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Local mayor to travel to Kosovo

Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist

Lilburn Mayor Johnny Crist

LILBURN -- As a pastor, Johnny Crist has visited 15 countries. As a mayor, a trip to Kosovo next week will be his first international undertaking.

The trip is actually church-related, spurring from a relationship Grace Fellowship Church in Snellville forged with the government, when about 20 college kids traveled to the United States last year.

Crist met with officials who came along on the trip and received an invitation to talk to government and business leaders during the church's return trip with teens.

While the city is not footing the bill, Crist said the Kosovo officials have asked him to talk about leadership and possibly forge an informal sister city relationship.

"We're just continuing to foster a good relationship," Crist said. "It's just people connected with a common purpose and hope to learn from one another."

Crist, who leaves Tuesday, said he would spend the majority of his time helping the teens, doing devotionals and preaching, a task he is familiar with after 30 years as pastor of Atlanta Vineyard Church. He joined Grace Church when he retired to run for mayor.

Service trips are always exciting, he said.

"You look at your perspective on the world very differently," he said