European Meeting to Support Albania as the Strategic Nation
by Martine Masner, FFWPU Europe
We held a special european leaders’ meeting for “Supporting Albania as the Strategic Nation for Vision 2020” on June 9 to 11, 2017, in Tirana Albania.
The purpose of this meeting was for all regions of Europe to visit their twin city in Albania, and to discuss with the local members in how to advance the providence specifically. Before the leaders’ meeting started, European leaders were visiting their respective cities and shared afterwards their experiences with everybody, and the Albanian community leaders also gave their feedback. Here are some testimonies:
Tirana Center: Maryvonne Calvis, Regional Leader of Spain, Portugal and Andorra : It has been a short visit but very helpful to understand why Albania is a strategic nation chosen by our True Mother. The center of Tirana which is our town sister for our region (Spain, Portugal and Andorra), has 6 or 7 young people, including UPA internship and one Korean CIG missionary. They gave me a warm welcome at my arrival.
The first impression was how amazing it is to have all these young members in their twenties…with such dedication, and such purity and love for Heavenly Parent and True Parents.
It´s beautiful to see also their guests coming to hear Divine Principle or just coming to greet passing by. On Friday, one young girl came to study DP. She is actually doing Ramadan and she was explaining how it is important through this condition to be able to come closer to God and to live for others. I realized later she is not a member of our family but she was speaking like us.
I have been so amazed for their dedication, love and strong desire to grow internally so that they could really become True sons and daughters of Heavenly Parent and True Parents.
Manjola Vasmatics, Community Leader: The twinship project between Albanian communities and European regions gives me a “visionary feeling “and I hope we can catch this moment and allow Heavenly Parent to use this project to show a model of building one Global Family with True Parents. This is God’s project and we want to do our best to make it substantial reality.
We were visited by Mrs. Maryvonne, regional leader of Iberia, and I can say that the difference between the understanding of what is happening in Albania before and after the visit is really big. Even though we shared in Prague and exchanged some emails we couldn’t grasp our realities so well. Mrs. Maryvone had the chance to meet and share with our members, to talk to the guests and see how they receive True Parents as the Second Coming, visiting holy ground, living in the center together with other devoted brothers and sisters etc. Activities which are part of our daily center’s life. Members and guests felt so much embraced from her humble and sincere attitude.
We could see the possibility for counseling from professional members who have a lot of experience especially on business, even by using technology though zoom or skype. My feeling is that we can learn, feel and hopefully inherit a lot from our elders who had the chance to receive direct guidance from True Parents. It looks like members in Albania are eager to receive such foundation and build on it.
At the same time I hope Iberian brothers and sisters and t all other regions as well, will not feel more stress and burden from this project as another direction coming from HQ, but would see it as an opportunity to stand as one united Europe and have a great give and receive collaboration. I hope Albania can give you some more pride beside your life long efforts to bring the providence forward.
I really want to thank you Mr. David Pique for donating a computer, and all Iberian family for donation they gave and hope to use them well and I wish and pray that this will return to your region as great blessing in the future, and whatever you sown here will be ripen in your countries.
One more thing I want to say that Sunday Service with regional leaders was a beautiful thing for all. It looked like a heavenly army equipped with the power of true love could conquer anyone. If there will be a next time I really would love to have a bigger Sunday Service where we can freely invite our guests, because I’m sure they will be in good hands.
Elbasan: Jean-François Moulinet, Regional Leader of France, Belgium and Luxembourg (A French Rooster in the Country of Eagles)
I greatly appreciated my short visit to Albania (the country of eagles) for the opportunity of getting to better know the community of Elbasan. Arriving Thursday morning at the Tirana airport, I was warmly welcomed by the city leader, Ajet Bosi, who took me to Elbasan.
I was moved to see the activities in the witnessing center, with a number of guests coming and going. It was impressive to see the young members passionately giving lectures on the Principle. One sister for example would hit the white board to insist on an important point and keep the guests focused.
At 4 pm a film was shown and several guests came for that. Then, at 6 pm I could give a short testimony to the members and was pleased to present an offering from our region of €1,200 for the purchase of items needed for the centre. I then offered the members a copy of True Father’s speech “Let Us Be Grateful” given in London in 1978. In the evening, I was moved to stay in their apartment (10 people in a small apartment) and to see them offering conditions.
On Friday morning, we could visit shortly the Elbasan castle (built in the 15th century), an Orthodox church and a mosque. Visiting these three sites helped me better understand the history of the city.
Already four members went from France to work in Elbasan (Patrice and Nelly Huard, Alexander Kempf and Naoko Nadal) and shared their testimony, but, even if my visit was short, it allowed me to see by myself the seriousness of these young brothers and sisters who are investing themselves to expand the solid foundation that has already been established in this city.
Thank you, Elbasan, I look forward to cooperate with you again!
Shkoder: A few days before, there was a very successful Peace Road event in the city of Shkoder. One sister from Finland came there for three weeks and did there 7 day fasting for the success of this city.
Ardys Sheqi, Community Leader: When I first heard for the sisterhood between Albania’s centers and European’s regions I was very happy. It felt like unity between older brother and younger brother. This time the representative of Scandinavian region couldn’t come, but listening to all brothers and sisters sharing in the meeting was so wonderful and very helpful. I wish that now all what we discussed can be practically fulfilled. Thank you, Heavenly Parent, for everything.
Kosovo: Giuseppe Cali, Regional Leader of Italy and San Marino
Actually, I was very surprised to find out that Pristina, the capital city of Kosovo, is a beautiful city, with a bright spirit, full of young people and vitality. People are dignified, the environment generally clean and the citizens are also very active culturally and socially. It is clear the effort they are making to build a new future for their country, even though they are still in pain for the recent war.
Spending four days in our center with STF team and young Albanian members brought me back to the early times when we all were living in communities, with reduced personal space, some physical difficulties, lining up for the toilette in the morning, but such family spirit and sharing life style, that made me forgetting all those problems and enjoying my staying with them. I would never exchange that for the comforts of a hotel, also because this is the best way to connect heart to heart with the members. I appreciated a lot spending time with Savjola and Shaban, leaders of the community, and I saw how well they are doing their responsibility. We could connect instantaneously, by recognizing especially our common roots in True Parents.
That main part of our program was an evening seminar for all four days, from 6 pm to 9 pm, in which I could convey True Parents life course, parts of Divine Principle, internal guidance on the Blessing and an explanation of the Cheong Pyong providence, to all members. They were so attentive and stimulating that the lectures became soon full of depth, spirit and love. The last night we had a full session with questions and answers that lasted even longer, since nobody wanted to stop it. After the lecture, every evening we could share all together a nice dinner, during which we could know each other more.
I had the chance to meet also the President and Secretary of UPF and receive from them some explanation of the situation of Kosovo and the development of our effort for peace. We could share so some reflections on the possibilities to help substantially the population to build a more stable and peaceful future.
At the beginning of my staying in Pristina, I asked Savjola to take me to some of the most meaningful places of the city, in order to pray and connect to the ancestors of the country. We visited the holy ground, the new Catholic Cathedral and one of the main mosques. The STF members join our spiritual tour and we prayed together for the sake of Kosovo. In the last day, on the way to Tirana, in what I consider an answer to my prayers from the spirit world, we ended almost by chance visiting a village were Serbian soldier slaughtered 50 people. Among them independence fighters but also innocent women and children. While I was deeply praying in front of each of those tombs, I felt the pain the country, that absurdity of the violence of any war and the resentment that it generates. I lovely comforted spiritually especially all those children and prayed God and good spirits to embrace them and help them liberating from their fear and continue to grow in the spiritual world.
Savjola Konja, Community Leader: When I heard about the lottery I was inspired, and since I knew Mr. Cali from SODP lectures I was very happy to hear that Italy was chosen to be with Pristina community. Not knowing what to expect, since our first meeting with Mr. Cali we discussed about ways how to help each-other, and so planned to welcome Mr. Cali or the representative of San Marino to our centre, to give guidance and share their experience. We were blessed to have that chance from 5-9 of June 2017, when Mr. Cali came in Kosovo.
All the afternoons were busy with lectures that were deep in content and experiences with True Parents, something that members really needed. They were coming from a father, older brother and teacher, in a simple but very caring way, so the hearts of our young members were moved. It looked like they needed this since a long time ago. They were attentive, not tired but inspired. I understood that the generation which lived with True Parents should be treasured in a particular way, for their efforts, heart and spiritual world they bring wherever they go. Also when Rev. Shin and Mr. Gani comes, is the same feeling, just they never stayed so long. It means in my viewpoint that we need this support between generations to be more effective and frequent, because I also felt that Mr. Cali was inspired, so is not onside support, but a way for the love to flow and circulate. During the day he gave his support in counseling me and Shaban, STF, members, and chairwoman of UPF, but also trying to relate with the Kosovo spirit through prayers in special places like Moscow, Church, Holy Place and Prekaz where 51 people were killed. A projector was also sent from Mr. Giorgio the leader of San Marino who really took care following up with e-mails, because he could not come. We are grateful for all of them. I think that Italy, San Marino, and Kosovo are now substantially related in a common base where we and spiritual world can freely work. We did some plans that hopefully will be realized.
I also want to say some words about the Regional Leaders Meeting. It was my first time coming in such a meeting and that was impressive for three reasons. First of all because of the respect I have for all older brothers and sisters that were gathered there, and for the love I felt was coming from them, like from the spirit of True Parents. So was a privilege to be part of it and felt I did not deserve it, I should do my best to improve. Then I could give a presentation together with Mr. Cali. I felt emotion on doing that in front of everyone. I was not sure what the right thing to say was, and for sure I know there are many things that we should be doing in the future. Communicating like this I think will help us all to do better. I also felt that something real, substantial thing in national level, will happen in Albania. I felt real support. For a moment I was thinking how this will be registered in history and what we will leave behind. It looked to me like the meetings Jesus had with his disciples after his crucifixion, just I was not sure if we would be able to get the holy spirit with us or not. For a moment I was trying to imagine how the angels and ancestors were there… While we were there listening, everyone gave a different perspective, but I liked the most the ones that were oriented toward realistic solutions or suggestions like monthly support for one member, visits from other families or young people, conditions together, or Zoom meeting, est. All this things I think will help us to find more strategic ways how to fulfill our national responsibility and Heavenly Parents and True Parents expectations. So I wish for all of us success! God bless you all!
New Tirana Center: Matthew Huish, Regional Leader of the United Kingdom, visiting the New Tirana Center, he felt that he could become instantly friends with this center. It is located in a prosperous area, so Matthew felt that we should take advantage of this, and capture the spirit of the people and do the most out of it. Matthew met also with the European University’s administrator, and gave a very inspiring lecture to the members about the Three Blessings.
Majlinda Matraku, Community Leader: The past week was a very special one because in our center came our dear brother Mr. Matthew Huish, national leader of UK. His visit was very fruitful for me as community leader. We could share ideas and also explain the current situation of the center. Members were also very inspired and touched by his life testimony . As a new center, we really appreciate older members’ experience in following God and True Parents. In the same time his speech at the carp culture meeting made clear the purpose of life to new guests that were present. We are also very grateful that our dear sister Jeong-hye Yeom was in our center as well. She alwas inspire members with here love and attitude. Afterwards in the regional leaders’ meeting i could understand how important the sisterhood between Albania communities and Europe regions is. I think we absolutely need the experience of Europe in order to bring success in Albania and then this success to spread in all Europe as well. Many ideas were shared, many planes, many feelings now we just need to act. Thank you.
Fier: Mr. Rainer Fuchs, Regional Leader of East Europe, was sharing: “What does Albania need? How can we stabilize the members?” He suggested that by visiting their parents and showing to them how our movement is great so that the parents’ support can be there. Mr. Fuchs feels that a system using IWs could be a good way to revive the blessed couples that are inactive.
Ermela Stena, Community Leader: We were really blessed to be visited by Mr. Rainer and Ms. Jeong Hye this time, We felt that there is some different spirit coming in Albania. We could feel the love and care of Heavenly Parent and True Parents, by their testimony, their speech in CARP meeting, during the discussions groups while they had to answer to brothers and sisters questions, than diner time also taking really good care by Mr. Rainer. They could feel how practical Mr. Rainer made the Divine Principle for them, but also they were touched how he carefully explained to them with details to their questions.
Blessed families felt supported and also they are able to support even more if he or other elder members come more often. STF were so happy to spent personal time with Mr. Rainer and they really love him a lot and got not only clear with their questions, but they could create a heartistic relationship with him. Members feel not only inspired but also more confident, amazed by them. But some of them also felt amazed when they saw all European leaders together, they said there was something there, some very high and happy spirit!
Some of our conclusions that we could plan with Mr. Rainer, and I talked a bit with Mrs. Martine Masner also, are:
- sending elder members to come in Fier for sometimes, maybe 3 months
- The blessed families that come to support its good that they can visit the parents of the members and create trust between us
- life testimony from elder members
- Blessed families studying DP with the guests
- Inspiring the members for heavenly tribal Messiahship, (Mrs. Martha example)
- Blessing ceremony with Mrs. Martine Masner in October 29th in Fier
- visit of Ermela in twinned nations to create a heartistic relationship with blessed families, meeting with Second Generation and make some project with them.
Thank you very much for this idea of twinned nations Rev. Jack Corley and also Mrs. Martine who initiated, but all the European leaders, brothers and sister who are supporting already! We are very happy and can’t wait to meet and live, and work with you more and more, and serve to Heavenly Parents and True Parents by serving to our second generation and all of you!
Vlora: Peter Zöhrer, Regional Leader of Austria and Slovenia
A few members from Austria have already visited their twin city of Vlora. Mr. Wolfgang Czerny went recently with his family to Albania, and this time, Peter Zöhrer could already meet some of his spiritual children. Ridi Wurzer, former Mission Butterfly missionary, also visited Albania. One CIG Missionary from Austria, Chinatsu, was witnessing in Albania for 8 months, and he left 9 spiritual children behind.
Lubin Argjir, Community Leader: It was a great pleasure and experience to have the regional leader of our sisterhood nations. The members where really happy and inspired to have Mr. Peter here in Vlora community. Despite the fact that he could share his testimony with the members and give a speech on the Carp meeting. We could also share a lot about the situation of our community discuss about our strong and weak point and find a real solution in developing the providence here in our community, something which was finalized on the European leaders meeting in Tirana i was happy and inspired to see how other communities were seriously working to really shift the providence of our nation to a higher level.
All other communities had discovered other important elements for the victory of our nation for vision 2020. We really hope that we can unite and do our best to bring heavenly parent blessing to Europe through our nation.
Korca: Heiner and Carolyne Handschin, Regional Leader of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, visited Albania, Korca, and they used this opportunity to hold a powerful conference on the Family Day. The members felt so much love from the Swiss team! They met with many Ambassadors for Peace and they were amazed how much young members are respected by the AfPs even twice as old as themselves. They could meet with the assistant mayor of the city of Korca, and they felt that there was a lot of purity among young people of this city. They would like to develop a seminar centered on the UN Development Goals.
Ermir Hoxha, Community Leader: Vision 2020 is so near but in the same time so far away. This vision has a great importance. We are happy that among the local and national project for fulfilling True Mother’s expectation for our nation, was made possible to have a sisterhood of Korca center with Swiss and Lichtenstein.
The first meeting with representatives of this community was during European assembly in Czech Republic. We had a short presentation of our community and we established our connections. With just one meeting is difficult to understand the situation, so the Swiss community decided to visit our center. They could see our activities and the situation in our center. In this way we became more familiar with each other and we created a beautiful bridge of communication.
During the visit of Mr. Heiner and Ms. Caroline we could have few meetings with people with high influence in public administration, peace ambassadors, guests and members. They show a good example of following Heavenly Parent and True Parents, and they gave so much parental love to us. In this way, they could see more closely the situation in our center and in our city of Korca.
From the meeting in Tirana i was so happy to listen to other European Leaders experiences. I felt that we are not alone in this difficult and important path. We wish a lot of blessing for Europe and Albania.
Durres: Mr. Dieter Schmidt, Regional Leader of Germany and the Netherlands, shared that Albania was the poorest country of all in Europe and also the most closed Communist country. But now he feels that it is such a joy to witness there. “The last ones shall be the first.” Mr. Hans Campman, NL of Netherlands, shared that for Holland it was new to work with the city of Durres. “Albania is a window of opportunity, and we should not miss it!”
Makoto Noguchi, Düsseldorf FFWPU Representativ: I feel connected to Albanian providence from the beginning of sending the Japanese CIG youth missionaries almost 5 years ago. This was my biggest desire to make a picture about this country by living and doing the mission together with the local members. I experienced here the center life spirit, which cannot be felt in Germany in these days. Local members and Japanese missionaries are following the direction from the Center leader and the unity among them centered on the God’ s will bring the new members.
Our original mind is stimulated by this face of life and guests are also inspired. Not only we support them but we are also supported through this spirit. The both parties can get the merits in the cooperation. Sending our youth there can help them to grow in faith and gain the conviction on the value of the truth.
Arjan Haziraj, Community Leader: I would like to share a few things about how I felt during this time that national leaders of Germany and Netherlands together with two other brothers came in Durres. For me it was such an inspiration when I was hearing that many other brothers and sisters will come in Durres for Blessing Ceremony. I felt good and inspired that they will come to participate but in the same time I wanted Heavenly Parent and True Parents to be happy too. I felt very good when German and Netherlands brothers came not only for Blessing Ceremony but also to inspire members. It was such a joy to see them, even though they were old, they could transmit in us young spirit. I felt good in leaders meeting in Tirana because we could share more with each other and I got hope and inspiration. I am really grateful for everything. Sincerely
On June 9, all leaders came to Durres, to attend the local Blessing where 37 couples were blessed. And on June 10, we had a meeting with Ambassadors for Peace from all over the country. We sat together by cities to make relationship with them, and see if we can develop some project together.
Mrs. Martine Masner was sharing about the need of finding a person that would work full-time in Albania for raising up and educating the newly blessed couples and support the community leader in this task. This person could be financially supported by all the regions of Europe. This idea was welcomed with great interest. So, Mr. Gani Rroshi is now looking for such a person who could fulfill this role.
The meeting we had in the training center of Mullet with both the regional leaders and the community leaders from Albania has showed us how we can work as a family, as older brothers and sisters who want to help our younger brothers and sisters from Albania. They can inherit our experience and we have to learn a lot from them from their joyful, bright and young spirit.