I am Colin Stephen, originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, but since 1995 I have been serving the Lord as a missionary in Shkoder, Albania. I am married to Elida, from Shkoder and we have 3 boys, Aron (21 years) Joel (19 years) and Tomas (16 years).
I grew up in a Christian home and was part of an Open Brethren church in Aberdeen. In 1993 a missionary came to our church and spoke about a trip he had made to Albania, recently opened up after 45 years of communism and almost 25 years without any religion as an atheistic state. When he left the church I prayed for Albania. I thought this desire to pray for Albania, would leave me, but the desire grew stronger. Little by little I began to feel God speaking to me about Albania and in 1994 I visited for the first time. The missionary here invited me to come back and help him and after a period of prayer with my church leaders, God called me and in 1995 I left as a missionary.
I am co-pastor of a church with an Albanian, and we have over 60 baptised, although usually around 80-90 in a Sunday worship service. My wife and I are involved in youth ministry – my wife in visitation and discipleship and myself in teaching and discipleship.
I feel very much at home here. Shkoder is a fairly small city of 120,000, and we are a very close community of Christians and it is difficult to go outside without bumping into someone from the church. This is good in many ways, as we can stay close for encouragement and growth, but it might also possibly be the cause of the church all getting covid-19 at the same time. We are thankful for God’s grace and healing that all have recovered.
Albania is very much a cafe culture and Albanians all have an opinion on any subject, so it is very easy to get into a conversation on spiritual things. Albania is predominantly a muslim country, but our town is split 50%-50% Roman Catholic and Islamic. The evangelical community is very small but we have good relationships with other evangelical churches and have managed together to open a medical clinic, a cafe and a nursery for 50 children, which we opened ourselves. The nursery runs from Monday to Friday, from 08.00-17.00.
We would appreciate prayer for the expansion of God’s work and for His grace to be upon Albanians for their salvation and transformation to be like the Lord Jesus. Also pray for our witness as an evangelical community and our partnership with other evangelicals that together we would have greater impact in the city.
Finally please pray for us as a family as we serve the Lord – for us and for our boys; that each of us would be totally committed to living for and walking with Christ.