Stories from Albania: Healing on the Streets

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8 NIV 

Over the years of learning to follow Jesus one step at a time, He kindly gives me clues to the places where he wants me to teach and release Healing on the Streets. He puts nations, cities and towns on the horizon, giving me a heads up to pay attention. When the invitations come from these cities and nations, I am not surprised, as I have already prepared my heart. However, I never cease to be amazed with the intricate path God paves for me to get to these places. 

In 2016, I began to develop the awareness that God was putting Eastern Europe on the radar. Then unexpectedly in 2017, Martyn Dunsford, who recently was awarded the MBE through his work with the charity CRY (cry.org.uk) invited me to come and speak at the Eastern European Leaders conference in Athens that April. Meeting these pastors - humble unsung heroes - I felt an immediate affinity with them, and a drawing of my heart towards them.

I will never forget the look on the face of one leader who, unable to speak English, passed their details to me on a piece of paper, with a hope and longing that we may visit.

It has always been my dream to be able to take HOTS into the countries that do not have the financial resources to enable us to come. We want to be blessing and not a burden.

That year I went to launch HOTS in Poland with one of the pastors I had connected with in Athens. During this time, I was asking the Lord for more clarity about Eastern Europe. I needed more confirmation. Then totally unrelated to that conference in Athens, I received an email from a leader in Romania called David.

David had read my book “Stepping into the Impossible.” He told me that in 1994 he came with me on a two-week mission to Coleraine and Sligo which he fondly calls the “Book of Acts” weeks. It had transformed his life, and soon after, he went to live in Romania as a missionary.

“I’d like to invite you to Romania!” David said.  So, in November 2017 I went to launch HOTS in Sighișoara, Romania. This was the confirmation I needed, but in order for HOTS to move forward in Eastern Europe we would need to trust God to provide the financial resource to do so.

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During all of this time God had placed the country of Albania very clearly on my heart and one Pastor in particular whom I had met in Athens, Edi Morava. Edi and his wife Artina lead a church in Tirana.

God faithfully provided for this trip, and in June this year, we went to Albania. Here are a few photos and overview during our time there.

Some leaders from other churches also attended the Healing on the Streets training for the local church in Tirana. We spent the morning and afternoon training. Close to Edi’s church is a square, which was ideal to do HOTS. The square is in the centre of a residential area surrounded and overlooked by high-rise flats. It was also overlooked by a mosque. As soon as we began to set up the Healing banner and chairs, the police and others were there immediately. It was obvious someone wanted to put a stop to this, but we had permission! The door God opens no man can close!

After setting out the chairs and banners, we knelt to pray as we have done all over the world. The peace of God began to fill the square with the beautiful tangible sense of His presence. The square began to fill with people, and children who played around us. People sat around the square watching curiously, seeing and experiencing something they had never seen before.  

People were drawn to the chairs, while those who watched asked questions. Soon people were meeting with Jesus as they sat on the chairs allowing the team to kneel to pray for them. They opened their hearts to Jesus, and received healing and freedom. I saw many people in tears as they encountered God’s love.

One mother brought her 14-year-old autistic boy for prayer, and although she was trying her best to look strong for her son, we could tell she also needed comfort and assurance from the Lord. The following day she returned with her son for more prayer because of a marked improvement in his behaviour. As we knelt beside him, the boy took hold of my hand. He was unable to ‘switch off’, but then fell into a beautiful deep sleep on the chair as Jesus released his presence and peace. The mother was amazed and she had to hold him by his shoulders to stop him from falling off the chair as he slept! 

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One girl from the church in Tirana was so hungry for God she asked to be filled with the Spirit. She had only been a Christian for 3 months and had come from a Muslim background. As she sat on the chair she was filled with the Holy Spirit. A woman walking by was compelled to stop and watch.  She came over afterwards and said, “whatever that girl has and was receiving I need it!” She said she could feel this tremendous energy as she watched! Within one minute we were sharing the gospel with her. She was unable to stop crying as she received Jesus in her heart and was then was also filled with the Spirit!

A man came for prayer who broke his right elbow 8 years ago in a car accident, telling us that since the accident he could only wash his face with one hand because of restricted movement. He felt bad that he couldn’t help his father on their farm.  He openly wept as Jesus healed him in full view of witnesses who wept with him. Not only was he able to touch his face which couldn’t do for 8 years, but his father also received healing for his own arm as he watched Jesus heal his son!

We are hoping to return to Albania next year and take a team with us to expand the training into different areas. I have also been invited to speak at a youth conference in Athens in October where many will come from Eastern Europe, and I see the Father again at work making a way for us to go forward.

Thank you to all who have prayed and supported Healing on the Streets both here in Coleraine and right across the world. We are excited to see what else God has for Healing on the Streets over the next 100 years.

Mark & Linda 

If you are interested in getting involved or hosting Healing on the Streets in your city you can contact our team at healing@causewaycoastvineyard.com