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There are things I don’t understand. Like blood feud. I’d maybe heard of it before, but it became personal and real to me last week, when I had close friends who lost someone to blood feud in Albania.  You can read a really great article about blood feud with solid references to other material here.

The family I’m currently living with–they are a lot of things to me, but we’ll call them my adopted family for the purposes of this discussion–they had a friend from Albania, Tani, pass away this week.  He was a long-time brother in Christ and partner in ministry to my family.  He and his wife pastor a church in Shkodra, a city in Albania.  Tani was sought out for years by this other family because someone from Tani’s family had killed a member in their family.  This blood feud goes back for generations between these two families.  Tani was a firm believer in the Lord, Jesus Christ and ran a ministry pastoring a church along with his wife, Elona and their two children, Gabrielle and Sarah.

What I don’t understand is the rationale behind this long-standing cultural custom of blood feud. It’s steeped in the concept of avenging death with death. For years, decades even, families will seek to violently and heartlessly murder a male member of the opposing family to avenge the death of one of their own. For Tani, this involved imprisonment in his own home.  He could have left Shkodra, his town and home, left his family and his ministry but he chose to remain and continue in the work that God had given him to do there.  He spent years sneaking around, driving cars with blackened windows, never walking through the plaza or across the street.  This is insane.  For generations this can go back and forth, with grown men acting like kids playing war, giving no recognition to the irrationality of this practice. Jerry, my adopted father, says it’s a waste of time to try and make sense of it all. They’re making rational something that’s completely irrational. That doesn’t make any sense and there’s nothing to figure out about it.

This is really the world we live in, isn’t it?  This mess, this disaster of a heartbreak. I’m saddened to call this my home. And so, I won’t.

I’m just a visitor here.

Join me in praying for Tani’s family, Elona and her children. And for his church in Albania.