A few days ago I received and email from a special missionary friend. This husky and vibrant worker has travelled and led teams all across the southern Balkans. He told me that “the video of the Mountain people of Northern Albania, is of my guys” and reminded me that these are the people that we reported on almost 2 years ago. This prompted me to go back and find those reports and pictures that he had sent and also to look at the history of this previously unreached people group; The Gorani. From Wikipedia we find that “The Gora region comprises Dragaš municipality in Kosova and Shishtavec village in Albania. They are adherents to Islam and have a rich and varied folk culture.”

My friend’s first report came on September 10, 2008: “Thanks a lot for prayers for the Gollobord outreaches. The G is the Slavic Muslim unreached people group in the Eastern mountains of Albania. After 4 years of teams and outreaches to them and only one convert, we did 2 teams this summer, evangelized and also fixed a school. Many villages were opened up to the Gospel, many tens of people received Jesus.”

The next year, on August 15, 2009 he reported: “We did fine, and so did God, among the Gorans. I think more was done spiritually in 10 days there than in the previous 500 years.” Then on 10 August we received details in a report titled The Goran Outreach:  

Shower in Gora

“The Lord and 18 others of us, 10 from Norway and 8 Albanians (myself included) did a 10 days outreach to the Eastern mountains of Kukes in Albania to touch the Goran people with God’s love, power and mercy. He and we used a multiple action approach: We prayed at ancient church-sites. bound devils at heathen sites, climbed the highest peak in the region to worship God and proclaim His rulership.”

Fixing the kindergarten

He continues… “gave aid to poor families, did village and house visits, did open air presantations of the Gospel in drama and preaching, repared a kindergarten, organized football matches with local youths, gave educational aid to a school.” He went on to say: “followed up on the very few believers there (some of them became believers during those days, a few others were believers that became founded or strengthened), did children ministry, healed some sick and brokenhearted, cast out some devils, and baptized.

Baptism in Gora

All this the Spirit of God used to change both us , many individuals, families, villages, and the Goran people for the better. And He provided wonderful weather to prove His power to those “who had eyes to see”. We had several days of rain just before our visit and during our time there, so that the person serving us making food etc, was available for us all the time, not needed to water the usually very dry mountaneous fields from early morning to late evening. Other Gorans too saw the blessings of God upon their land making it lush and green and making the temperature a lot more durable than during other summers. Thank you a lot for prayers!”

Plans for the future after the 2009 outreach: “God has given me Psalm 83 as a guide for prayer for the few, young and likely weak Gorani believers… We will do monthly follow ups and also a 4 days team-trip in the middle of the fall, the Lord willing, to look after, build and baptize more believers there.”

Yesterday my friend notified me that the monthly follow-ups were discontinued after a while, but let me know that his Gorani friends have not seen the last of him.

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It was in 2002 at Ur Rétje, the Ellel Ministries Eastern Europe base located 26 km Northeast of Budapest, Hungary that we first met two enterprising and lovely ladies from Slovakia, Gabriela Pristachová and Lubica Lazokova. Ellel East leaders from Eastern Europe nations were gathered. Gabriela was there as interpreter and is still ‘senior’ in that role; Lubica was the go-to person for their work in Slovakia.

They were being trained by Ellel East for leadership prayer ministry to effectively serve Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel to the poor, proclaiming release to the captives and downtrodden, healing – spirit, soul and body and deliverance from the shackles of Communism for their fellow-Slovakians.   

We heard about The Manor where Ellel East would someday hold their schools and had seen pictures of the reconstruction work going on to restore a broken-down 250-year old castle in the town of Licince. Lubica is a visionary that had studied one year at the school Community Emmanuel and Exodus in Italy. From that experience, God formed in her the dream and vision to direct her life toward “the purpose of re-socialization of drug and alcohol addicted people – a serious problem in Slovakia.

After the experience in Italy, she dove into her work with the addicted and formed the non-profit organization Per Te. in 1991. As this work progressed, she found this old castle and saw it as much more than just a relic, it could be restored. The purchase took place in 1994 and husband Julius Lazok was just the right person to manage the reconstruction work. What a personable guy! He is masterful in relationships with local workers. Through Per Te she was able to find grant-money from the Slovak government and Julius used the grant money to mobilize and lead a large workforce of local people, bringing jobs to workers from the most economically depressed regions in Slovakia.

About 4 years into this, the County Authority restricted further work with the addicted until the building was completed. But Lubica, not one to wait around during the rest of this reconstruction, was already pursuing the equipping process she would need to fulfil her dream. She attended the Kenneth Hagin School of Ministry in Prague, Czech Republic and began building relationships with leaders across nations in her region (i.e. the Poland Association for Drug Addiction. Ellel East had been seeking outreach into Slovakia and God brought His Slovak leader, Lubica and The Manor to their attention. Lubica and her friend Gabriela as interpreter would be well trained and polished for the adventures ahead.

Ellel East would become one of the first ministries to use the completed building and we were invited to go along for the training sessions early-on. We were in awe with the beauty of this historic masterpiece. The building was complete and now they were at work on a fence that would surround the property and refurbish the quarters that Lubica, Julius and their 2 adopted Roma children as well as other outbuildings. Today, much of that work has been completed and available to other ministries.

 Fortunately for Ellel East, in 2008 they were able to take their schools to a larger venue on the YFC Ranch at Kralova Lehota near Ruzomberok. It was not so fortunate for Lubica, Julio, their kids and Per Te,. Soon after Lubica wrote:  We are working now only with small activities with poor… some American Missionaries came to work with the gypsies and were offered accommodation, but was not received and I do not know why…  I am waiting now on the Lord what to do next even it is not easy because we are here alone.”

She has stayed strong in her convictions that the best use of The Manor would be “for addicted people as Slovakia really needs this ministry. People in this area, but also most of the Slovak population try to solve their spiritual and economic frustration by using alcohol and drugs.” In a letter to Teen Challenge, she wrote “I am turning to you because you do this ministry in a Godly way, best in the world. Slovakia needs your ministry of resocialisation and evangelisation to be set free from the bondage of the devil.“

Teen Challenge-Slovakia, already in Sered, is just not in the position economically at this time to open another center. Then, there was a promising contact with a 68 year-old pastor who had once been an addicted client in Teen Challenge. He founded a center for addictions and wanted to do one for Slovakia and the Czech Republic. There has been no response to Lubica’s inquiries since. So we ask, “God, what direction should Lubica and Julius take now?” Thus, you see this post on our blog.

Lubica, also a lawer, says that the castle, family house (pictured left below)  and  outbuildings (pictured left above) is on 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) of land and a recent appraisal for the property is 715,000 euros. There are several possibilities including co-ownership and rent. The Manor will make wonderful facilities for a ministry to occupy. Hungary, Ukraine, Romania and Poland are not far away. Nearby Tornala and Rimavská Sobota have train depots and Košice has both rail and air transportation.

In addition to her studies in Prague and having acquired qualifications as an Ellel counselor, and thus could work alongside most ministries in this kind of work in the Slovak region of Gemer. She says, however, “if the Lord calls us to another location where we can continue the work of worship and inner healing, we will go.”Contact Lubica at

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A fun Sunday afternoon at an Eaterem along the Danube with Roger and Chris Pook

Hello dear ones as I begin this blog finally, with clear intentions from the Lord to have it supplement the monthly newsletter Kingdom Advances 40-70EE that Joyce and I have been doing for a few years now.  This blog will mainly serve to announce news items of special importance. We are very active on Facebook with nearly 200 friends that are mostly missional in interests.  No, we don’t do twitter yet :-).

I am also updating our website where you will learn more about who we are there, where we have been, and the direction we are headed. In brief, we are a couple, 180-deg different in the way God made us, purposed us and called us. The Lord blessed us with 4 children. Joyce mainly being a stay-at-home mom and I worked in agricultural research with the USDA, often travelling abroad under a USAID grant that took us to developing nations.

After retirement we volunteered at ECHO in agricultural missions, before going off to Eastern Europe with Ellel Ministries Eastern Europe for 2.5 years.  Our focus now is using the model for evangelism that Jesus gave us in Luke 10 through Community Development, business as missions, planting churches and making Jesus disciples that multiply what He puts into them and multiply it on into others.

If you have a special news item of urgency, regarding what God is doing in the former Communist nations, is the place to send it and we will try to get it into this blog

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