SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2022

 

 

How Did Our Albania Ministry Get Started?

Bob Hager, our founder, along with his wife Sue, saw the growth of SOFM’s ministries as those that begin with a relationship. Years after Bob passed, this vision continued with Sue saying to the board one night… “I have this friend Mike, who is an Albanian pastor…”

Sue and Mike Durante grew up together in Point Pleasant, NJ. For years they lost touch, but about 8 years ago they reconnected and shared what the Lord had been doing in their lives and the lives of their ministries. Mike had a passion for the Albanian people and spent some years living in and around Korce, Albania. However, after some time there, he saw a need for an Albanian church here in NJ (for there were none) and came back to Garfield and started Hope for Albania Church. 

While in Albania, Mike meet a young Plator Colluka, through a youth group activity. The two of them became great friends and began to build on their friendship with the desire to preach the Gospel to the Albanian people. Plator came to and from the states going to seminary while Mike grew his church in NJ.

When Sue and Mike reconnected, Mike began to share all that had been going on with him and with his friend, now pastor, Plator. So at one of our board meetings, Sue began to talk about Mike and Plator and the needs for both of these ministries. The board was excited and curious as to what the Lord may be doing and how He may want us to partner with these men and their ministries.

 

We began by asking a lot of questions, and gathering a lot of information about Albania, the needs, and the ways we could help. After some time of prayer and discussions, we began our support by helping two young Muslim converts (Geno and Melsi) to go to seminary in Albania so that they could help pastor the upcoming church plants. We also began to support Plator and Mike so that they could continue the calling that God put on their lives.

In 2018 a few of us took a trip to Albania to see it for ourselves. On the trip was Mike, as our guide, Sue, Patrick, Pam and John Durante (Mike’s cousin) and pastor of Jersey Shore Calvary Chapel in Point Pleasant. This trip was eye opening! We now had a clear picture of Pastor Plator’s vision [to go into the 98 villages that surround Korce, most are high in the mountains], and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to this nation of 71% Muslims. Because of this trip, we were able to start support for other ministries such as Bundles of Blessings and an Albania Relief Fund, both helping many though the time of covid [and continues today]. We also began to financially support their summer VBS [as many as 500 Muslim children] their summer Youth Camp and their young adult Youth Retreat.

Also starting in 2020 we began to fund [$5000] for the fuel that is needed to truck 5000 Christmas Shoeboxes to the 98 villages in the mountains. This ministry has proven to build on the current 9 church plants and bring the Gospel into remote areas of Albania where the people have never heard the name ‘Jesus’. 

Then in Sept 2022 we brought our first mission team to Albania and shared our vision to help them with our 8-person team. We were able to travel with the Evangelistic Team, Worship Team and pastors to many areas in and around Korce. We had the opportunity to bring a Bible Club to the children of the Residential Home and Day Center as well as the Saturday morning children’s program. We also did our Bible Club in the local village churches that Pastor Plator is overseeing and going up into the mountains to a village of 200 people called Moglice. Traveling with us was Plays on Word Theater founders and performer, Ted & Katie Kenney. Their play of ‘Pete’ and ‘Paul’ were performed in many locations and seen by many through the internet.

From this trip, more needs are presently being met with many more to go. Please check out “Ways to Give” for information on the individual Albanian ministries that we look to support and pray for. Thank you! 

Contact Step of Faith

    Step of Faith Ministry, Inc.
    PO Box 805
    Brick, NJ 08723
    United States of America