Andi Dina|| forum funded ::

Andi Dina|| forum funded ::

Country:
Albania
Occupation:
Christian Ministry – Pastoring & Church Planting
Forum Network:
Leaders of Christian Organizations
Ministry Focus:
Church Planting
Andi Dina is a church planter from Tirana, Albania.
When did you trust Christ?
In 2002, I was studying economics at the University of Tirana when a friend gave me a New Testament. At the time I was living a worldly life, and coming from a Muslim family, I didn’t have any interest in faith and God. My grades and family relationships were falling apart. I had become and alcoholic, and I was about to leave everything to join an organized network of Albanian drug dealers in Germany. Christ got me with His grace and love in my darkest day. I read my first Bible verse ever, which was Romans 14:17: “The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.” This was exactly what I was trying to find by my eating and drinking—wasting my life. I prayed to the Lord to show Himself so I could believe and live for him. He heard my prayer and changed everything. Soon, I joined a local church, where my faith journey started. After 17 years I can testify to the redemption of Christ in my life. He saved my soul and gave me a beautiful family, and a vision to serve him all my life. He changed my destination from a criminal network to a church planting network!
What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?
I fell in love with the local church in Tirana from the first days of my salvation. After graduating, I started to work with the prison ministry and it was a beautiful experience. The next experience was with the Evangelical Alliance, where I worked for almost 4 years. I worked as project coordinator and loved to do work for the local churches. Next came a children’s ministry that included churches not only in Albania, but also in the Balkan countries. I worked for 4 years in the Balkans region, growing my love for the local churches. In 2015, we felt a deeper calling for church planting and strengthening.
Why do you want to attend the Forum?
The Forum is a great gift for me to learn more, to know new people, to feel encouraged as part of the larger family of Christ’s church in Europe, to receive mentoring, to obtain good theology, to exchange and receive new experiences, and to network and meet new possible partners.
What is your ministry?
I am leading a new organization called IGNIS Ministry. IGNIS Ministry exists to encourage, resource, and equip local churches and church plant initiatives in all spiritual and organizational matters, to accomplish their mission to be light and salt in the Albanian society. I also lead a new church in Tirana, Albania, named “Light Church.”
What are your past leadership roles?
I have been a chaplain at Prison Fellowship Albania, a project manager at EA of Albania, regional coordinator in the Balkans for One Hope Ministry, a church planting team leader in two church planting projects, a cheer leader for 15 years, and a church planter with Acts 29.
Why should someone invest in your ministry?
Because there is still a big need for theological training, ministry training, and opportunities to come and pray together—to learn from and help each other, especially where the need is bigger.
Elvis Karroqe|| forum funded ::

Elvis Karroqe|| forum funded ::

Country:
Albania

Occupation:
Christian Ministry – Pastoring & Church Planting

Forum Network:
Church Life, Leadership, and Planting

Ministry Focus:
Church Planting

Elvis Karroqe is a prison chaplain and ministry leader in Albania.

When did you trust Christ?

When I was 24 years old, I participated in a special event organized by a local church in my city. I confessed my sins and invited Jesus to be my Lord and savior.

What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?

One important moment in my development was when I was given responsibility as I committed to the local church. Serving in prison has been another important moment in my Christian walk.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

Through the European Leadership Forum, I hope to gain another perspective on how ministry can be done, and to become a better equipped servant for the body of Christ.

What is your ministry?

I am currently serving as a prison chaplain in two different prisons in Albania. I also lead a children’s ministry in my church and am involved in church planting in a village in my area.

What are your past leadership roles?

I have been involved in children’s and youth ministry and in leading church planting initiatives.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

I want to continue to be involved Christian ministry long term. I also want to bring change and influence in church planting and ecclesiology.

Arber Jaupllari|| forum funded ::

Arber Jaupllari|| forum funded ::

Country:
Albania

Occupation:
Christian Ministry – Pastoring & Church Planting

Forum Network:
Evangelism

Ministry Focus:
Church Planting

Arber Jaupllari is a prison chaplain and church planter in Albania.

When did you trust Christ?

I became a Christian while serving a prison sentence in 2016.

What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?

The story of Joseph has been instrumental for me. Learning how Joseph forgave his brothers after they sold him into slavery transformed me. If Joseph could forgive that, I could forgive others as well, and I could receive forgiveness as well.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

I am a church planter. I think that I will learn a lot about how to plant churches in my context through the Forum.

What is your ministry?

I visit two prisons four days a week to minister to the men who are there serving prison time. I also work for the Ignis Ministry in Albania, which plants churches in the capital city of Tirana, and every week go with my pastor to the village for church planting.

What are your past leadership roles?

In the past I have been a church elder, Bible study leader, and small group leader.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

I want to grow in church planting and leadership. Albania needs to plant more churches and to make disciples. There are not many believers here.

Agron Zefi|| forum funded ::

Agron Zefi|| forum funded ::

Country:
Albania

Occupation:
Christian Ministry—Pastoring/Church Planting

Forum Network:
Bible Teachers and Preachers

Ministry Focus:
Children and/or Youth

Agron Zefi is the leader of the youth ministry in his local church and is a lay preacher.

When did you trust Christ?

I converted to Christianity in 1996 when I was teenager. I was invited to attend a Christian conference and the preacher talked about sin and how awful sin is to God. It was as if the whole message was meant for me because I was such a sinner. Afterwards God showed me from his Word that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was the only way to be forgiven and to receive spiritual rebirth. During that same conference I bowed my head and accepted in prayer that I was a sinner and I was worthy of God’s eternal wrath. I accepted that Christ took my place and asked Him to be my Savior. I asked Him to forgive me and to give me a new life as He promised in His word.

What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?

There have been many specific people and many specific moments that have defined my progress as a Christian. These include reading my Bible, long and deep discipleship meetings with my pastor, attending two years of theological school, the preaching in my church, and participating in the youth ministry in my church.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

It is a special blessing to participate in the Forum. I benefit from the preaching and from teaching tools and techniques that I learn there. I hope that through these experiences I will be better equipped for my ministry. By being part of the Forum, I am also renewed spiritually, become more motivated for the work ahead, am inspired by the Word of God, and receive new energy for my ministry journey.

What is your ministry?

I am the leader of the youth ministry in my church. I teach young people the Bible, mentor and disciple them, and encourage them. I am also one of three men who preach the Bible every Sunday in our church.

What are your past leadership roles?

I have led the children’s ministry in my church for five years. This has been a period of transformation.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

I am a person who wants to serve and to bless others in the same way that I have been blessed. I am teachable, humble, and faithful to my teachers and to my Lord.

Arben Bushgjokaj|| forum funded ::

Arben Bushgjokaj|| forum funded ::

Country:
Albania

Occupation:
Christian Ministry—Pastoring/Church Planting

Forum Network:
Evangelism

Ministry Focus:
Pastoring and/or Bible Teaching

Arben Bushgjokaj is a pastor in Shkoder, Albania.

When did you trust Christ?

I made my decision to trust Christ in 1993. I was in high school and reading religious literature, and I wanted to know more about God. I was very devout in my Roman Catholic religion, but it was not helping me with my sins. I felt empty and hopeless. Then, I was invited by a friend to a special meeting held by Christians for people who wanted to know more about God and study the Bible. That marked the start of my journey to find the truth I so desired. A few months later, I was convicted by the Spirit of God and His Word. I admitted that I was a sinner and surrendered to Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of my life.

What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?

My journey in the faith of Christ has been very dynamic—full of defining moments. I encounter challenges and experience the grace of God every day. Some particular moments I would mention are: getting married, being ordained as a pastor, becoming a father (4 times), and many more that have added color and taste to my life. I surrender myself to Christ every day to live for his glory and to see people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

I benefit from the Forum in two ways. First, the Forum teaches me so much. This is something that should never cease to happen. I learn from the lectures and speeches, from the seminars and other sessions, and from other people’s experiences. Second, I connect with other pastors and leaders. I know that this is a great opportunity to connect with people from other parts of Europe—both to learn from them and to share with them from my experience.

What is your ministry?

My ministry as a church pastor consists mainly of two aspects. First, I teach and preach the Word of God. I have dedicated my life to teaching the church I serve, so that every member is equipped to live a life that is giving God the glory and to do the work for which God has called them. Second, I engage in prayer and pastoral care. I spend a lot of my time praying for and with people, listening to them when they share about their daily and weekly experiences, and trying to guide, encourage, and advise them in the way of the truth. I also dedicate time on a regular basis to developing leaders (or potential leaders) within the church. This is a great blessing, as we have a good number of people who are very committed and humbly serving the Lord in our church.

What are your past leadership roles?

I served as youth leader for about 4 years (1996-2000). I also served as co-leader of the children’s ministry from 1995-1999. I have been a pastor in our church since 2001.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

First, to help me grow and become a better leader. Second, to help me help other people in my church and develop areas for growth. Third, to help me connect with other leaders from the area. And finally, to help me obtain resources and connections that I would not have otherwise.

Edi Markaj|| forum funded ::

Edi Markaj|| forum funded ::

Country:
Albania

Occupation:
Student

Forum Network:
Bible Teachers and Preachers

Ministry Focus:
Children and/or Youth

Edi Markaj is a youth leader and lay preacher.

When did you trust Christ?

I became a Christian in April of 1999. After I had had a number of discussions with Christian friends about the truth of the Bible, I decided to read it. I read the New Testament several times, and God illuminated my mind and my heart to understand that I am a great sinner and Jesus Christ is a great savior. I realized that salvation is not by deeds but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I believed that Jesus is God in the flesh who died on the cross, taking my place and paying the cost of my sin. I asked Him to forgive me and to make me a new creature in Him. He is doing that faithfully.

What have been the defining moments of your Christian walk?

When I was only 20-years-old, one year after my conversion, many of the mature believers in my church immigrated, so I was asked to preach in the church meetings. I read the New Testament 12 times in one year, once per month. This helped me to grow in my faith. I am currently in my fourth year of studying theology at the Italian Biblical Evangelical Institute, which has totally transformed totally my approach to the Bible and my approach to ministry as well.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

The Forum has been the most transformational event of my personal Christian life and my ministry approach. This is the main reason I want to return. I have no doubt that the next European Leadership Forum will bring me to yet another level of commitment, knowledge, and ministry experience.

What is your ministry?

My main ministry is leading the youth group of my local church. I am responsible about their biblical formation and discipleship, and I evangelize the youth that attend our meetings but who are not yet born again. I am one of the three members of the church’s leadership group and one of the main preachers in my local church. I volunteer with IFES, working with high school youth, students, and post-graduate students in my town. I am leading the development program of World Vision for the most vulnerable children and youth in my district.

What are your past leadership roles?

I was the manager for the institute for public health in my district for five years. I have led three different World Vision teams in Albania. I am part of the leadership group of my church in Lezha.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

Investment in me would also be a good investment in the future of the Albanian church’s leadership. I am investing in 20 youth in my town, helping them to grow spiritually. My passion and my vision are to serve my church and I am putting all of my efforts into that.

Zefjan Nikolla|| forum funded ::

Zefjan Nikolla|| forum funded ::

Country:
Albania

Occupation:
Christian Ministry-Christian Organization

Forum Network:
Church Life, Leadership, and Planting

Ministry Focus:
Education, Pastoring and/or Teaching

Zefjan Nikolla is the Director of IFES (the European equivalent of InterVarsity) in Albania (BSKSH) and pastors Emanuel Reformed Church in Tirana.

When did you trust Christ?

I made my decision to trust and follow Jesus in October of 1991. I was a freshman at university when that happened. I joined an International Fellowship of Evangelical Students group that was studying the Gospel of Mark and had many questions about the existence of God, pain and suffering, and more. In one of the Bible studies I opened my heart to Christ having realized my need for a Savior and the fact that Christ died for my sin. Until then I was an agnostic even though my Catholic parents who secretly believed in Jesus tried to teach me about God and the Christian faith. However, it was not until I found satisfactory answers to my deepest life questions in 1991 that I put my trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My life has not been the same since. I have been encouraged by my participation in the IFES group in Albania and in the local church that I pastor. Other important factors have been my personal Bible reading and study, many Christian brothers and sisters in my life and good Christian literature.

Why do you want to attend the Forum?

As a result of attending the Forum I have seen many changes in my ministry. The Forum has better equipped me in becoming a more effective leader in my church and organization. The Forum has inspired me with new ideas for ministry. The Forum has given me a number of helpful friends and partners for ministry. I want to return to the Forum because I believe it provides a great opportunity to grow, dialogue, and partner with other Christians and Christian ministries in order to see the Gospel proclaimed in Albania.

What is your ministry?

I am a pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church in Tirana. I am the National Director of BSKSH, which is the IFES movement in Albania. I also lead various national initiatives in evangelism, the Langham Preaching in Albania, and I am part of the leadership team of the Global Leadership Summit in Albania. For a number of years I have also promoted the European Leadership Forum and I am currently the national coordinator of the Forum for Albania.

Why should someone invest in your ministry?

Albania is still a mission field and needs trained leaders for the task of evangelism and discipleship. I am committed to long-term, full-time ministry in my country both with the IFES movement and the local church. I believe together we can do more than each one of us on our own. Thus, partnership and cooperation are key to the development of the Gospel work on our continent.

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