SPECIAL REPORT: MISSIONS
"You are forbidden to preach your religion to others,"
ordered Fatmir's father. "You must keep it to yourself!"
Fatmir Spahiu had never been a staunch Muslim. But in 1994 when as a 16-year-old he told his family he had accepted Jesus as his Savior, they were furious. Fatmir had always respected his father, but he couldn't keep silent about his newfound faith. He had to tell others. One day family members saw him preaching, and when he got home, they were waiting.
"Leave this house!" his father demanded. "You are no longer our son. Let's see what your Jesus will do for you—if He will provide a roof for your head and food for your table!"
"Even if the whole world comes against me," Fatmir resolutely said, "I will follow Jesus until the end."
When Fatmir left his parents' home, the cold winter air had little effect on him. He was elated because he had heard the Lord clearly say, "Son, I will take care of you."
Fatmir felt impressed to go to a dormitory where a friend stayed. The guard who normally stood at the door wasn't there. Fatmir easily slipped in and found his friend, who took him to meet some Christian believers. When they heard what had happened, they said, "We will take care of you." They gave him a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and money to buy whatever he needed. The next day they took Fatmir to a church and Bible school where Rhema Bible Training College graduates taught.
Three days later, Fatmir's father began searching for his son. He was certain that something bad had happened. When he found Fatmir, he was shocked to learn that he had food, shelter, and money! The two sat on a bench on a busy street in Tirana, Albania's capital, and talked as heavy traffic whizzed by.
"I want your permission to go to Bible school," Fatmir said. Pointing to the people hurrying by, he added, "Do you see these people? If I do not tell them about Jesus, they will go to hell."
Amazingly, Fatmir's father consented. Fatmir completed his studies at the Bible school and later served as its director for five years.
Healed of Sickle-Cell Anemia!
Silvana, Fatmir's wife, began her journey of faith differently. At the tender age of one, she was diagnosed with sickle-cell anemia. For most of her life, she lived in constant pain and endured more blood transfusions than she could count. The doctors did not believe she would live past her 20th birthday.
Silvana accepted the Lord when she was 11, but she attended a church that didn't believe in healing. For another nine years, she didn't think her life could be different. Then a friend told her about Kenneth E. Hagin's book The Believer's Authority. Her friend had been healed after reading the book and shared how Silvana could be healed too.
Looking to the future, Silvana asked the Lord for a mate. "Lord," she prayed, "I want somebody who has faith." That's when Fatmir came into her life. Eventually they married and together they stood in faith for her healing.
"I took this challenge very strongly," says Fatmir. "I said to God, 'If I can't believe for my own wife, why preach this to others?' "
Silvana slowly began to get better. The pain began to ease and she stopped needing blood transfusions. Today there is no sign of the disease in her body! She has since given birth to twin boys, now age 6. Both have tested negative for sickle-cell.
They proclaim Christ's
healing Word with a confidence born of experience.
Preaching a 'Now' Jesus
Fatmir and Silvana now pastor Living Word Church, located 30 minutes outside of Tirana. They proclaim Christ's healing Word with a confidence born of experience. Healings are common in their services. But then, Fatmir is passionate when he preaches on the power of God.
"How can people have faith if they don't hear?" he asks. "We teach them, and then we challenge them to respond."
Fatmir further explains that people often talk about the Jesus of yesterday and the Jesus of tomorrow and forget about the Jesus of today.
"He is a 'now' Jesus," says Fatmir. "He wants to do miracles now. When He shows up, He doesn't want to be a visitor and see how we play church. He wants to take over a service and minister life to people.
"I preach this," Fatmir continues. "I stand in faith for this and challenge people to act in faith so they can receive. This is how miracles happen. We've made up our minds that we're not going to have church without the supernatural. Otherwise, we'll just be religious."
The Deaf Hear; The Sick Are Healed
When Fatmir was 17 and just learning to flow in God's supernatural power, he was part of a three-day evangelistic outreach in Tirana. A young girl asked Fatmir to pray for her 10-year-old brother. She wasn't specific about what the youngster needed, so Fatmir looked at the boy and asked him. The child just stared at Fatmir.
"He can't hear," his sister explained. "He was born deaf and he can't speak."
Fatmir laid hands on the young boy and prayed. Immediately he could hear. The boy's family was so touched by his healing that they all came to the conference the next day!
Later, when Fatmir was pastor of Living Word Church, a woman came crying and asking for prayer. Her 2-year-old nephew had suffered brain damage in a fall. Fatmir and Silvana prayed for the boy and had the church stand in faith for his healing. A month later, the woman testified that her nephew was completely healed and had no signs of brain damage!
During another service, Fatmir called for people who needed healing, and a woman and her 8-year-old son came forward.
"How can I pray for you?" asked Fatmir.
"I don't want you to pray," the mother said.
"Why are you here?"
"My son had a high fever when he was little and his eyes became permanently crossed. While you were preaching, I watched his eyes turn and become fixed! I came down to tell you what Jesus has done!"
Go Ye . . .
The Spahius are members of a coalition of Albanian pastors called Heart Covenant. They are standing in faith to see their nation transformed by the faith message. They also believe it's time to go to other nations. They've partnered with Spyros Voulgaris, director of Rhema Greece, to hold outreaches in Athens where many Albanians live. In May of 2013, the coalition held a three-day meeting in that city.
"The spirit of faith has gotten into our hearts," says Fatmir. "We live it, walk it, and are it."
"The church needs to grow in this," adds Silvana. "Not just to talk faith but to believe in faith and shine as the Body of Christ."
One thing is certain: whether in Albania, Greece, or any other nation, the Spahius will demonstrate God's love and healing power to anyone who is in need!
» For more Faith Library Publications books in Albanian
» For Heart Covenant pastors to be led and strengthened by the Spirit as they work for the Gospel in and out of Albania
» For revival in Albania
TO LEARN MORE
about Fatmir and Silvana Spahiu, go to www.fjalaegjalle.com