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Palms in Kosovo

by Tim Drenk

First, the background to Discovery Ministry's unique opportunity in Kosovo. When we made our first trip to Albania in 1999, the only plans we had was to deliver aid to the Kosovar refugees. As the Kosovars began their return home during our third trip of that year, we said that we hoped to visit them someday in their own homes. In October of that year, we traveled to Kosovo to reconnect with those we had helped in Albania.

Discovery Ministry has been very active in Kosovo over the past four years. We have led teams of people to Kosovo each year since our first trip. The objectives of the trips have been teaching conversational English, working on small construction projects, translating the Essentials for Spiritual Growth into Albanian, encouraging believers, and providing much needed help to numerous widows. The results have been far beyond anything we could have imagined. Several believers, including some pastors, are going through the Essentials for Spiritual Growth and beginning to disciple others. Kosovar believers have even said because of the continued trips, faith in Jesus Christ is being legitimatized in the eyes of non-believers.

In addition to what we're already doing, we came up with a unique way to help students learn English (with 80% unemployment, knowing English is a significant advantage to getting a job). We brought 55 Palm devices, mainly Palm m100s, with educational programs to two different schools, a public high school and a private English school. The main program we're using is English Tester. English Tester has a variety of tests that help students learn and use English, although some of the tests are very difficult. The added benefit of using the Palm devices is it exposes the students to new technology. There are few computers in Kosovo and hardly any handheld devices. This provides the students with experience with technology that other students in Kosovo don't have. And it's just cool to be able to do it on a Palm device. The Directors of both schools are excited about this unique learning experience for their students. Needless to say, it is a huge success with both students and teachers. It was the first time they had ever held a 'mini-computer'. We gave them a crash course on using the devices in general and how to use the English learning program. Most caught on quickly and enjoyed using them. These two schools are the only schools in Kosovo using Palm devices.

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