us. As our Albanian approves so has our comfort level in greeting others and being generally more friendly. We can speak more so that helps a lot! This has opened the door for people to ask us about ourselves and us to answer. (Hip, Hip, Hooray!)
They asked several questions about Jadyn and how we came to adopt her. As we meet more and more people this seems to be a catalyst for talking about Jesus in some way. Today we came upon expressions in Albanian.
DISCLAIMER: Remember that everything that follows is filtered through my American eyes and my lack of language. I still DO NOT understand everything that is said to me, so I am always working on understanding the big idea.
Eva said to me that I was or I am or I have (take your pick) “top sheqer” a sugar head. This is an Albanian phrase they use for children who have a sweet spirit. She told me that I have a face that reflects who I am on the inside (by the grace of God). She went on to tell me that she has a brother who in fact has a bad spirit about him. He is unkind, mean spirited and generally a bad person. What an opportunity! I quickly was able to respond that I am a believer in Jesus Christ. As Christians, we believe that we all are “bad”, in fact even I am “bad” (remember, I am talking like a 4 year old). But because I have Jesus in my heart, His spirit lives in me. He changes my heart. All good things in me are from Him.
I don’t know how much I was understood …. but praise the Lord for the opportunity to speak His name and plant seeds. Pray that there will be WATER!