A guest post by Naomi
Vicki asked if I would be willing to share a bit of my life with you. Thanks.
Let me first introduce myself and my family to you. I am a 53 year old woman—married for 20 years to Leon—the mother of 4 children ages 12-18. I have a nursing degree and am currently living in Albania with my husband and children.
I was 32 years old when Leon and I got married. Leon had been a single pastor for several years before our marriage. When we married I immediately became a pastor’s wife. Four years later he was asked to be president of Rosedale Bible College.
We moved with our two small children to the Rosedale community and Leon served as president of RBC for 11 years.
We then felt God calling us to serve Him in Albania and have been involved in leadership training among the believers there for the past 4 ½ years.
Throughout the seasons of my life several questions continue to present themselves to a greater or lesser degree. Some of these are:
- What is my role in this setting and among the people already established here?
- Who are my friends?
- How does God want to use my gifts here?
- How much time can I spend in ministry outside of the home and how much time should be spent at home caring for the needs of my husband and family?
As an American woman in Albania I am warmly received. But I feel as if my family and I are watched very closely. This creates a tension that is both positive and negative. I recognize that a big part of our ministry is role modeling—as a family and also as an individual. I see myself in this setting as a servant and a facilitator. I am here to serve them and to help them do as much for themselves as they can—especially within the work and leadership of the church. I am very limited culturally and linguistically.
But I can demonstrate God’s love and introduce new ways of thinking. I can be a positive role model for marriage, family living and godly womanhood.
So as I go about my daily activities—home schooling the children, taking trips to the market, visiting in the home of friends, riding the bus or walking the streets with Leon or the children, dealing with frequent loss of electricity/water, or participating in a church worship service—I am aware that my life has influence.
But then, is that not true for each of us no matter where we are?
The Albanian culture is a warm culture and relationships are important. I consider it a gift to have many Albanian women who I call my friend. Two of these women are accountable to me in a mentoring relationship. Some of these women I interact with in the church setting. Some I visit in their homes, sharing the love of Jesus formally or informally.
One of these women has been a believer for several years and we occasionally spend time praying together. She goes with me when I visit women who are hurting or who have recently lost a family member. Her own son was killed as a young man and she openly shares how God has been with her during this experiences.
As a mother of young teens in a foreign culture the challenges are many. I have asked many times, “How far can a child be stretched?” Two of the major issues we have dealt with are loneliness and lack of meaningful things to do. But we have seen the benefits of living here as a family—both for our children as well as our ministry.
Many times people say to us, “You will never know what it means to see you functioning as a family.”
So we press on, knowing that God is a big God—a Redeeming God, and He will use what we offer to Him to accomplish His plans.
All pictures were taken by Hannah and belong to Hannah Zimmerman Photography.