Monday, December 8, 2008

A is for Albania

You Can Change the World

Those are some pretty weighty words to be saying to a three-year-old, especially when you're not talking in future tense. But that is the title and focus of the new book we're going through, and it's not about building kids' self esteem but about teaching them to pray for the nations.

The book mainly focuses on praying for your family but I got the great idea to start praying for the nations, and we're using the book "You Can Change the World" by Jill Johnstone. It is the children's version of Operation World. Each week we will be praying for a new nation or people group, and learning things about them to better help us know what to pray for. The book we're using is written for children and is in alphabet-style format, with a different country or people group for each letter. The first country is Albania:
A is for Albania, where Christians once were banned; But God has stepped in and is changing this land.
Hunter is very excited to be praying for the people of this nation, and to know that he is having a lasting effect on the eternal souls of these people.

But perhaps you're thinking, do the prayers of toddlers really mean anything? Isn't changing the world a little much for a three-year-old? Are the prayers of tiny kids simply cute, innocent, and sweet, or are they capable of having a true and lasting effect on the world? I believe whole-heartedly that God views little children as so much more than "cute" and takes their requests seriously.

"And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." (Mark 10:13-16)

"Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great." (Luke 9:46-48)
"... but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger." (Luke 22:26)
God puts little children as an example for us, a role model, and says that the greatest among us shall be like the youngest, says that we must become like them and receive God's kingdom as they do in order to enter therein.

Little children - yes, even toddlers - can have a world-changing impact through their heart-felt prayers to their heavenly Father, calling on him to change a nation - and he will. "The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer." (Psalm 6:9) "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14:13

So we are going to be praying - and praying a lot! And we are also going to be learning a lot about the land, the people, and their history of each country we pray for. I spent this weekend researching Albania and learned a great deal of interesting things. The first thing I made was a list of "Programs of Intelligence", which is basically the Doman term for facts about a subject. The point of Programs of Intelligence is not to cover every single fact about the subject, for that has the potential to go on infinitely. Rather the point is to give a good general overview of important things about that subject. The POI's for Albania include things about their culture and geography, like their language, climate, type of government, location, and other interesting facts.

We're also learning a few things about their language (common phrases and counting to ten), and learning about the history of their nation. Here is the information I compiled:

Programs of Intelligence for Albania:

  1. In Albania people shake their head back and forth to say yes and nod their head up and down to say no.
  2. The Albanian word for Albania is Shqipëria (shchih-PIRd-ia) which means the land of eagles.
  3. The national motto of Albania is "Albanians place their faith in Albania"
  4. Albania is located in southern Europe and borders the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.
  5. The capital of Albania is Tirana.
  6. The official language of Albania is Albanian.
  7. The climate of Albania has a moderate, Mediterranean climate with an average temperature of 7° C. in the winter and 24° C in the summer. Its landscape is mostly covered with mountains and hills, with small plains near the sea.
  8. The natural resources of Albania are petroleum, natural gas, coal, bauxite, chromite, copper, iron ore, nickel, salt, timber, and hydropower.
  9. Albania’s form of government is now a Parliamentary Republic. The Albanian Constitution was adopted on November 28, 1998
  10. During World War II the Albanians protected the Jews that lived there and provided refuge for Jews from other countries. Only one Jewish family was killed during the Nazi occupation of Albania. Albania was the only country that had more Jews living there after the war than it did living there before the war.

You can speak Albanian! Useful and common phrases we will be learning in Albanian to give us a brief but meaningful overview of the culture and language:
1 një (nyUH)
2 dy (dEW)
3 tre (trEH)
4 katër (KAHT-uhr)
5 pesë (pEHS)
6 gjashtë (JASH-tuh)
7 shtatë (sh-TAHT)
8 tetë (tEHt)
9 nënd (nUHnd)
10 dhgetë (duh-YEHT)

Common Phrases:
Hello – Tungjatjeta (toon-jat-yeta)
Goodbye – Mirupafshim (meer-oo-pafsheem)
How are you? – Se jeni? (See-yeenee)
Where are you going? – Ku po shkoni? (koo-paw-shkawnee)
Good morning – Mirëmëngjes (meer-mihn-JEHS)
Good afternoon – Merëdita (meer DEE tah)
Good evening – Mirëmbrëma (meer-EHM-bruh-mah)
Yes – Po (pOH)
No – Jo (jOH)
Thank you – Faleminderit (FA-leh-meen-DEH-reet)
Please – Ju lutem (joo-LOOTehm)
Sorry – Më fal (muh-fahl)

History of Albania in a nutshell:

  1. The land of Albania was once the Roman province of Illyricum since the year 165 B.C. Later on this land was divided into two provinces, Dalmatia and Pannonia.
  2. In 476 A.D. the Roman Empire fell and Albania was now under the Byzantine Empire, administered from Constantinople. Albania was under Byzantine rule up until the 14th century.
  3. In the 14th century the Ottoman Turks took over the land that is now Albania. The Turks ruled this land until the 20th century.
  4. Albania is mentioned in the Bible in Romans 15:19 where Paul says he preached the gospel from Jerusalem to Illyricum. In 2 Timothy 4:10 we learn that Titus went on a mission to Dalmatia. Albania was once filled with Christians but after the takeover of the Ottoman Empire in the fourteenth century many people converted to Islam – the religion of the Turks. Albania became the only Muslim nation in Europe for many years.
  5. Between the years 1444 – 1466 a man named Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg led the Albanians in driving out the Turks. Skanderbeg led 30,000 men to successfully hold off the brutal campaigns of the Turks. The Albanians were independent for a very short time of just 24 years. Albania became famous throughout Europe for their resistance to the Turks. Skanderbeg is still a hero to this day and a symbol of hope to Albanians.
  6. The Albanians continued to resist the Turks for many years, and Albania finally became an independent nation on November 28, 1912.
  7. In 1939 Albania was invaded and conquered by Italy who made Albania part of the Italian Empire.
  8. In 1944, during World War II, the Italians and Germans were driven out of Albania and Enver Hoxha became the dictator. Hoxha set up a communist form of government. The state owned and controlled all factories, farms, power plants, schools, hospitals, and all other businesses. They also controlled all communication and transportation facilities. The government controlled all peoples’ lives and did not allow the people to have things like cars or refrigerators, did not allow people to travel and did not allow them to sell things with other countries. Religion was banned and people were not allowed to pray, talk about God or own any books that spoke about God. Parents were not even allowed to name their children Christian or Muslim names. The government tried to control everything so they could improve the country’s education and industry, but Albania became the poorest country in Europe. Many people saw the horrible situation in Albania but no one was allowed to go in or out of the country.
  9. In 1985 Enver Hoxha died. In 1991 the communist government was forced to resign. Since then Christians and many others have been coming into the country to help the Albanians with food, clothing, and medical supplies, and tell them about the gospel. They are still one of the poorest countries in Europe but are improving with the help of new government leaders and with freedom of religion.

Can you imagine what a thorough understanding you would have of geography and each country's place in world history if you learned 50 facts like these for each nation and people group of the world? I wouldn't doubt that after learning 50 or so facts like these about each country of Europe you would have a better understanding of the geography and history of the continent than do most college professors.

He is going to be learning a lot and getting a very good understanding of the nations of the world, but the most important thing he will be learning - the whole reason that it is important to learn about geography and history in the first place - is that he is developing a missionary's heart. From this young age, he is learning that his life has meaning, has significance, for eternity.

To say the least, I am very excited about our new geography curriculum!

"Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name."
Psalm 86:8-11

Hunter is 3 years, 8 months old

1 comment:

  1. HI Elizabeth I just Love your blogsite! I have recommended it to several of my homeschool friends. They love it too! I was wondering where did you get the information, like the counting in Albania and the history, for your geography cards that you are teaching Hunter?


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