March 2001View pictures on Web site at http://www.zyworld.com/Lithuania_Reporter/Home%20.htm Meet Arvydas Arvydas is the newest member of the congregation in Klaipeda. He has been studying with Kevin for a number of months. During the studies, Arvydas shared how he was baptized about 4 years ago in a small town in Lithuania. His description of how and why he was immersed was scriptural. Since that time he has been reading and studying his Bible while searching for a church. He attended several different ones, but always found things that didn't match the scriptures. Recently we were studying the pattern for the church in the New Testament and during these studies, he requested to be recognized as a member of our congregation. Arvydas is a carpenter, and he grew up in an orphanage, never knowing his parents. Still, he always has a smile on his face and has a very bright outlook on life, thanks to his faith and the hope he has in his life provided by his Lord. Two Evangelist Interns in Klaipeda In February Kestutis, joined Juozas as a preaching intern. Juozas had began his studies last fall, and he has said how much better it is to have a classmate now rather than studying alone. They are completing one Sunset International Bible Institute course per month and are currently working on Bible History I. Both men also have weekly time with Cliff and Kevin during which they work on the practical aspects of ministry including lesson preparation, lesson delivery, time-management, and counseling with members. Also, they observe Kevin and Cliff's teaching, interpret for some one-on-one studies, and assist in worship services in Klaipeda, Skuodas, and Kaunas. Juozas has delivered two sermons, and Kestutis has taught one of the men's classes as well as the Sunday Bible class once. Kestutis has excellent English skills, so part of his training includes translating tracts and other materials from English into Lithuanian. Before the Soviets left, Kestutis worked as a large animal veterinarian for a farm coop. As soon as they could, the farmers disbanded the coop and reclaimed their former land. Because they did not have money, they could no longer support a veterinarian and Kestutis took work way below his training level to provide for his mother and brother. He has been a student of the Bible for several years before the Carsons arrived in 1997. He was overjoyed when he found a church that taught and practiced the same things he had been reading about. The Edmonton church of Christ has committed to sending support to the Klaipeda church for Kestutis. Kestutis reports to the Klaipeda church and the members there will hold him responsible for his training and action. We are pleased that the Edmonton church, which has played such a vital role in training the Carsons, Turners, and Chris Nichol has expanded their role. Klaipeda Reaches Out with Tracts Kristiana, one of the translators in Klaipeda, stands in front of our new tract and lesson racks that now grace the walls in the entrance to the study center. On the racks are displayed WBS courses in English, Lithuanian and Russian, WEI courses, and a growing variety of tracts in Russian and Lithuanian. A Problem in Vilnius It is a good problem to have. The church has outgrown it facilities. The only hall for meetings can hold at the very most about 50 people. It is uncomfortable and perhaps even dangerous for larger crowds. Chris, Scott, and others continue to look for new options and new facilities to rent or purchase. The cost of property is lower than it has been in four years. Perhaps, the ideal time to move. Chris Goes to Montana Greg King, evangelist at the Rocky Mountain church of Christ in East Helena, MT visited Waterview in the fall, meeting with several elders and mission-minded men before speaking to the congregation. He has developed some interesting techniques in evangelism and integrating the new Christians into the congregation. FMM determined to send Chris there for a week in February. Chris writes about the trip, "For one week I spent time in Helena, Montana to observe the methods that are being employed in the church. I had the privilege of also meeting Steve Hopple who works with the church in Blair, Nebraska. We observed small groups, member training, leadership training, and one on one evangelistic studies. Greg also took the time to explain his curriculum for both Christians and non-Christians. I was pleased with the time I spent with the church there and of course with Greg and his family whom I had known from Edmonton several years back." Youth Rallies David Pryor and Paul Franks, two men from Mississipi who have helped with the youth camps over the last three years, came to Lithuania to help encourage the youth and prepare for this year's camps. Chris writes, "On Friday night, we had a youth evening with singing, a lesson, games and fellowship. About 30 teens showed up for a total attendance of 36 for the evening. It was a lot of fun and very encouraging. On Sunday, Paul delivered the sermon, David helped with the song leading, and we set a record in attendance for the year, with a total of 49 adults and teens and 23 children for a grand total of 72. Only two people were from North America; the rest were Lithuanians. Last year the record was 108 with people from both camps, and four different countries. All this was very encouraging. "On Wednesday David, Paul, and I will drive out to an abandoned camp near Moletai. The camp hasn't been used in years, but it is a good facility and could hold over 100 people. We will look at the camp and decide if it would serve us in our needs before contacting the owners. If it is satisfactory, we may be able to lease the camp a lot cheaper than the one we currently rent each summer." Medical Shipment Paying Off Chris writes, "The medical shipment sent to Vilnius in the early part of the year has almost completely been distributed to hospitals. All that remain are 6 items for pension homes. We have contacted nearly all the handicapped and pension homes in Vilnius that we can find, and we plan to keep contacting people until the last of the medical equipment is donated. This shipment has built good relations with the prison I work with in Vilnius. It also has helped build valuable relations with different organizations in Panevezys. We are already calling on these contacts to help us find accommodations for future short-term workers to that city. Opportunities We need people who are interested in presenting two Character for Kids Seminars in the fall and in teaching one-on-one Bible studies in Panevezys in the fall. If interested, contact Ken Sewell or the office.
By Ken Sewell | EUROPE | Lithuania