Report from Kenneth Sewell, March 2002
See the web site for pictures http://www.zyworld.com/Lithuania_Reporter/Home.htm
Tune in for the Gospel
However, you won’t be able to listen unless you are in Lithuania. After several months of searching, a radio station in Klaipeda has finally agreed to provide broadcast time. On March 3, the message spread via the airwaves to about 42,000 people within forty miles of Klaipeda. Each week, Shawn will work with Juozas and Kestutis to prepare the thirty-minute message. Then they will record it in Lithuanian at the station for the 9 AM Sunday morning broadcast. Shawn says everyone in the church is very excited about the possibilities. Every program includes invitations to submit questions and to study in person or by correspondence. World Radio, sponsored by the White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ, is providing the necessary funds.
Joy filled Vladimir as he sat in the portable baptistery in Klaipeda. Cliff wrote, “I was very excited to see Vladimir accept Jesus as his Lord in baptism. We have been studying for about eighteen months after he came to the study center. On his first visit, he wanted to argue against the existence of God. After he saw the evidence, he understood that God did exist and that He had made a plan to save mankind from sin. However, Vladimir was hesitant about acting on his newfound belief in God. He attended many of the church’s activities including the summer camp and there he saw many examples of people who had committed their lives to Christ. He decided to do the same himself.
“Vladimir was baptized on Tuesday night and all of the people from the men's and ladies classes came to witness his baptism. Vladimir even brought some of his friends. We were overjoyed that he had the courage to make his commitment to God in front of his friends who are not of the same mind. Vilmarie had prepared Vladimir's favorite dish (super spicy chili) and we all stayed to celebrate his new life over supper.”
Media, the Same Everywhere
A young Lithuanian reporter in Skuodas, Sandra Zemaityte, attended a Sunday worship service. She had been a World Bible School student and had studied for a week two years ago with a Center for Christian Education group. What she saw was different from her familiar Roman Catholic teachings and she became alarmed. When she saw that the church is now meeting in her hometown, she interviewed Cliff and wrote an article that appeared in the local paper. She viewed this effort as a new church in Skuodas and became concerned that it threatened the believers. Fortunately, the article did not drive away the visitors and people continue to come each Sunday.
After requesting equal space, the newspaper permitted Cliff to write a response to the article. It was published in full on the second page. Perhaps it is true that all publicity is good, and this article will help the citizens of Skuodas to better appreciate their opportunity to know God’s teachings.
Klaipeda Vision Statement
The Klaipeda team has determined that their vision is “To build a self-reliant congregation of the church of Christ in Klaipeda made up of Christians active in evangelism and service who recognize the importance of contributing to the work of the church as the pillar and foundation of the truth. and entrusting that truth to reliable men in order to reach beyond Klaipeda.”
This is the web site of Vilnius Kristaus Baznycia, or as we say, the Vilnius Church of Christ. Pray that the Internet can provide the means of reaching many.
Chris wrote, “The people in the church here have been asking for another retreat this spring, and Ilia brought it up to me. I saw this as an excellent opportunity to train him further in organizing church activities. I asked him, ‘You really want this retreat?’ He answered, ‘Yes, and not only me, but people here in Vilnius and in Klaipeda.’ I responded, ‘Well, let’s see how much you really want it. You will be the director of this retreat, and if it is something you really want to have, then that means we will have a retreat this spring.’ At first he was a little surprised, and didn’t believe I was giving him such a large task to organize. I told him that I was quite serious and that whether the retreat takes place or not depends entirely upon him and the people to whom he delegates responsibility. I also explained a couple rules to him. First, he was allowed to delegate only one task to me, all other tasks had to be delegated to Lithuanians. Second, he could look to me only for advice on how to organize the retreat, and I would not give him any instructions. How has he done so far? Much better than I expected. He has been on the phone nearly everyday negotiating the price of cabins and transportation, delegating responsibilities, and planning the theme. He actually negotiated the price of the cabins down much more than I have ever been able to get out of our camp owner. He has gotten nearly 30 people to sign up so far, and the retreat isn’t till April 5th. I have been very impressed, and I hope that the retreat is a great success. This will not only boost his confidence, but it will encourage the rest of the church to follow-suit.”
The ladies in Vilnius invited Donna to present a special series entitled “Being a Christian Woman in a Broken Family.” She traveled from Klaipeda to speak Saturday night and Sunday morning. On Saturday evening, 17 women gathered to discuss overcoming severe problems in the family, and on Sunday morning, 27 women gathered to talk about finding strength in the church. All the women who attended seemed very happy with the opportunity to open up and listen. They have already invited Donna to come back for another series.
Our Newest Missionary
Taylor Danielle Dodd, born February 14 to Danny and Terri, will accompany her parents to Vilnius, Lithuania this month. Many are eagerly awaiting her arrival there, and she is certain to warm
By Ken Sewell | EUROPE | Lithuania