Albanian teen finds ‘indescribable’ happiness

Eranda returned home from a World Vision camp — where she learned about the power of God in her life  — with a sparkle in her eyes. “The good news must be spread even to others,” she says.

By Klevisa Breshani, World Vision Albania
Updated December 16, 2013 at 08:30am PST

As 14-year-old Eranda prepared to depart for summer camp, she had only a plastic bag to carry the clothes she would need during the week-long stay in Korca, Albania.

Her family of seven ekes by on $20 per month in rural Albania and can’t afford many necessities, much less luggage for the teenager.

Their home is falling apart. There is no bus service to their village, Llukan, so each day Eranda and her classmates walk more than an hour each way to and from school.

Living in such poverty sometimes makes her depressed. But she finds writing and acting in plays brings her joy.

A new source of hope

Though the family’s circumstances can at times seem dark, something has changed since Eranda returned from the invigorating experience at the World Vision-run camp. There is a new light in the household.

Eranda made a decision to follow Jesus while at camp. She was among 50 others who gave their lives to Christ that week.

Youth from around the country gathered in Korca to bond through recreational activities and the arts — and learn about the power of God in their lives.

“Since she returned home [from] the summer camp, Eranda is very enthusiastic and her eyes are sparkling,” says her mother, Burbuqe.

“She mentioned God — her learning about him and his love. Her way of talking is different, she is confident, and her eyes are so gentle.”

‘The first time ever I said a prayer’

At camp, Eranda participated in a variety of activities throughout the week. But what she learned while acting as the protagonist in a Bible-based drama made a lasting impact.

“I played the role of a girl who used to avoid reading the Bible, and she could not figure out why things were not going right in her life,” Eranda says.

“When she realized that, she started to pray and read [the Bible]. I prayed because the character of the drama had to pray at that moment. But I prayed even as myself, and it was the first time ever I said a prayer.”

Eranda simply can’t hold her newfound faith inside.

“The good news must be spread even to others,” she says.

She put this into practice by giving one of the Bibles she received at camp to her sister, Zaveta.

A humble invitation

World Vision invites children to the camp regardless of race, gender, or ethnic and religious background. Although children are exposed to Christian messages and Christian values, they are not forced or pressured to take any actions.

Eranda prays earnestly and confidently, trusting God to one day raise her family out of their dire situation. Her faith gives her strength as she struggles with her difficult living situation. She immerses herself daily in the Bible to learn about Jesus and find comfort in God’s promises.

“I shared God’s existence even with my brothers,” Eranda says. “They have a lot to do during the day, taking care of the goats and the cow, but they have started to read the Bible, too. I wish that all my family members could have an unshakable faith and pray as I do, because I know God will look upon us, sooner or later, and he will help us to fulfill our needs.”

As she pursues her education and new life as a Christian, Eranda’s happiness is “indescribable.”

“One day I will find myself being the person I long to be,” she says, “and despite my home and economic conditions, I know [God] will help me pursue my education, and he will help my family, too.”

World Vision U.S. writer Chris Huber contributed to this story.

Get involved

Please pray for Eranda and her family, that her faith in Jesus Christ would continue to be a source of hope and encouragement for this young woman and her entire family.

Give monthly to World Vision’s Christian Witness Fund. Your monthly donation will help bring spiritual nurture to the children, families, and communities we serve in ways that are appropriate to the contexts in which we work.