Mission History in Albania
1990: Initial contact is made between a WELS member and relatives in Albania.
1995: An initial mission visit is made by WELS personnel to Albania. Eleven people are baptized. WELS Bulgarian missionaries visit Korce and Durres. Further exploration of the feasibility of mission work is completed.
1996: The first and second missionaries accept a call to Albania. Worship attendance averages 22.
1997: Missionary families are forced to evacuate due to civil unrest. Several months, later one missionary family is able to return. Average worship attendance is 20.
1998: Worship is held on Saturdays and attendance averages 31. The missionary family is later evacuated again. An Albanian lay member takes ministry classes and conducts services with average attendance of 75. The national lay member also makes monthly visits to Pogradetz and Korce. Approximately 15 people attend at each location.
1999: Bulgarian missionaries continue their visits, and the Albanian lay member continues his training.
2001: Safety and living conditions are favorable for a resident missionary. The calling process begins and church attendance exceeds 200 on several occasions.
2006: A two-man team arrives in Albania. English as a Second Language (ESL) classes begin in Tirana and Durres. The Durres church celebrates their 10-year anniversary.
2006-2009: Volunteer English as Second Language teachers in Tirana and Durres assist with teaching and outreach.
2008: The last WELS missionary, Bruce Ahlers and his wife Barbara, leave Albania.
2009: Albanian evangelists carry on ministry at both locations after the last missionary returns to the United States.
2013: Agron Mece and Mikel Bishka, who had been serving as shepherds of the two congregations in Tirana and Durres, complete their studies after 10 and 14 years respectively and are ordained by Pastor James Hoff, chairman of the Europe Administrative Committee.
2015: Nikolla Bishka begins studying to become a pastor, a vital blessing for the future of the Albanian church.
2016: The Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Church of Albania celebrates their 20th anniversary of its first worship service. Pastor Richard Russow, the first missionary to Albania, returns to lead the festival service.
2019: Nikolla Bishka is installed and ordained as the third pastor in the Albanian Lutheran Church.