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Milena Bekeshi, Albania Pt 2

Of the many delights of visiting Albania this fall was meeting Milena personally. She became a widow at the time of her son’s birth. With her one year old daughter her pain was intensified by the family not telling her of her husband’s death. She did not know that the burial was completed until after her son was born. Today, she is 35, her son is 6 and her daughter 7.

She traveled with me in Albania to widows meetings. We shared walk and talk time shivering under an umbrella on the last leg of a visit to a widows home that could not be reached by car. I was impressed by her effervescent spirit and optimism.

Sitting in Radio 7’s conference room later, warming our hands over hot coffee, I asked her what her greatest challenges are today and her greatest blessings.

Greatest challenges
# 1 is always financial. Good full time jobs are hard to find in Tirana. She pieces together part time jobs to make ends meet.
# 2 Working versus parenting. How like employed moms dilemma here! Work expects 100% and children require it.
# 3 Decision making. So many voices advise her: parents, in-laws, but ultimately every decision rests with her--a lonely place to be.
# 4 Lack of understanding friends. She states, “When Genti died, our friends said they’d be there for me. It simply is not true. They don’t understand the pain, my needs, and they have their own needs and lives as well. Even after 6 years, its just so different.”

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Greatest blessings
# 1 Facing challenges! (This shows Milena’s strength!) She is sorry that Genti does not have the privilege of seeing their kids grow up. Like that first day of school. Just talking with them She’s loving it!
# 2 Raising her kids with her Christian values. Her’s are, first, good kids, and second, education. When she became a Christian she wanted to know God, and have a relationship with Jesus. Marrying Genti, his desires were the same. She realizes that life is temporary; she won’t always be there for them. But God will be. And that’s enough for her.
# 3 New friends. God has brought amazing friends into her life. They read your mind sometimes and recognize your needs, she says. They like to laugh. “They accept me as I am.”

I was humbled to share God’s love and Jesus salvation offer with a group of war widows. Milena told her personal story. 15 accepted Christ that day. One widow told me afterward, “You are like a strength for us.” Its God’s message and Milena is living it.