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All The Time Scary

On a recent Global Partnership video call, we heard from some of Multiply’s key partners in Lithuania. There, as in the rest of the COVID-19 world, everything feels out of control. What does mission and church planting look like in this context? 

“It is all the time scary,” said Arturas Rulinskas, who pastors a church in Vilnius and oversees the MB churches in Lithuania. “We never felt ready enough, even before this crisis. But now we cannot stop. We know that church planting must be our priority, always. That means a little bit believing, a little bit prophetic words, a little bit listening and talk, talk, talk!” 

“The pandemic has turned everything upside down,” said pastor Gediminas Dailyde. “So that means that we also need to turn everything completely around, 180°,” he added, referencing the new church he and his wife Kristina have planted in Vilnius, called 180° Church. “Everything must change. Thoughts, hearts, understanding - everything!”

The Church in Lithuania is encouraging people to turn their lives around and come to Jesus and to find a place of belonging in the community of believers. It is not easy to persuade them. A long history of corruption and oppressive rule has left this country scarred and her people cynical and mistrustful.

“The USSR impacted us badly,” Gediminas reflected. “Our men had no power; everything was decided for them. Our women had to hold the four corners of the household, as we say here. Their men were absent, depressed, drinking and trying not to think. Our people are still trying to heal from that.” Lithuania, he pointed out, has the highest rate of suicide in the world. COVID-19 has only served to intensify that crisis.

“We used to have some hope, said Kristina Dailyde. “Once, our countrymen allowed themselves to hope as the European Union, then called NATO, seemed poised to intervene. We thought things might get better.” Those hopes were quickly dashed, however, when little changed for the average citizen. “Now, no one wants to hope for anything, anymore,” said Kristina. “It is too scary.” 

Risk, however, seems to be exactly what God is calling the Church in Lithuania to embrace. Church planters like Gediminas, Kristina and Arturas are determined to make the Church in Lithuania a place of hope in the face of fear.

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