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All the Time Scary

On a recent video call we heard from Gediminas and Kristina Dailyde, Multiply’s key partners in Lithuania. “In the USSR, we all knew what our lives would be,” said Kristina. “There were no choices. Everything was controlled, ordered by the government. It was supposed to make things easier, but it gave no hope.” 

Times have changed in Lithuania. There, as in the rest of the COVID-19 world, everything now seems 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 churches in Lithuania. “We never felt ready enough, even before the crisis. But 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!” 

It means to turn everything completely around, 180°,” Gediminas added, speaking of the new church he and his wife planted in Lithuania, called 180° Church. “Thoughts, hearts, understanding, everything!”

As a global pandemic turns lives upside down, the Church is encouraging people to turn their lives around and come to Jesus. It is not easy. A long history of corruption and oppressive rule in Lithuania has left that country scarred and her people cynical and mistrustful.

“The USSR impacted us badly,” Gediminas said. “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. The men were absent, depressed, drinking and trying not to think. Our people are still trying to heal from that u” Lithuania, he pointed out, has the highest rate of suicide in the world.

There were moments when the country allowed themselves to hope as the European Union, then NATO, seemed poised to intervene. Those hopes were quickly dashed when little changed. “Now, no one wants to hope,” says 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. Heart by heart, they are doing just that.

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