Thursday, April 3, 2008

Albania: How the World Has Changed

I was driving to work today and listening (as I often do) to NPR and I heard a piece of news that struck me, made me consider how much the world has changed in the last 25 years or so.

I graduate college in 1983 and shortly thereafter left the US to work with a Christian missions organization called Youth With A Mission - YWAM. The organization had a number of people who'd done great things (we thought) and who served as role models, heroes of a kind. One of them was a woman named Reona Peterson. In the 1970's she visited a small, politically isolated country in Southern Europe: Albania. She'd been given a visa for a few days to take part in a very guided tour of the country. And her only real goal was to pray - to get inside Albania for a few days and intercede with God on behalf of what, at the time, was probably the most Communist country on earth.

After entering Albania the authorities there discovered that she had a Bible. I haven't heard the story or read her book for years, but if I remember correctly, her Albanian interrogator asked if her parents were still alive. She said yes. He gave her pen and paper and said, "Write them, for tomorrow you die..."

Tomorrow You Die... became the title of a book about her time in Albania when her week of prayer in the country was over. It describes the things she went through.

The news I heard? Albania was invited to become a member of NATO today.

What happened to the Cold War? To Communism? History books will tell you that President Ronald Reagan had a lot to do with the demise of Communism and the end of the Cold War. I suspect that we will one day learn that Reona Peterson's contribution was more important...

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