Juanita & Salvano in Albania

‘I can’t believe I’m in Albania.’
Juanita thought.


She wanted to pinch herself as she took in the beautiful beach view in front of her. She and Salvano had rented a car and bought a tent so they could camp on the beach.
It was just beginning to dawn, and as the sun rose slowly up out of the horizon, Juanita meditated on a particular bible scripture that came into her heart that morning.

” God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Numbers 23:19.

Juanita was remembering her dream of her time spent with God, their conversation and the tour of her heavenly treasure room filled with all the good things God wanted to give her. She smiled, thinking back to when God had shown her a glimpse of her husband. She had asked God then,

Why can’t I see his face clearly?

Back then God had said,

” Let your meeting up with your husband happen naturally. If I were to show you his face, you would scour the whole earth to find him, by the time you did meet him you would look like a frantic, frazzled haired mad woman. Everything with me is easy, let it be easy my daughter.”

‘How quickly that part of God’s promise had been fulfilled,’ Juanita mused. Her heart was full of praise for God. She said to God,

” Thank you for such a hot, sexy and strong minded husband. I’m a happy wife. Salvano and I get along so well. Thank you for caring about your Juanita and giving me a man I truly desire and love.”

Juanita continued thinking on the scripture; God had promised that she would travel, that she would sell many embellishments, that she would have many prosperous generations of children. Most importantly God would be her friend and help along the way. She thanked God again in her heart.

When she felt compelled, she got up and went outside their tent leaving a still sleeping Salvano snoring contentedly. She lit their small camp stove and began to put together a quick breakfast for her and Salvano. Their breakfast consisted of cheese, jam and toasted bread, olives, salami slices, honey comb and some hot coffee. Juanita also boiled four eggs.

By the time she was putting the coffee in a thermos, Salvano had woken up. He called out to her that he was going to relieve himself down by the public bathrooms. She called back,

” Remember to carry 50 lek to pay for the toilet.”

” Oh yes, ah yes babes.” Salvano said returning to the tent to grab some coins.

While Juanita waited for her husband to return, she spread out their breakfast on a small foldout table. She spent time on the presentation of the food wanting it to be pretty to the eyes as well as delicious to their tongues.

When Salvano returned, he stopped and stretched and then came over to kiss Juanita’s cheeks.

” Mhmm this looks good! But I think I want some tuna too. Let me go get it.” Salvano said.

Salvano went into the trunk of their rented car and got a tin of tuna out of their bag of groceries.

They quickly began eating, making appreciative noises every now and again. Juanita especially loved putting melted Kaçkavall cheese on her bread and jelly. Salvano made a salami and tuna sandwich and ate olives in between his sandwich bites. They both had a piece of honey comb to smooth their digestion.

When they were done eating there was still plenty of leftovers, which Juanita neatly packaged and put away in a sealed container. Neither of them had eaten the boiled eggs.

They sat in their fold out chairs for a while, digesting their food and enjoying the remote silence. Soon, Juanita told Salvano about the bible scripture that came to her mind that morning. Salvano listened intently.

” It’s one of my favorite scriptures” Juanita said.

” God is not a man that he should lie.” Salvano repeated.

” I want that word to go down deep in my inner spirit, so that anytime I’m tempted to doubt or give up, I can remember who is really in control… you know.” Juanita said to Salvano.

” In this day and age, when you speak God’s words by faith…people around you… look at you strangely, even the ones who say they believe in God. But I like that you choose to take God at his literal words Juanita. Your inspiring my faith too.” Salvano said.

Juanita inwardly smiled at Salvano’s praise. Then she said,

You know Salvano, I remember once listening to a testimony by a Chinese brother named Brother Yun. They also nicknamed him ” The Heavenly man”. This man was imprisoned about four different times in his country for preaching about Jesus. He was electrocuted, beaten, had his legs broken, fasted in prison for 74 days till he was unrecognizable, paraded and humiliated before his people, separated from his wife and kids…who themselves had to face extreme poverty. His wife De Ling had to raise their son by herself while he was away preaching or in prison. If Brother Yun wasn’t on the run from the law preaching all over China.. he was in prison being persecuted. However through it all God used him to reach many unreachable and hardened criminals, officers and officials in the prison. His soul also developed, he bore fruits of the spirit, learnt to trust God totally, saw Jesus was real for himself. I would love if we watched and listened his testimony together tonight.” Juanita said

” I would like that too..” Salvano said keenly interested.

” Thanks baby.” Juanita warmly replied

” I’m all for delving deeper with God Juanita, so if your feeling a pull towards that…then I’m with you. I’m feeling the pull too.” Salvano said quietly. He pulled Juanita into his arms and kissed her forehead, her nose, her cheeks and chin.

” We sure aren’t your typical couple are we?” Juanita said smiling,

” I don’t want to be the usual couple babe.” Salvano responded.

” You don’t think we need some married friends or for us to go to more get togethers that we’ve been invited to?” Juanita asked teasingly.

‘When you and I, as husband and wife, are taking the time out to get to know each other…. without all the noise of other people’s voices around us and we’re traveling together and having new experiences….how can we have time for stupid get togethers where everyone is trying to one up each other?” Salvano replied.

“When we’re busy enjoying ourselves in the way that we truly like to enjoy ourselves, doing what we genuinely like to do together…. how can we get caught up in the hype and the profiling and competing with other couples on social media? I don’t care about other couples Juanita, I only care about you and me. We have nothing to prove to anybody.” Salvano said, feeling these words bubbling up in his chest.

“When we’re hiking in the mountains and where helping each other, laughing and we’re building a fire or we are setting up camp and talking and bonding and building our relationship, that’s what is important.” Salvano finished saying sincerely.

Juanita listened, taking in Salvano’s wise observations. He was right. Them spending so much time with each other really gave them time to go deeper with their relationship. Juanita felt glad that she wasn’t on the phone gossiping with some girlfriend and Salvano wasn’t somewhere hanging with the “boys”.

They were now husband and wife, the closest bond on earth. For God had said, ‘you should leave mother and father and cleave to your spouse’. God had also said ‘ the two that I have put together, no man can put asunder’.

A few hours passed, Juanita and Salvano spent their early morning swimming in the clear sea under the very warm sun. Every now and again, a few passerbys would stroll along, either looking for camping spots themselves or exploring the beach. The area they were camping was an approved camp ground that had bathroom and shower facilities available to the public.

Salvano watched as Juanita floated on her back in the sea, he swam closer to her and asked,

” Are you ready to go to the festival babe?” Salvano asked.

They had heard there was a small festival called Gjirokastër Folk Festival being kept in the region of Gjirokastër where they were camped.

” Oh yeah!” Juanita said excitedly.

Chuckling at his beautiful wife’s excitement, Salvano, dared her to a race to the beach shores. He gave her a headstart which she took and swam off enthusiastically. Salvano watched her go for a while, her strong arms cutting through the water. Then he began chasing her. In a short time he overtook her and reached the shore.

When Juanita came out of the water behind him, she was breathing heavily. She came beside Salvano and laid back on the rocky sandy beach and let the sun hit her.

” Salvano I’m so happy. I’m so so happy and content.” Juanita exclaimed.

” Me too my love, me too.”

After a while they went to shower and changed into some clothes. Salvano got the directions for the festival venue and entered the directions into the GPS of his car. When they were packed up and ready, with their tent folded up…the two explorers took off in search of the festival.

It took over two hours to find the festival. When they reached, there were plenty of people walking on foot; some dressed in traditional clothing. There were men directing people’s cars to where they should park. There was singing and dancing going on and a general feeling of merriment. This particular festival only took place every four years. So Juanita and Salvano we’re fortunate to have been visiting Albania in the festival year.

They had to walk through the small town all the way up to a steep plateau. They were going up to a stage set up by the Gjirokastër castle. Along the way there were booths of all kinds and food stalls. They saw old men dancing in a circle, young girls dressed in traditional dresses dancing too, artists practicing their songs with drums beating. There were many tourists, like them, taking in the scenes.

Juanita ended up buying some beautiful handmade trinkets for herself which she saw at a eyecatching booth. She also bought a traditional men’s head wrap for Salvano. For the rest of the afternoon into the late evening they enjoyed the different bands from all over Europe that performed on the stage. They ate traditional sweet treats and ended up talking to several people for brief periods. All in all it was a good day.

When they were getting tired, Salvano suggested they get going. Too tired to make the two hour journey all the way back to their campsite, they looked up the nearest hotel they could find and booked it for a night. By the time they checked in the hotel, got to the room and bathed together, they were beat!
Salvano, turned over to switch off their bedroom lights and turned back to kiss Juanita goodnight. He was surprised to find her fast asleep. He was usually the one who fell asleep the fastest.

” Seems my queen was very tired. Thank God I didn’t force it to drive back and set up camp.” With those last thoughts Salvano settled into bed himself, and followed Juanita to sweet rest.