News Release

Church Thanks Humanitarian Partners in Albania

First partner appreciation event held in Tirana, Albania

Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered at the Tirana International Hotel on Thursday, 2 November 2023, in Tirana, Albania, to express appreciation to directors of community organizations who partnered with the Church to serve the poor and those in need throughout Albania.

The Church has donated US$2 billion to charities and faith-based organizations throughout the world since it began its humanitarian efforts many years ago. Albania is just one of the 157 countries where the Church completed projects during the past year. 

“We strive to live the two great commandments – first to love God and second to love others,” said Elder Massimo De Feo, president of the Church’s Europe Central Area. “Our greatest joy comes from helping others.”

Christopher and Donna Ellsworth, humanitarian missionaries for the Church serving in Albania, presented gift bags to representatives of the many organizations who attended the event. A special painting depicting the parable of the Good Samaritan was included among the gifts.

“When Jesus was asked who is my neighbor, He answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan,” Sister Ellsworth said. “Jesus is the perfect example of caring for those in need. When we love God, He turns our hearts to loving and caring for others.”

“You are all great examples to us,” she said. “Thanks for joining us in this important work.”

Elder Ellsworth added, “We are so happy to be here among your people and to serve with you. We honor each of you and your organizations who do so much for the less fortunate.”

Lizi Grezda with the Mother and Child Foundation first started working with the Church 10 years ago. In the past decade, the Church has donated life-saving equipment to hospitals and “Boxes of Hope” for new mothers containing diapers, baby powder, clothes and more.

“We are very grateful and encouraged by the love the people of the Church have shown by partnering with us,” she said.

Blerta Drenofci, executive director of the Albanian Disability Rights Foundation, has been working with the Church since 1996 to help meet the needs of people with disabilities.

“One of our most successful projects is providing wheelchair services for people in need,” she said. “It is going on because of the generous support of the Church.”

The Church recently donated 800 wheelchairs, including some specially designed for people with specific disabilities. The Church also provides resources needed to help medical staff and social workers teach the recipients how to use their new wheelchairs.  

“The donations this year also are helping the foundation expand its network to provide support to more remote and rural areas of Albania," she said.

Jetmir Hysi and Jurgen Mene, leaders of the Church in Albania, also expressed their appreciation.

“I am grateful for the time and your sacrifice for those whom you have served and have changed their lives” said President Hysi, president of the Tirana Albania Stake.

He was followed by President Mene, President of the Elbasan District, who testified that “a life with God is a happier life”.

“It is wonderful to feel the spirit of collaboration and cooperation as we work together and share some of our feelings, even about the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Elder De Feo said. “The important work we do together not only allows us to help those in need, but to become better disciples of Jesus Christ.”

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