One family, two home countries: a story of student missionaries
Sophomore Ema Vogli has served in the mission field since she was in 3rd grade, a move that was spurred by her parents’ desire to return home while also serving the Lord. They lived in Albania for eight years, serving at a local church and living on mission for the Gospel.
Vogli attended an English-speaking Christian school where she learned everything that she would have here in the U.S. On the weekends, the Vogli family served their community. Vogli grew up amongst the Albanian culture, and it became her home as well.
“On Saturdays and Sundays, we would be at church. On Saturdays, we would help out with the youth and kids ministries,” said Vogli. “The culture is just different, and so is having a different language.”
Even though she was born in Georgia, Vogli considers Albania her home. She grew up learning both Albanian and English, so to her, Albania is just as much of a home as the United States.
“The worst part was the move to Albania,” said Vogli. “I hadn’t lived there before, so getting used to the culture was different, but it did help that I already spoke the language.”
Ezra and Ema Vogli dress in traditional Albanian clothes. They enjoy immersing themselves in the culture and taking advantage of the time that they have in Albania because they know it is not forever.
Vogli has never had what most would consider a “typical education.” While in Albania, she continued her education just as she would have in the U.S. but with a few differences.
“School was really different because most of the kids who went there were missionary kids,” said Vogli. “We had kids from Korea, Guatemala, Brazil, and other places. It was really unique because even though we all had different home countries and things like that, we understood what everyone was going through. The community we built is amazing.”
With classmates from countries all over the world, Vogli was able to gain a unique perspective on life. All of the kids built lifelong friendships and bonded over the struggles that they were all going through.
The family’s decision to move back was recent. The move occurred over the summer of 2021, giving Ema and her younger brother, Ezra, little time to adjust to such a rapid and jarring change before starting school in August.
Erion and Jonida Vogli, Ema’s parents, are still living a life on mission, even in the U.S. However, with Vogli in high school, her parents feel another move would not be wise and would most likely hinder her education.
“I am still getting used to [the U.S.], but it will be okay,” said Vogli. “At the moment, I would prefer to go back to Albania because I miss it, but there are good things about living there and good things about living here. Either way, wherever I end up in the future, I’ll be content.”
Ema Vogli and her family love the weekends because of the opportunities they have to share the Gospel. At every opportunity, the family bonds with other Christians to share the gospel.