Ilir Dodaj: Durrës, Albania

“Ilir Dodaj: Durrës, Albania,” Ensign, October 2017

Portraits of Faith

Ilir Dodaj

Durrës, Albania

Service isn’t always convenient, but as a father and a bishop, Ilir Dodaj has tried to show his children that it is always worth it.

Cody Bell, photographer


An older sister in the ward had a tumor in her stomach and needed help every day because she could not move from her bed. Finally, she asked if just I would come, not another priesthood holder or any other person, because she was very sick and was going to die. She felt comfortable having her bishop help her.

One day I had an operation on my heart, and I was unable to visit her for a short time. When I went back to see her, she said, “Bishop, how can you come help me if you’ve just had an operation?”

I told her, “My calling is to serve others.”

Her death was coming soon and her body was starting to waste away. It was hard to see her that way, but she was not afraid to die. She loved God and knew the plan of salvation. “I know that God has a wonderful plan for me,” she said.

When she passed away, I reflected on the experiences I had with her and how good my calling as bishop is. I am grateful to serve others, love others, and help them. I love the gospel.


Ilir examines his tools while his son measures his height.


Ilir and his wife, Gjystina, kneel in prayer with their children.


Ilir’s service as bishop has set a good example for his son, who says, “I have a strong testimony. I love my family and pray each day for people in need of help.”


Ilir and his son walk through the streets of Durrës.


Ilir and Gjystina have been members of the Church for 10 years.