Special World of Hope Report: Lithuania

, , , ,

The following update just came in from Nathan and Dawn, serving with us in Lithuania. I’m excited to see how some of the needs of Lithuanians have been met by generous Canadians. May we see these gifts supernaturally multiplied!

With rising costs of living and increased unemployment leaving many families struggling to feed their children, and some even devastated by the loss of their homes, the unusually long winter in Klaipeda has been particularly harsh. As the line-ups at the city’s few soup kitchens and social organizations grow longer, the supplies on the shelves quickly run out.

At one church in our city, a weekly food bank helps to provide those who are in need with staple foods, as well as a sympathetic ear, prayer and spiritual encouragement. So, when desperate families, single mothers,  young couples, and pensioners line up with their empty grocery bags on Thursday afternoons, there is often a question of whether or not there will be enough food to help everyone.

Through the World of Hope project, “A Step Up,” our goal was to provide the church’s food bank with enough supplies to make at least 20 individual bags of dry groceries. For a few people, these foodstuffs could mean the difference between feeding their families and going hungry. Through the generosity and concern of people who responded to this need, we are thrilled to report that the World of Hope project has enabled us to purchase supplies for 70 bags of groceries! In addition to the purchased dry foods, the city has also begun a program of collecting dated items and spoiled produce from local grocery stores for distribution through selected charities. This new initiative is helping to expand the resources of the church’s food bank, and is providing extra food, more variety, and increased nutrition to both the poor and homeless.

Each bag of groceries includes:

  • 1 bottle of cooking oil
  • 1 bag of sugar
  • 1 bag of buckwheat
  • 1 bag of dry split peas
  • 2 tins of meat or fish
  • 1 can of vegetables
  • 1 package of pasta
  • 1 box of tea
  • 1 package of cookies

How Far Can You Stretch $200?

, , ,

If the previous post whet your appetite for Lithuania stories, here’s another from Nathan and Dawn.

We recently received a generous $200 donation from a friend in Canada, with a request that we use it to purchase supplies for the Salvation Army food bank. With so many people struggling to feed their families these days, the tiny Salvation Army food bank has been stretched by an overwhelming number of appeals for help. So today, armed with two shopping carts, the Salvation Army van, the help of Joakim (a Swedish SA officer who lives here), and a thick wallet, we stormed the aisles of the largest grocery store in town. We tried to purchase things that were most needed at the food bank, and all of us were surprised by how much we were able to keep piling into our carts. Here’s just how far $200 can go:

  • 15 loaves of bread
  • 20 bottles of vegetable oil
  • 20 containers of margarine
  • 24 kilograms of sugar
  • 20 boxes of tea
  • 70 tins of meat
  • 20 bags of dried pearl barley
  • 90 packets of ramen noodle soup
  • 20 bags of macaroni pasta

Congrats, Nathan!

, , ,

I just received this from Daryl, our Europe and Asia Area Director:

“Nathan has been offered a full time job at the company where he has been teaching English part-time. Praise the Lord! He will expand his role and have more opportunities for building relationships to lead people to Christ.”

This is good news, as Nathan and Dawn have been especially seeking the Lord’s will for their continued presence in Lithuania. From where I am at least, this looks like an answer!

Great Short Story from Lithuania

, , ,

This story is in a personal update from Nathan and Dawn serving in Lithuania (see their whole newsletter by clicking here). It’s the kind of story that I love to tell, as missionaries are surprised by the small, God-inspired moments that unfold around them.

“Built nearly 80 years ago, our small apartment building is quite a contrast from the towering red-brick complexes erected during the soviet era. Still, we have discovered that the cozy size doesn’t mean that we can just ring our neighbour’s doorbell and ask to borrow a cup of sugar. Though we offer quick hellos and polite conversation, our neighbours tend to keep to themselves. All of our neighbours, that is, except our sweet Valerija.

“Though they actually live in the building next to us, Valerija and her son Robert have been exceptionally gracious to us ever since our arrival. Her body shakes with age, her hearing is going, and her eyesight is poor, but Valerija is always ready to greet us with a smile. We were thrilled when they accepted our invitation to come to our apartment for tea one day. When Valerija arrived with her hair meticulously done up and her good clothes freshly pressed, I was glad we had set out the good teacups.

“Thankfully, Robert speaks a bit of English, and with the assistance of our big Lithuanian dictionary, we had an enjoyable evening talking about family, friends, and church. We already knew that Valerija attends mass at the large Catholic church in town, but we were thrilled to find that these two neighbours are truly our brother and sister in Christ. As we shared about our involvement in the local Free Christian church, Robert’s face began beaming. With great excitement, he explained to us that he had been praying every day that his neighbours would come to know Christ. He was so excited that God had given him neighbours who say the same prayers.

“Sitting in our living room talking about our hopes and prayers for Lithuania, the divisions between Catholic and Protestant disappeared. The most extraordinary part of our evening was when the four of us joined our hands and recited the Lord’s Prayer together. How incredible to know that despite our differences, we can unite our voices in prayer to God, knowing that he cares for each one of us.”

Autumn’s Arrival

, , ,

I would write up something poetic about that, but someone already did it — better than I could. Darlene is serving with the EFCCM in Lithuania, and she keeps a regular blog about her experiences there. Her most recent post about fall is particularly heartwarming:

Click here to read it.

Happy autumn everyone!