Lithuanian pastors visit eastern PennsylvaniaBy Jewel Showalter Eastern Mennonite Missions
LANCASTER, Pa. — Two pastors from the Free Christian Churches of Lithuania visited Pennsylvanian friends and churches for several weeks this summer, sponsored by Eastern Mennonite Missions.
“Who would have imagined, 15 years ago, that we’d have Lithuanian pastors here for a fraternal visit?” said Keith Blank, representative to Europe, at a reception for the Lithuanians during EMM’s Discovery and Enrichment Retreat for workers June 28.
Just 15 years ago Lithuania was not even on “the EMM map,” he said, but as the country opened up after the fall of the Soviet Union, EMM sent its first missionaries in 1994.
Lithuanian Pastor Modestas Gaubas said he had felt God drawing him ever since he was a child. After the fall of communism, he connected with missionaries and came to faith.
The Free Christian Churches of Lithuania, a group that relates closely to the worldwide Mennonite family, was sparked by the witness of Mennonites who lived in Lithuania for several years as they moved from Russia to Germany between 1968 and 1972. Two years ago FCC registered with the government. It now has six congregations, a Bible institute and a vision for church planting and missions.
“Six years ago, we never dreamed of seeing what we are today,” Pastor Aurimas Sinskis said. “Lithuanians are learning that economic growth doesn’t meet our deepest needs — only Jesus.”
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