Cru

Paul & Sue Johnson

cru.org

Sue and I have now been serving with LeaderImpact Albania full-time for nearly 4 years. While our plans for 2020 had to be set aside due to the pandemic, the Lord was gracious to provide beneficial alternatives.

My business owners book group stopped meeting in March because of the lockdown here. When I asked one of the Christians in the group, “What would be the culturally appropriate way to contact the guys?” he simply suggested that I call each one. Since most were working in isolation from their homes, they were eager for contact and the chance to share their experience. Amazingly, the calls were often longer than a coffee date and went deeper than usual. This presented the opportunity to close the call by asking for their prayer requests, and then for permission to pray for them right then. For all of the not-yet-believers in the group, this had to be the first time they had heard a Christian talk to God on their behalf. I was able to do this 2 to 4 times with everyone in my group. Sue did the same with her businesswomen making similar positive, spiritual connections.

However, because her businesswomen were now responsible to manage the virtual education of their children, they had no time available to meet. In contrast, by April my men’s group began to meet on zoom, and LeaderImpact global produced their first of several monthly webinars that got good participation by my guys. In the fall, LI Central and Eastern Europe in cooperation with Momentum Europe produced their own webinars, and several of the speakers were business owners from the region. Thankfully, some of Sue’s businesswomen were able to participate.

IJR (Cru Albania) is a member of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) here and I am the Vice-Chair of the Labor Committee. We had planned our second annual Ethics Forum (my key responsibility) for March but it had to be postponed. By the fall, we realized it had to be put off until March or May of 2021. I provide the keynote speaker for this event from my network of Christian executives. Of course, we will use him for several ministry events while he is here. The AmCham event is a chance for him to give a “soft” presentation of his faith as it relates to the topic, and for me to get new leadership contacts to cultivate for ministry purposes. Several of the leaders in my group are active members or committee chairs for the AmCham.

Sue continues to study the gospel of John from the Word One to One with the GM of a 4-star hotel, and I’m doing the same with a young banker. Both are from Muslim backgrounds so their questions are often brand-new for us, a positive challenge! This year I also prepared my second gospel presentation designed for Albanian leaders. I offered the opportunity to each of the non-believing businessmen in my group to help improve it so it would be more relevant to them and their peers. Two agreed, leading to a remarkable spiritual conversation with a lawyer, and I’m still waiting to meet with the senior businessman in my group to get his “input” and to see how God will use this meeting.

On a final note, the entire congregation of the Reformed church we were attending are under 40 years old. For several valid reasons, they decided not to mask, socially distance, or leave the door and windows open during any of the worship or other meetings held there. Since we are in our mid-sixties, and Sue has two risk factors, we had to leave that church to find one that did follow Covid protocols. We visited 3 churches, and the clear choice is one where many Cru staff friends attend, conveniently held in the Cru headquarters building.

We thank God for Christ Presbyterian Church, as you continue to include us among the many ministries and missions you support. Your faithful partnership with us as we have served with Cru for over 20 years means so much to Sue and me!

 
Unreached People Group of the Day

Arab, Tunisian

Population
10,917,000

Primary Language
Arabic, Tunisian Spoken

Primary Religion
Islam

% Evangelical
0%

Mission Fact of the Day
Some 65-70% of the world's population live in religiously restrictive countries.
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