Two Became Five

By Caryl Aukerman

A couple's calling to serve in Albania with Global Partners has since become a family-centered ministry.

Compelled by the need, my husband and I launched into full-time ministry almost 11 years ago, dragging our two young children along for the ride, with a third to be born two years later. Then reality collided with us.

Our children sometimes found it hard to adjust to the new culture, shaped by a former, ruthless communist dictator and years of Muslim rule. As our children's individual passions and talents emerged, we realized our son is very musical, our daughter loves ballet and all of our three children are ardent artists. In our new neighborhood, we had a lot of difficulty finding resources to encourage them in these endeavors and develop their God-given gifts.

In fact, we wondered at times if we had done right by our children in coming to this poverty-stricken, difficult place to minister.

And then a new way of ministry emerged for us. As we saw God answer prayers for us to find ways to fan into flames our children’s interest in ballet, music and art, we realized that so many people in our neighborhood were in the same situation. We could see the sadness in neighbor children’s eyes when they asked if they, like our children, could learn to do ballet, art or music.

So, we bought pastels, paint and markers, and hosted classes in art and ballet. We prepared a Women’s Day recital and saw the side benefit as more people became interested in the God we praised and served.

Ministry became about our whole family sharing their giftings and giving back to the community.

Then came the day when our son hosted weekly worship times where participants were encouraged to create songs as well, resulting in Albanian worship songs. Ministry stopped being only Mom and Dad serving, hoping our children would be positive about our ministry and one day learn to live their own, separate lives in Christian service.

Ministry truly became about our whole family sharing their giftings and giving back to the community. Evangelism, discipleship and church planting involves each member of our family and include music, ballet and art. Our ministry and our family are stronger.