By Steve Wallace
It does not seem so long ago that we witnessed the surprising changes in Eastern Europe that started with the fall of the Berlin Wall in November, 1989. The news was filled with stories of related happenings that took place in different countries of the former Communist block. One event followed upon another with such rapidity that it almost did not seem real. Almost overnight a page turned in history: Communism had collapsed from within; the Cold War was over. More importantly, fields opened up for the preaching of the gospel that heretofore were hardly considered.
As 1990 progressed efforts to spread the word of God in Eastern Europe increased. There were a number of short term efforts. Then, in September of that year, three families moved to Prague, (then) Czechoslovakia. Two men involved in some of these early efforts were Bill Bynum and
Derek Chambers. Both men have since lived and worked for several years in countries formerly behind the Iron Curtain. Bill did some short-term work in Budapest, Hungary and the country then known as Czechoslovakia be-fore moving to the Czech section of the latter country. He was instrumental in establishing and grounding churches in several cities there. Derek had moved to work with the church in Mainz, Germany in February of 1990 and, hence, was conveniently located to be a part of a number of short term efforts in Budapest and the former East Germany. He moved to East Germany in 1992 and worked there for a year with Ivan Valdes. In the Spring of 1993 he moved to Vilnius, Lithuania. The church there has experienced steady growth. Derek also played a major role in establishing and grounding the church now meeting in nearby Kaunas, Lithuania. However, as the above title notes, a page has turned not a page of mere secular history, but a page in the history of the Lord’s work in Eastern Europe.
In September of 1994, Bill and his family returned to the United States. Then, in December, Derek Chambers also moved back. These two men have done more work in spreading the gospel in Eastern Europe then any two men I have known. Hence, it is good and right that their example be commended, and their efforts reported (Acts 15:26; 14:27). However, with the turning of this page if the Lord allows time to go on more pages remain to be written in the history of the Lord’s work in the former East Block countries.
What will the future bring in these lands so long denied the freedom they currently enjoy? Who will sow the gospel seed on the good soil yet to receive it in these places (Lk. 8:11)? Who will work with the churches we have mentioned, so recently established? Who will answer the Lord’s question, “Who will go for us?” with, “Here am I, send me” (Isa. 6:8)? Will you? Please give serious consideration to this question. More workers are needed. If you want to live and work in Eastern Europe but have uncertain-ties about making such a move, why not spend three or four weeks with this writer and others working in Kaunas, Lithuania this Spring or in Minsk, Belarus in the Fall?
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 10 p. 10
May 18, 1995