First off; as popular as I know “Bob” has been with you all, he is taking a *very* long safari, likely all the way to Tierra del Fuego or parts equally from America and Albania. And he will not have internet. The reason for this is that the general house mother here at the school is an elderly lady (very alert and kind….but also on the ball when correction is needed…she doesn’t take any foolishness from people), who has been coming here to Albania to help out with the Bible school and stuff for many years, along with her husband, Bob, who died a few years ago. So I figured, out of respect, it wouldn’t maybe be the best thing to continue that particular alias, at least while I am here. 🙂 So Jed has taken over for Bob…he might take some getting used to but I know you will like him.
Jed is straight out of the Coast Range, and up until the time he got onto the plane in Portland, OR, the biggest city he’d seen was McMinnville. He lived with his family and extended relations in a narrow mountain valley between the Trask stage stop and the coast, and he is a type of guy to reflect, consider, and reckon quite a bit. He thinks this Bible school thing will be good for him.
Anyway, Jed would like to share with y’all some reflections and pictures from last week, which was the first full week of Bible school. It might be kind of scattered reckonin’s, so just bear with Jed as he gets used to this bloggin’ thing.
One of the odd things that really doesn’t match up out here is the fact that you can see people leading a donkey loaded with whatever….firewood, sheaves of wheat, chainsaws, milk cartons…down the road with one hand, and in the other hand they have a cellphone….and they’re using it! It’s the sort of thing that makes me crack up inside myself and kind of groan at the same time.
One part of the above picture would not be out of place in Jesus’ time. The other part belongs in the fast-paced world of modern America. Just odd.
There is virtually no traffic. This is fantastic. I like no traffic. I also like no city lights at night. Jed likes it too. The cars that are here are different too. They definitely don’t know what *real* trucks are haha. The roadways are used for tractors, donkeys, pedestrians, cars, and bicycles all at the same time. It’s not unusual to see animal leavings in the middle of the road, either. 🙂
The country is very rugged and mountainous and poor farming country. Most of the plowed ground I have seen is a light brown color, which means it is not rich soil.
I tend, when I am traveling around the country and the world (la-de-da) to take particular notice of farming methods and landscapes. It has been absolutely fascinating for me to see farming here in Albania. It is like being in America probably 200 years ago or so. There are old men out in the fields watching over their sheep, goats, or cows all day. The cows are also sometimes picketed out, and they have bells around their necks.
I haven’t seen anyone baling hay. Instead there are these stacks of hay, piled up around a main stick, and piled in such a way that it will shed the rain. So although the outer layer of hay may go bad, most of the stack will be fine. This is how they used to do it in the states 200+ years ago.
I have seen people harvesting corn by hand, using a scythe to harvest alfalfa, and leading donkeys loaded with firewood down from the mountains to their houses.
It’s incredible. In one regard I feel like I have backtracked who knows how many years.
You know, come to think of it,
I feel like I’m in a different country……..
(this is where Jed laughs a deep rumbling laugh because he thinks he has just been very witty)
Bible School: People and Place
Bible school….the reason I am here!
So about every evening at 6pm, right before supper, there is a general prayer time. During the prayer time, there are prayers offered to the Lord in English, German, and Albanian.(the three main languages here) Even though I have always *known* that God is huge and all-encompassing, and can hear anyone’s prayers at any time anywhere in the world, it brings it to a new level of reality when I am sitting with a group of people listening to their prayers, many of which I can only understand a word or two of, and knowing that right at that time, however many languages are spoken, God hears and understands each one. It is humbling, heartening, and smallifying to realize this. This has definitely been one of the high-lights for me so far.
This is one of the smaller Torchbearers schools….there are only 15 or 16 students, I think. But I like it….gives one a chance to get to know everyone better and be more of a community and I really like that aspect. There are students here from the US, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Kosovo, and Albania. It’s definitely an interesting feeling sitting at a table eating and looking around me and realizing that I am the only American present. It’s not a bad feeling, and of course everybody sits in different places every meal, but it is just unique.
The header picture of my blog, you will see, has been changed. The picture was one I took last week from up above the town where the Bible school is located, on a hike up the mountain. Just so you have a better idea of the country that surrounds me at present.
This is a picture of the Bible school building. Dorms, kitchen, main hall, eating area, library, etc, all in the two levels of this building.
More later: I will leave you for now with a picture of Jed, doing things he has always wanted to do, like climbing mountains in foreign countries.
It is one of the most incredible things people!!!! 🙂 🙂
Thanks for reading and please leave a comment or question! 🙂
P.S. I’m actually really happy in that picture, I’m just not very photogenic. 🙂 And I was still getting over a cold.