TIRANA, Albania Seventy young women came together in a force of friendship and faith at the first-ever nationwide Albanian girls camp here in the capital of Albania, on July 30-31. This camp was the largest Young Women activity in Albania since missionaries entered the country 12 years ago.
The young women left with a feeling of identity and belonging. "Through camp, we all came together like sisters," said Ema Iftiu, a 15-year-old from Tirana. "I came to realize I am truly a daughter of God."
Denada Maku, a 16-year-old from Durres, said, "Everyone came from a different home with different rules and problems, but there they were all united with the spirit of God, and were all one."
The theme came from Isaiah 40:31. The girls learned to rely on the Lord and each other and how to keep running, upholding their high standards. The young women received strength from one another in the standards they share despite their various backgrounds.
Sister Theodora Colton, wife of President W. Bryan Colton of the Albania Tirana Mission, said, "It doesn't matter that we are in Albania. They are young women who have testimonies and are strong."
After a strenuous five-hour hike up Mount Dajti, the girls paused to share their testimonies at a spot overlooking Tirana. They sat in a circle in the serenity of the mountains, wearing the same navy t-shirts, expressing the same beliefs and feeling the same spirit. Even though President and Sister Colton didn't understand all that the young women said, they felt their spirit and faith.
The testimony meeting became the highlight of their camp experience. Erblina Tope, a 13-year-old from Tirana, said, "We were all equal and no one was better than anyone else. We all poured out our hearts to each other. That meeting I will never forget."
Denada Maku compared the trial of life with the trial of camp. "Sometimes I got tired and couldn't go any further, and that reminded me of the times when I was feeling spiritually down and couldn't pray and couldn't read the scriptures. That kept me up and going during the journey."