Happy New Year! Blog 01.05.2016

Hello Friends!  Happy New Year!  We hope this finds you and your family well.

We know it has been a while since we posted and we promise we haven’t forgotten about this or you.  We posted a few months back that we would be working on a video for the Cela family and we have been working hard on it.  All of our blogging time has been going to the video.  We aren’t very good at video creation and would love if you would pray that we would be able to finish the project soon and that it would glorify and honor God.  Thank you to all of you that faithfully pray for us.  We are forever indebted to you and to our great God who hears your prayers and answers them with His great care and mercy.  We love you, friends.  May God bless you in the coming year with wisdom and knowledge of Him and the great love of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In love,

The Kemps

Praying for our Friend! Blog 06.02.2015

Mida BardhoHello everybody!  We have a prayer request we want to share with you for a young woman in our church.  Her name is Mida Bardho and she is a student here in Tirana. Her and her sister live in Tirana but they are supported by their family in Lushnja, a town in the south of Albania.  This winter the southern part of Tirana was hit very hard by storms and much of the crops in the south were destroyed by flooding.  In February, the greenhouse that Mida’s family had built and that was the major source of their income was destroyed.  Mida’s family has been hit very hard financially and if they aren’t able to rebuild their greenhouse and start generating income again, Mida and her sister are going to have to stop attending school and go back to Lushnja.

First, please pray for God’s provision for the materials for a greenhouse.  Building a new greenhouse will cost about $1,500 and the family is still paying its debt on the one that was destroyed.  Between our church and a Mennonite organization here in Albania, we have collected $300, but we still need to raise $1,200.

Second, if you want to find out more about giving to the project, please email us.  We appreciate it greatly.

Thank you so much for your prayers and love.

Blessings,

The Kemps

Praying For Our Boy! Blog 05.06.15

IMG_0813Hello everybody!  We have a prayer request for you.  Samuel, our youngest boy, needs your prayers.  We recently went to Budapest, Hungary for classes and to catch up on doctors visits and immunizations.  Samuel was too sick to get the immunizations (ear infections), but while the doctor was examining him she became concerned over his development.  She set up appointments for us while we were in Budapest with a physical therapist and a neurologist.  The news from both was positive.  The physical therapist thinks his body is strong and flexible, but gave us exercises to help him start using his right leg more actively.  The neurologist’s preliminary testing was all positive.  All three doctors have asked us to return to Hungary in two to three months so they can track his developmental progress and the three doctors are already working together to make a plan for him.

IMG_0816Please pray for continued growth, that the follow-up visits will continue to be positive, that we can get any help we need in Albania or in our trips to Hungary, for wisdom for the doctors that track him, and that God will bless our little boy with exactly what he needs when he needs it.  We aren’t currently afraid (the neurologist and physical therapist appointments helped us understand where we are), but we are definitely praying that God will lead us as we take care of our precious boy.  If you think of us, we would love it if you would pray for him too.

Thanks and God bless,

The Kemps

Women’s Day! Blog 03.08.15

Hello everybody,

20150308_124634Today we had an outreach event we want to share with you and ask for your prayers.  Today is women’s day in Albania, kind of like Mother’s Day in America, and we had a women’s outreach event at our church.  It started with a guest preacher and then we had a women’s event after the service.  We asked the women of our church to invite women they knew that need to hear the gospel and from the 20 church women that came we had 10 new guests.

At the event the women made candles, heard the testimony of one of our dear sisters in Christ, and then the men leaders of our church served the women lunch and dessert.  While we know that it is the Gospel that changes lives, we hope that the testimony of Erjola (amazing testimony of faith) and the example of service by our men will also be a testimony to the worth of Christ.  It’s funny to our American minds but the men serving the women in this culture is quite the big deal.  Some of the women in our church didn’t even believe it would happen when we announced it the week before.  20150308_124718_2

Please pray with us for the 10 women that heard the testimony of Erjola today.  Please pray for us and our women as we follow up with them.  Our desire is to see all of them come to be disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.

May the Lord be with you as pray, be with our girls as they continue to share their faith with these 10 women, and with the 10 women as they think of the call of our Lord on their lives.

Thanks and God bless, 20150308_140828

The Kemps

Happy New Year! Blog 01.13.15

Hello everybody,

Happy New Year!  We moved out of our moldy house and we finally have internet again! Yay!  Thank you for all of your prayers.  This is the healthiest we have been in months.

We hope you had a blessed holidays.  We are excited for everything God will do in the coming year and we look forward to sharing some of those things with you right here in our blog.  Look for new blogs, sign up to follow us on the right, and keep checking the prayer request page for updates.  We love you and thank God for you.

Thanks and God bless,

The Kemps

He Came For These! Blog 12.07.14

Hello everybody,

This last month Eve, Savannah, and Sophia went to a church in the north part of Tirana to help a program that serves poor gypsy women and children in the city.  The program gives food and clothing to some of the poorest families in town and uses the time to get to know the people and share the gospel with them.  When we heard of what they would be doing we were all super excited that the girls would get to be involved.

Gypsy outreachWhen Scott dropped the girls off on “prison road” the girls weren’t sure what they would find.  We know the gypsies are poor.  We see them everyday begging in the streets.  But we haven’t really been able to serve in the Gypsy community yet because of the language barrier.  None of the gypsies speak or understand English and our Albanian is still very limited at best.  Seeing the half naked 6, 7, and 8 year old gypsy kids carrying their baby brother or sister in the streets to beg for money is heart wrenching but we haven’t had a good platform to get involved in their lives yet.  So when the girls showed up they weren’t sure what they would find.

Because of the language barrier when the jobs were divvied out the Kemp girls were asked to take care of the kids.  If you have known Eve for any amount of time you know this job is right in her wheelhouse.  So while the women that speak Albanian were getting to know the mothers, Eve and the girls would take care of the kids and babies.  Love on the babies- a simple task, right?

As the women started coming in and bringing their babies to Eve and the girls it was quickly obvious that this would not be your normal task.  This wasn’t going to be like a typical church day care on Sunday morning.  The babies that were coming in were a new type of filthy that we haven’t experienced yet.  Every baby smells like urine when they wet their diaper.  But these babies have been covered in urine for a time untold.  They are covered in layers of dirt
that don’t come off with a normal bath.  They have sores on them that aren’t easy to look at for long.  They have blood all over them that has been dried and caked on them for too long.  This isn’t you’ve been playing in the dirt and grass on a hot day type of stinky and dirty.  This is a turn your head away and distance yourself type of stinky.

Gypsy Outreach teamSo, here our girls are.  Looking and smelling pretty and clean.  Healthy and gorgeous as always.  And here are these babies.  Who would think we could come across babies Eve wouldn’t naturally just throw herself at?  So there are girls are and one thought keeps coming into Eve’s mind over and over again: these are who He came for and who He loved.  What a thought!  We look at our babies, dressed in their cute little clothes, clean and pretty and adorable, and they are so easy to love on.  But Jesus didn’t come just for them.  It must have driven His desciples crazy that He spent so much time with tax collectors, prostitutes, children, the outcasts, and those that nobody else loved.  I mean following a King Jesus that only associated with royalty would have been easy to follow.  Or at the very least a middle-class Jesus that understands the plight of the poor but is more comfortable with the respectable, honorable members of society.  That Jesus would have been easier to follow.  But He came for the sick and the needy.  He had compassion on those society shunned.  He cared less about what the important people of the day thought and how He appeared in the eyes of men, and He cared more about the plight of those the Father loved.

So we learned a valuable lesson that day.  Our girls got a taste of loving on the unlovable.  We got a taste of what His love is like.  Of seeing through the stuff on the outside that is temporary and unimportant, and loving what is on the inside.  We also realized that as dirty as those kids were, spiritually we are just as filthy, and Jesus loves us anyway.  We have a good God!

Thanks for following along in our adventures!  We are thankful to God for you and for all of your prayers for us.  Don’t forget to read the prayer requests on the prayer requests page to keep up with our latest requests.

Thanks and God bless!

The Kemps

Standing Firm 11.07.2014

Hello everybody,

20141004_142634

Gjergji and Migena

Now that the container fun is behind , we wanted to share an encouraging/challenging story with you about our brother in Christ, Gjergji.  Gjergji is a dear brother and we have grown to love him and his wife very much.  We spent a lot of time with their family when we were last here and we are thankful to God for how He is growing them in Christ.  Gjergji is a thinker and Scott has enjoyed talking through many tough things with him.

In the last month Gjergji has faced some ridicule and harsh words from people that go to his previous church because of a Facebook post Gjergji recently made.  In order for you to understand, we need to give you some background info.

First, the pope recently came to Tirana.  We were surprised at all the commotion the pope (head of the Catholic church) caused in a very Muslim city.  The officials had a bunch of billboards torn down (can’t have the pope seeing all of the salacious beer advertisements in town), removed all of the roaming strip club and other deviant signage removed (which are back in full force already), and lined a long street the pope was to drive down with newly planted trees.  The religious leaders all lined up to meet with the pope and thousands of Albanians gathered to hear his benediction in one of the open centers in town.

Secondly, there is a group in Tirana known as the VUSH.  In Albania there are four formally recognized religions by the Albanian government: Islam, Orothodox, Catholic and Evangelical Christianity.  The VUSH is the group that represents evangelicals in Albania. We are a part of this group by being part of Campus Crusade and by being an evangelical church.  The VUSH represents us to the government (they help our church stay tax free) and in the public spectrum.

Third piece of info you need is there is a popular television show that airs every Friday night.  It is mostly a comedy show for adults (touching on adult subjects and using foul language, ala Saturday Night Live) but for the beginning portion they invite political and religious figures to have serious talks about the topic du jour.  In the week or two leading up to the pope coming, the Secretary General of the VUSH was invited onto the show to talk about various subjects including the coming of the pope.

Which finally brings us to the problem at hand.  While the Secretary General of the VUSH, the group that represents Evangelicals to the government and to the Albanian public, was on the show, he was asked why there are such strong factions between the Catholic church and the Evangelical church.  His response was that the divisions were over minor issues (they have a pope and we dont, they have “fathers” and we don’t) but, he said, in the main items we are the same.  He went on to say we have the same Trinity, the same Bible, and the same salvation.

Now, after the pope came and left and the dust started to settle, some members of the Evangelical community were upset (a minority but a large enough one to make some noise).  The reason for their objection was that the head of the VUSH met with the pope and paid respect to him with the other religious leaders that came.  Oddly enough though, nobody seemed to notice or care about what the Secretary General had said earlier in the week.  On Facebook the complaining about the meeting between the pope and the president of the VUSH stated to grow and Gjergji decided to get involved, but instead of complaining about the president of the VUSH, he voiced displeasure over the comments made by the SG.  Gjergji argued that paying respect to a world leader (giving honor to whom honor is due) is not wrong, but defaming the gospel by saying that the Catholic version of works righteousness is the same gospel that we have is wrong and heretical.

As you might imagine, this set off some fireworks.  Members of Gjergji’s previous church, defenders of the Secretary General, and other Christians slammed Gjergji for his views on the Catholic church and for speaking against the Secretary General (a popular figure in some Evangelical circles here).  Gjergji took the brunt of comments that were made publicly, online, and on Facebook- some indirectly aimed at him and some quite aggressively aimed at him.  Either way, Gjergji has faced some tough words, plenty of them not kind.  So the question remains: was it worth it?

As a side note: This is only going to continue to get worse.  The world, inside and out of the church, is putting on more and more pressure for ecumenicalism.  Theology is a by-word and theology that divides is an archaic notion better left romanticized by those ultra-conservative nuts.  While thousands of our brothers and sisters that have spilled their blood for the reformation of the church roll over in their graves at the sentiment espoused by the Secretary General, it is hardly rare these days.  Almost everything we see in the church and coming out of the church is working toward this end.  Think about it: how do you get saved now-a-days?  If you believe Jesus died on the cross and pray the prayer, you are good to go.  No difference between us and the Catholic church there.  The prosperity gospel, come to Jesus and get the stuff, is agreeable to the palates of Catholics and Christians too.  No problems there.  And from many of the new movements in Christianity where experiences trump theology and “works of the Spirit” trump the Word of God, the Catholic church is boasting the same experiences and the same works of God.  Looks like there isn’t much reason for us to divide today is there?  But for those of us who do hold onto the Word of God over superficial unity and theological reasoning over temporary appeasement, this is going to be a battle that is only going to get worse.  The tide doesn’t appear to be slowing much less changing.

So, back to the question at hand: was it worth it?  Was standing up to the idea that Catholics and Christians have the same salvation worth the hurtful comments, public attacks, and division among the churches?  We are so thankful that Gjergji is at the place where he is not only making out error from the truth but that he is standing up for the truth no matter the personal cost.  We are personally challenged to follow in his steps and in the steps of the many that have gone before us to stand up to the false theology no matter the cost.  We hope this small testimony of self-sacrifice, even if public ridicule was all it was, has both warmed your heart and challenged you like it does for us.

May God guide and protect you friends.

Blessings,

The Kemps