Greetings from Skopje, Macedonia!
After spending our first day in prayer, worship, and planning, we spent yesterday out in the city. First we went to Mount Vodno, to pray at the Millennium Cross over the city. The Millennium Cross is the world’s biggest cross. But we didn’t get to see it up close because the cable cars up to it were down for repairs. Instead we found a scenic overlook area where we could look down upon the city as we prayed for it.
Then we divided into 3 groups for prayer walks:
- The University, The National Theater, Art Museum
- The Government Buildings, The Holocaust Memorial, a missionary businessman’s businesses, and the Bridge over the River Vardar in the center of town
- The Methodist Church, The Orthodox Church, A Mosque, and the office of a Social Worker
I chose to go with the church group. The Methodist Church is the oldest and largest of the evangelical churches in Skopje. There we prayed for unity among the protestant churches and unity with the Orthodox Church.
From there we walked to the office of the Social Worker. Kati had shared with us the day before about the struggles in the family sector. Macedonia has many grave family issues, but few Social Workers and even less money. In fact, the government does not hire new Social Workers when one leaves. Instead, the work simply gets shuffled to someone else in the department—whether that person has any experience or knowledge about Social Work. And with all this institutionalized chaos, the need continues to grow, and more and more people come in looking for help.
As I listened day before yesterday to her explanations about the system, I could see the pain on her face. I know that if it were in her power, she would help every person who comes in for help. She was so grateful to have us come in to pray for her. It encouraged her very much.
From her office we went across the bridge and up the hill to the mosque on top of the highest hill in the city. There we sat on benches outside the mosque and prayed. Then we went back down the hill and across the river again. By this time we had walked such a lot that I was really exhausted. We stopped at a coffee shop owned by the pastor’s friend. While the pastor was talking to his friend I ordered a coffee and sat down. Then the pastor came over and said, “OK let’s go!” I slammed down my espresso macchiato and followed him to the Parliament building, where we were meeting with the two other teams. With some caffeine in my system, I felt revived—thank you Italy for the afternoon coffee habit that revives me!
We prayed at the Parliament Building and then went to dinner. There had been a sort of tension when we came to Skopje, and after our day of prayer walking, the tension was released. That made dinner a much more relaxed time.
As I looked through my pictures of the day, two of them struck me. The first is the statue of Alexander the Great, who the Macedonians call Alexander of Macedonia. The second is the picture of Millennium Cross as seen from the city. The first celebrates the accomplishments of man, while the second celebrates the victory over sin, sickness, and death—something that only God could accomplish. God is good!