Erik Kalemi

Korce, Albania

My Life

“How does the sun rise?” began a question that school day in second grade in September of 1999. Like every child, I had many questions, for example I heard my grandmother as a strict Muslim  who told me that we will live forever with the Lord.    In my head these questions kept coming: How will we live with God? What will it be like to live forever? Fear knocked in my heart because I had no idea what it all meant.   That year, I really missed my father because he was living as an emigrant, but one friend from school invited me to go to a children’s meeting in Nehemiah Church. I went and the first meeting with Jesus was fantastic, more beautiful than anything else. That’s all I could understand as an 8-year old. From when I was 8 until 12 I lived in Albania. Afterwards, after the death of my father, I emigrated and in that time began many problems, different friends, parties etc. Little by little I walked away from God and completely understood that I had commited my life to my own pleasures and desires.   The Lord already belonged to the past. I didn’t think anything about faith or even had any interest in what pleased God.  I began to surround myself with friends that were addicted to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. The strangest thing was that I didn’t try anything like this. For some time, I ended up along with the Jehovah’s Witness with the idea and hope that I found the truth, but I felt so empty. Then there came a moment when I returned to Albania. During that time a fellow-believer prayed for me from the church I attened as a child.   He invited me to visit the Church of God. I’d say it was 9 or 10 years after I had left Albania. What changed that meaeting? I rememberd the first meeting when I was 8-years old with Jesus and God touched my heart saying to me, “My son, this is the place you must be.” And in that moment I was re-baptized in tongues (I was baptized when I was 9-years old but I lost it when I walked away from God).   In that moment came the question, “Who am I?”   God called me saying you are my son. This is a picture that illustrated my life. How could I,  a person, who thought I didn’t have any value, no future, far away from God, be called his son? I who was a broken down house without doors or windows would be the Temple of God, of a holy God?! There were many other strange questions but in Jesus I found my lost identity while many young adults are given over to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.    Now I am blessed, serving God in preaching, the worship group, and ministries that we have for the poor. I thank God that I didn’t fall into addiction like many young adults, but Jesus protected me. My life belongs to Christ.   Psalm 27:4  

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

   

 

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