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From London to Albania

Highway Vineyard Church

“The mission trip was a life changing experience. Now I try and have God in mind in everything I do and say.”

Over the summer, a youth group from Highway Vineyard Church in Stratford ventured to Albania for their first overseas mission trip. It was an incredible privilege for them to serve the community there, and transformational in their own lives as they stepped out in risk and learned to fully rely on God. We chatted to their Youth Pastor, Christine Bollans to find out some more.

“When I was 19, I went on a mission trip and it had a huge impact on my life and my walk with God. Over the past four summers, the young people at Highway Vineyard have loved being involved in a local youth mission called Love Stratford. About 18 months ago we decided to look in to an overseas mission trip and made the decision to go with YWAM Mission Adventures.

17 young people signed up for the mission trip, which in total lasted 14 days. We fundraised £700 per person through a variety of events –  including a Christmas craft fair, bake sale and sponsored 5K run. We also sold youth hoodies, kids church t-shirts and a card game which we had designed and printed. We were amazed by the support we got from our church family who were really generous with their individual donations.

The trip began with four days training at the YWAM base in Harpenden. This included lots of team-building exercises and further training for what we would experience. We then flew to Albania where we stayed at the YWAM base in Durrës for eight days. Our mission involved in lots of beach evangelism – we were part of a project called ‘A Bible for every Balkangave’ and gave out Bibles, Christian magazines and children’s books to tourists on the beach. Whilst we were there the groups at the base gave out over 5000 Bibles and books. We had lots of great conversations where we were able to share Jesus, and also to pray for people.

Some of the group were also able to visit a ladies and a youth prison. We shared testimonies, performed some drama and told the prisoners about the gospel. Others of us went to a children’s hospital. We prayed with some of the children and shared the hope of Jesus with them. As a team, we were also able to take the time to pray and worship corporately about what God was doing in the region. One of our young people commented, ‘When I first heard about Intercessory Prayer I thought, how on earth can I pray for an hour? However, I discovered a love for Intercessory Prayer, learning to ask God what to pray for rather than praying blindly. I also experienced praying for what felt like ten minutes to discover that it was actually over an hour!’

We flew back to the YWAM base in the UK for a couple of days debrief as a team. We also had the opportunity to thank God for all he had done at a celebration service!”

Some comments from the young people:

“Mission was life-changing honestly. I met amazing people, my relationship with God deepened and I feel I’ve grown a lot from it.”

“It was a trip that did more than help people, it helped me get out of my comfort zone and do daring things.”

“I have come back more passionate for Christ than ever, and I’m ready to work with dedication and persistence for him.”

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