jonathan stone's blog

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please pray: tragic explosion in albania

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syGh0e7rcQk&hl=en”>

The following email from Hervin Fushekati, the Church of God national overseer of Albania was passed along to our Youth Europe Network. The second video was filmed by Pastor Genti. He was 3 miles away from the explosion, yet the aftershock violently knocked him down. Please pray for all those impacted by this terrible tragedy. Here’s the email:

Greetings in the name of our Lord,

A few of you may have already been told from Sedika
about the tragedy in the town of Gerdec, about 9
miles northwest of Tirana, Albania. I have been very
busy with several meetings at this time, but finally
sat down and thought to give a short story and an
update of the tragedy.

A military mine and weapon de-sembling factory
exploded last Saturday March 15th. The explosions
lasted for 14 hours. The military factory was only
hundreds of meters from the resident area of the town
of Gerdec and the highway, one mile away from the town
of Vora, two miles away from the town of Marikaj. All
of these towns were severely effected. The town of
Gerdec does not exist anymore. There are about 300
homes that are totally leveled to the ground, another
500 that will need to be rebuild, and another 1500
houses that will need major repairs. The big explosion
was preceded by minor ones which thankfully caused the
population from the area to spontaneously evacuate.
Yet about 20 people are reported to have died and
another 60 are still missing. Most of the missing
persons are believed to have evaporated at the big
explosion. Some of the bodies that have been found are
very difficult to be identified. There were hundreds
of people injured by the glass shattering. The
explosion has been compared to a tenth of the
Hiroshima explosion. The wave shock was felt as an
earthquake in Tirana where some windows were broken
too.

The cars that were passing up to three miles away from
the area were also damaged. As a matter of fact my
family are thankful for God’s protection. We were
driving towards Marikaj when the explosion happened.
The traffic delayed us a few minutes away distance
from the dangerous area. As we were approaching the
area we saw the clouds ahead of us disappearing from
the sky, then the big mushroom shape explosion and
only some seconds later the wave shock hit our car and
shook it as if we were bumped from another car. Then
we came out out the car and saw people hurt from the
car glasses in the eye, ear, head, legs, etc. I have
no words to describe it. The people of Vora were all
running in the highway trying to leave the city from
the fear of another big explosion. We saw police come
within minutes and we were taken out of the place and
drove back home. On the way we called the pastors and
the people we new trying to know how big the damage
was.

Sadly, the COG churches in Gerdec, Vora and Marikaj
(UPG Project) are the ones that have been touched
directly from this tragedy. The rented facility in
Gerdec does not exist anymore whereas the facility in
Vora is heavily damaged. We do not know anything about
the children (around 30 children in the children’s
service) from Gerdec. We hope that they were saved
from their parents and taken away in the forests and
hills around Gerdec. Sadly one of our sisters who
worked at the factory has recently reported to have
died in a hospital in Italy. Her name was Resmije
Kraja, she was 19, married and had a six months old
son. Her husband is also at the hospital, injured. is
sent to Italy and we are praying for her and her
family. Her husband is the hospital too in a very hard
situation too. Resmie and her husband lived in
extremely poor conditions.

We do not have much contact with our church members,
since they are evacuated to different towns in
Albania.

The Evangelical alliance has formed a comity to
evaluate the damage and see how they can support
Pastor Ermir Taja who oversees the churches of God in
these towns and Pastor Gentian Proseku who also has
recently started to work in the area. We are waiting
on the government to see how we can get involved. The
human resources are there, but the financial burden
for thousands of homeless people and children left
without school is great. We feel overwhelmed by the
vastness of the need. Some of the evangelical
churches in Albania have already gathered some
offerings to support pastor Ermir and pastor Genti.

Please pray for wisdom amongst our leaders, and also
amongst our Christian community in dealing with this
tragedy and easing the pain of the people.

Please pray also for wisdom for Pastor Ermir who soon
will be facing lots of the confusion of the people of
his churches about questions on the sovranity of God
etc.

Pray also for Resmie’s family. She was the only
stronger believer in the family. Pray that her husband
recovers soon.

Pray for us, so that in spite of this tragedy we can still
stand up and give glory to God.

Thank you for your prayers.
In His service,
Hervin Fushekati

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This entry was posted on March 19, 2008 by in crisis, missional.
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