ALBANIA: Rainy Day Blessings


We start each morning with cappuccinos and a wonderful Albanian breakfast, but Emily started her day off today with Diet Dr. Pepper that she brought from Atlanta and a yummy pastry!


Breakfast is also the time for our team’s devotions which were led by Pam and Jim on Monday.


Then we traveled across town to meet believer students and staff.  Today we prepared the invitations to give to the students and did a short Bible study on Galatians Chapter 1.


Then we began our outreach  to students at the Natural Sciences University.  


We asked students to take a short test that would help them identify their world view,  and we invited them to come to this week’s activities.

The first activity of the week was a seminar that Jana presented on Monday afternoon. about Science and God.  It was held in a coffee shop next door to the campus that had been rented for the occasion.


Meanwhile, Michael joined some of the students who were playing in a futbol (soccer) match that is also a part of the March Outreach to university students.


Monday evening was a wonderful time to meet with individual students and old friends.  So even though it was a rainy day in Tirana, it was a day filled with many blessings. 


ALBANIA: Worship, Lunch, Orientation, and Renewing Friendships


After getting a good night of sleep, we began our day by attending Cornerstone Church where we tried to sing familiar praise and worship songs in Albanian.  Then Nikolin gave a wonderful message about prayer.


After church, we had a great time visiting with staff members and students that we had met on previous trips to Albania.


Then we were able to spend more time with students and staff at lunch.


After lunch was Orientation as the team leaders welcomed us and shared the schedule and plans for the week.

 Of course, prayer was important too!

Of course, prayer was important too!

At 5:00 we had a great reunion with students from our English Camp last summer!  Most of them had not had the opportunity to speak English since we were together the last time, so it was great to renew friendships and give them an opportunity to use their English in a fun setting while eating pizza!

Then some of us took students out for a “coffee” to continue the conversations.



  • Pray for the whole team as we begin our first full day of outreach at the Science University on Monday morning.
  • And pray for Jana as she presents a seminar for Science students in the afternoon.

ALBANIA: Our Albanian Adventure Begins!


We arrived in cloudy and windy Tirana after almost 24 hours of traveling.  We’re all tired, but we’re happy to be here and anxious to see what God has in store for us this week!  And we are praising God that all of our luggage arrived too!  Thank you for your prayers as we begin our Albanian adventure!   

Some of us will be going to the Saturday evening church service today, while the rest of us will attend church on Sunday morning. We are looking forward to seeing many people we have met on previous trips.  

Please pray for our first gathering with students on Sunday evening as we reunite with students from the medical and science universities who attended English Camp with us last summer.


Here are some of our travel adventures in the three different airports we traveled to on our way to Albania.



After flying across the Adriatic from Rome, this was one of our first views of the Albanian coastline. 



Cru staff members welcomed us at the airport in Tirana, and we were driven to our hotel in a very comfortable yellow bus.! Now we can begin to settle in and prepare for the great week of ministry that God has planned for us!

ALBANIA: Preparing Hearts and Minds for Outreach to Students

For the last few months, our team of ten has been meeting regularly to pray and prepare  for the Spring Outreach to university students in Tirana, the capital city of Albania. The team will be leaving on Friday, March 16th, and would appreciate your prayers.



  • Travel mercies for the long flights and safety while in Albania
  • Divine appointments with many students both from previous Albanian mission trips and new friends that we will meet this year
  • Guidance for the Tirana leadership team as they make their final preparations for the student outreach
  • Wisdom and direction for our team members who will be doing special activities and presentations in a variety of settings

Japan: Service & Sharing


Hello again from the Japan mission team, this time from back home in Atlanta! Thank you to everyone who took time to pray for our team - we are grateful to have returned home safely, all still in good health.  

Service in Sendai


Kyu and Esther are Korean missionaries permanently residing in Sendai (a coastal city that was affected during the 2011 earthquake / tsunami) who Keishi and Andrea met and served with last year while on mission. Excitingly, on November 19th, Kyu and Esther are leading the first worship service in a community church plant that they have developed in the city. They are kicking off with a music concert on the 18th.

What better way to promote this new property for the Lord than decorate with inviting lights for the season?

That's where our JFBC team came in - we brought and helped decorate their church with Christmas lights. Additionally, we were able to spend time with some of their lay leaders, listening to their personal testimonies and emotional accounts of the 2011 natural disaster, as well as pray over the new facility.  


Our hope is for this new church plant to not only serve the area with the cheerful Christmas lights as a joyous reminder of the holiday season, but more importantly, serve as the ultimate light that only Jesus Christ can provide by spreading the good news.


Sharing in Tokyo


Our annual Japan mission trip has partnered with a homeless ministry sidewalk chapel since 2009. The ministry was actually led by Mark and Wendy, IMB missionaries mentioned in our last blog post, for many years. 

The weekly Saturday gathering began with worship, then continued with sharing of the gospel, small group meetings, then concluded with a distribution of food. 


One of our trip members, Lee C., had the opportunity to share his powerful testimony with the help of Keishi's translation. The response from the attendees was very emotional and moving... we pray that those who heard were able to relate and see how Jesus is the answer!



Keishi shared the gospel through the "Chemical Cross" presentation. 

We did not walk away from the week with a set number of people who decided to accept Christ as their Savior, but we can rest knowing that:


God’s timing is rarely our own, but it is always worth waiting for.
— James Banks, Our Daily Bread

Sevierville, TN: Wears Valley Ranch, Day 3

The morning began with another wonderful breakfast prepared by our kitchen crew.  We heard testimonies from two young ranch students and also from two JFBC participants.   Our trip leader also did a devotional on the success of sharing the Gospel with a student in Albania and also a local friend.  The critical message he shared is that we should never delay or procrastinate in sharing the Good News as we never know when we may run out of time.

After cleaning the cabins, we returned for the 10:30 am service at Covenant Community Church.  The message was delivered by Brian McDonnell, COO of Wears Valley Ranch and Associate Pastor of Covenant Community Church.   The message featured Ephesians 6:10-23 - Wearing the Armor of God.  

Afterwards we shared a good old fashioned potluck lunch in the dining hall with the congregation and listened to Travis and Laura Sawyer, two missionaries serving in Kenya. They gave a presentation on their children's school and children's home.

Also during the weekend many of us toured the new chapel.  We were so pleased to see the progress that has been made and looking forward to its completion in Spring of 2018.  (See pictures below)

We look forward to returning next year to serve again at Wears Valley Ranch!

new chapel.jpg





Sevierville, TN: Wears Valley Ranch, Day 2

Twenty Six volunteers from JFBC made the trip despite some obstacles and some nerve-wracking moments at the last minute for the trip leader’s family. These kinds of hindrances seem to be fairly common for many mission trips! Everyone made it nonetheless for what proved to be a beautiful Saturday that was perfect for us to help the ranch with many jobs! It was rainy last night so the terrific weather was an answered prayer!

The day began with a very hearty breakfast from the kitchen volunteers, who not only treated us to fabulous food but also added seasonal decorations for the buffet tables! Two of the ranch children shared their testimonies with us as also did one of our JFBC team. We had heard from both of the ranch children in prior years and it was both a blessing and an encouragement to see how they have continued to grow in the faith since we last heard from them! And since the JFBC team comes from a variety of different Bible study classes and different worship hours, learning about the faith story of our team is equally a treat!

We were joined at lunch by more of the ranch residents, both staff and students. Being able to renew their fellowship from year to year is one of the joys of this particular JFBC trip! Our kitchen volunteers outdid themselves for lunch with a ham and turkey spread that would be suitable for Thanksgiving!

After lunch the pressure was on to see which person would achieve the coveted Mennonite award! If you are not familiar with this particular recognition event see Rick Beasley! Not until Sunday morning will we find out!

The jobs included replacing sections of split rail fence, indoor painting, installing shelves and wall hooks for storing the equipment for the ropes course,  installing landscape timbers, and clean-up of brush. We are here to serve and encourage the staff and students and we pray that these efforts help to make some of the rough places smooth. There was one twisted knee among the JFBC team; pray that it does not develop complications.

The kitchen team treated us and many of the ranch staff and students to an evening cookout with burgers and hot dogs, followed by a rousing game of ‘battle ball’ (dodge ball) and a bonfire. Of course it would not be a real bonfire without toasted marshmallows and s’mores! Both the meal and the fun provided more chances to visit and share with the staff and students.

As we head into Sunday morning, pray for opportunities to be both an encouragement to the residents and a positive example and witness for the children! We also look forward to a time of worship and fellowship with the church that meets here on the ranch.