Report from Ken Sewell, Jan., 2000Volume 5, Issue 1, January 2000
A Request from KlaipedaRecently, Waterview received the following letter from the church in Klaipeda. Dear Waterview church of Christ: Greetings from the Klaipeda church of Christ. We would like to thank you for your great desire and efforts to help us. Since you support our community spiritually as well as financially, you help our church to grow, get stronger, and serve our Lord. We are especially thankful that you have covered all our rent expenses for the last two and half years. Since the first days of our existence, we have pursued a vision to acquire permanent premises for our church. We have found a building to purchase that would work well for worship services and other church activities, You will find the data about the location, planning, and price enclosed. There is also an explanation that will inform you about the financial advantage that would be gained from this purchase. As rent is relatively high in Lithuania, in only a few years the expenses for the rent of a building will actually exceed all the costs of the acquisition of the building We believe that the acquisition of this building will contribute to the growth and stability of our church. Since we will have a permanent place for worship and other church activities, we will be able to devote more of our resources and efforts to spiritual service. Also, permanent premises will greatly contribute to the image of a reliable Church to the citizens of Klaipeda. In order to accomplish this project, we need to ask you for financial help. Such a sum of money would be too large to ask for as a gift. Therefore we would like to ask you for this help in the form of an interest free loan. In the enclosure you will find an explanation of how we would repay this loan. Thank you very much again for your great help and care. Even if you will not be able to fulfill this request, let us use Paul's words to express our feelings towards you for the help that we have already received: This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions in thanks to God. Because of the services by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gifts. (1 Cor. 9:12 -15) Sincerely, Klaipeda Church of Christ representatives: Kesmtis Puoaziunas Alfonsas Krolius
Waterview's ResponseAfter carefully weighing the pros and cons, the Waterview elders determined to grant the Klaipeda church of Christ an interest free loan to purchase the new building. Many hurdles remain before the purchase is final, but the Klaipedians are excited about reaching out to their community more effectively and are vigorously pursuing this goal. At this time, they have made a binding offer to the building's owner with the caveats that he must obtain all the necessary assurances that the church can occupy and use the building for its weekly and day to day activities. The building is currently under construction. The second door from the left will serve as an entry to the worship area and the upper floors. The multipurpose U-shaped building has three stories with a basement. The Klaipeda church of Christ desires to purchase about a one-third of it. When finished it will contain a worship area on the first floor, offices and classrooms on the second and a 3-bedroom apartment on the third. The basement will house the heating unit and provide much needed storage space. Once the purchase is final, it will take about four months to complete. Each floor has about 1290 sq. ft. The first floor will be arranged to comfortably seat about 120 people, as well as provide a pulpit and foyer. On the second floor, attractive classrooms will serve both small and large study groups. Offices for the minister and secretary will also be located there. The Carson's plan to move into the third floor apartment when it is completed.
Location, Location, LocationThe location of the building meets the three top priorities of real estate and advertising. It is situated on the city's main north-south thoroughfare and will be easily reached by public or private transport. The high-rise apartment building visible in the background is only one of several nearby. Most Klaipedians either live near this neighbor hood or ride or walk by the building on their way to work and to shop. A grocery store and shops share the adjacent parking lot. Already five businesses are preparing their areas in the building, a pharmacy, a building supply store, a dentist's office, a flower shop and a small café. There are ample off-street parking spaces. A public parking lot and a small green belt lie between the building and the main thoroughfare, Taltos Street.
Financial AspectsWaterview elected to provide an interest free loan to Klaipeda so they will feel ownership of the building. Our goal is to plant indigenous churches which will long survive our efforts and reach out to evangelize the surrounding areas. From a financial standpoint, this purchase will remove Waterview's obligation to pay rent on the study center and the Carson's apartment. In addition, the Klaipedians pledge a substantial part of their weekly contribution to pay off the note. Cost-wise, the almost 5200-sq. ft. building (including the basement) is about $29 per sq. ft. Real estate prices have risen appreciably over the last few months and are expected to continue to rise as the economy improves.
TimingAlthough an offer has been made, there are still many government bureaucratic hurdles to overcome, so it is difficult to predict when the church will move.
Summer CampLast year, the Southeastern Lithuanian Christian Camp housed 110 children and resulted in at least 5 baptisms; 3 at camp and 2 on the day the children returned home. In 1998, only 54 children attended camp. The facilities are not suited to further expansion of the camp; therefore, two sessions are being planned this year, one for younger children and one for older. Russell McLaughlin will lead Waterview teens in early July to conduct a camp for third through sixth grade children. About 70 children are expected to attend. Danny Dodd will again lead a group associated with the Sardis Lake Christian Camp in Mississippi to hold a camp session for the seventh through twelfth grade ages.
New WorkersDuring the last few weeks, Foreign Missions and the elders have been interviewing candidates to move and work in Lithuania. We feel it is critical to enlarge the staff there as the work increases and the opportunities multiply. Continue to pray for this effort. Ken Sewell http://www.zyworld.com/Ken_Sewell/Home.htm
By Ken Sewell | EUROPE | Lithuania