Missionaries get creative to share the gospel with Muslim kids in Macedonia
Converge global worker, Macedonia
For weeks we had exhausted ourselves renovating the property that is now the Life Center. We had been busy cleaning, remodeling, ordering furniture, fixing issues with the electricity, redoing the plumbing and so much more. We must have met every handyman in town that month. The work was far from over, but we had come far enough to use the facility. Distributing the Good Samaritan Christmas shoeboxes presented us with the perfect opportunity to put the property to good use.
At the Macedonian-speaking church where we serve in the next town, we put on a puppet show to attract children and present the gospel in a fun and creative way. This approached seemed to work, so it felt natural to do the same thing at the Life Center. There were some issues, however. First, most people in Struga, where the Life Center is located, don’t speak Macedonian; they speak Albanian. Second, most of the people in Struga are Muslims who have never set foot in a church and didn’t seem interested in going to one now.
We had to form a new team of volunteers to do the show at the Life Center, borrow all the equipment needed for the event, rewrite the program in another language and then convince a group of people from another religious tradition to come to a church plant for the event. Easy, right!?! Oh yeah, and do all this while following a bunch of confusing coronavirus restrictions that seem to change every day. It was a bit overwhelming.
Fortunately, several Albanians from our home group were excited about the idea and jumped into their roles as characters in the children’s puppet show. The Macedonian-speaking church was more than willing to lend us a PA system and most other equipment. It was also easier for us to do the show in Albanian as well since our family speaks that language at home (along with English). Most importantly, we had been making friends in the community for a few years now and had gained the trust of many Muslim families we hoped would send their children to the event.
Still, we knew that the Life Center’s first event might not be a huge success. We prayed for God’s grace and worked as hard as we could to be ready. We also scheduled two shows to keep the number of guests below the number allowed by the current COVID-19 restrictions. If we were blessed enough to have 10 children between the two shows, we would be happy.
The big day came, and we all felt a bit nervous as the hour approached. It was an instant relief when the first guests began to arrive, and to our delight, the room quickly filled up. This seemed to give us more energy and made the show that much more fun for everyone. The gospel was clearly presented in Albanian to a group of people who had never heard it, and everyone in the room had a smile on their face. Two hours later, we did it again with another group!
It seemed to go as well as we could have expected, but it wasn’t over yet. People kept asking us when the next event would be. We decided to start the regular kids’ ministry on Saturdays and worship service on Sunday evenings. Pastor Darko also contacted me and asked if we could do a Macedonian version the next day for some Macedonian families in town. Of course, we said yes and pulled together our Macedonian team for one more show.
The next evening another group came to the Life Center for the first time and quickly filled the seats of the meeting hall. We also began to notice a few familiar faces. Some of the children from the previous night had come back to watch the show again, even though it was in a different language. The gospel was presented again, and we made more friends in the community. God was blessing us!
After a good night’s rest, we made our way to the Life Center to clean up from the two previous nights. We felt tired but blessed. As we put things in order, a few unexpected guests showed up at the front door and asked to come in. The neighborhood children had come back again.
“Is there another show tonight?” they asked. We smiled and laughed. “No, I’m afraid not, but come back on Saturday morning and bring your friends,” I replied. They smiled and agreed to come back. God was blessing the Life Center!
Andy and Irida Morisseau are reaching the Albanian Muslims of Macedonia with the gospel. Learn how you can help >
Andy Morisseau, Converge global worker, Macedonia
Andy and Irida Morisseau are Converge global workers in Struga, Macedonia.