Introduction / History Since 1990, the crime rate in Albania has soared. Albania's economy is very unstable. Strikes are frequent. The Albanian currency is worthless, and the rate of unemployment is extremely high.
Albania is considered one of the poorest countries in all of Europe. In this situation, many Albanians have fled to other countries like Sweden. The high crime rate in Albania has followed them to Sweden, where ethnic Swedes suspect that Albanians are criminals. Overcoming their negative stereotype has not been easy.
Most Albanians in Sweden came from Kosovo in the 1990s during the Balkan conflict.
Football (soccer) is important for Albanians. They play on many international teams including Sweden's. One organization from the Swedish town of Borlange has a goal of working with the ethnic Albanian people in Sweden to help them integrate into Swedish society. The organization is democratic and non-religious. It has found an opportunity for this integration through soccer.
Where are they located? The Albanians are probably located in the major cities and in the newer settlements in Sweden's cold north. The also probably live in or near Borlange and Borås.
What are their lives like? Albanians in Sweden have produced authors, actors, musicians, research engineers, radio producers, and many fine athletes.
What are their beliefs? The Apostle Andrew obeyed Jesus' command in Matthew 28:19 by going to Illyricum (ancient Albania.) A small remnant of Christians remains. But centuries ago, many Albanians were converted to Islam by the Ottoman Turks. They practiced a type of folk Islam which embraced occult and practices such as praying to the dead, seeking cures for sickness, and praying for protection from spirits and curses.
In 1967, Albania declared itself as "the world's first atheistic state," closing its borders to any influence from the outside world. Since the fall of Communism in that part of the world, there have been efforts to take the gospel to the Albanians. Few, however, are aware of the spiritual needs of Albanians in Sweden.
What are their needs? The Gheg Albanians in Sweden need Christians to reach out to them with acceptance and love. Believers must exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit and win their trust so they can share their Best Friend with these Albanians.
Prayer Points * Pray that the Muslim influence would not win the hearts and minds of the Albanians.
* Pray that Bibles will be effectively distributed to the Gheg Albanians in Sweden and have a strong spiritual impact on the people.
* Pray for the effectiveness of the JESUS Film among Albanians.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Gheg Albanians in Sweden and in Albania.