Albania CropEmanuel serves in Ray of Light Church in Koder Kamez, Albania. The 24-year-old is married and comes from a Muslim-background Roma family. “We were destitute in our house. My father was an alcoholic and gambler. It brought a lot of quarrels and violence at home until my mother slipped into a depression. Growing up under such conditions, I sought salvation, but I didn’t know where to go. We’ve never been faithful to our religion, only when there was a religious holiday. We were attracted to the good food that we couldn’t afford daily,” he explains.

“Due to my situation at home, I started working at a young age. I collected and sold plastic bottles and empty cans. As I hung out with friends older than myself, I learned to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and gamble. In short, my life had no meaning and was without hope. Thinking that no one loved me, I felt lonely and didn’t know how to find peace.”

Emanuel heard about the Gospel at a Christian concert held in his neighborhood. “At the end of the concert, they talked about God’s love. That attracted me, and I liked what I heard. They invited people to the church, so I went. The pastor there showed me much love. It surprised me because I thought no one loved me. I started going regularly and became part of the Project Philip Bible studies. I discovered in those studies that God loves me and has a plan for me. He gave Jesus to die for me. I realized that my problem was a sinful heart,” he admits.

“One day, I decided to give my life and heart to Jesus and repent from the way I was living. I decided that I would read the Bible every day. The more I read it, the more I felt the power of the Word of God affecting my mind. The Bible took away all my bad habits. Now, I am living a good life with God. I want many young people like me to have the opportunity to hear about Jesus and change their lives like me.”

A grateful Emanuel says that he would never have been able to afford to buy a Bible of his very own. “Thank you for the Bible and all the books I received for free,” says Emanuel. He added that the Bible helped him to find new life in Jesus  “God bless you,” he says.