By Steve Wallace
The effort which began in the Spring of this year (1996) has continued through to this present time with various men coming to carry on the work of teaching the gospel in this city. This writer was there from 22 October until 11 November. Tom Bunting, who came with his wife, Shirley, preceded me in the work there, while Doug Hill and Josh Gurtler, who both came in late summer, were my co-workers. Doug returned to the U.S. on 15 November. Josh plans to stay until 23 December. Bill Bynum is presently there for three weeks working with Josh.
As is our custom, we continued our practice of setting up a table full of literature in the Lithuanian language on the main pedestrian street in Kaunas, Laisves Aleja. We were blessed with good weather generally and interest at the table was good. There were a number of discussions with people from varying religious or non-religious backgrounds. With Tom and Shirley in Kaunas, Doug and Josh took the opportunity to work the streets in Vilnius for a few weeks. The reaction there was extremely good with people swarming the table. Both men were excited about the number of people who took literature.
The attendance at the Sunday lectures grew to a high of about fourteen with six to seven of these being non-Christians. In Kaunas we advertised the subjects, time, and place of the lectures in the city paper and handed out invitations to people who passed by the table in both cities. The lectures in Vilnius had a high of 23 people in attendance. It is encouraging to report that Kestutis Subacus, a native Lithuanian, preached many of the lectures himself. In Kaunas we made overhead charts of our lessons for the lectures which were also copied and handed out to all who came.
In the past, most of the conversions have come from people coming to the lectures and we have had a difficult time getting private studies with people. This changed radically in both places with studies resulting from both the street work and the lectures. In my time working in Lithuania this was the busiest in terms of private studies. There were two baptized in Vilnius and we have hopes that others with whom we are presently studying will follow. If my count is correct, we have baptized eleven so far this year. While three did not stick, the others have shown very encouraging signs of growth.
The Churches in Kaunas and Vilnius
As is always the case, all the workers involved in the work in these two cities have also worked with the churches in each place. We are continually encouraged by the growth we see in our brethren there. In order to further this we have started setting up Bible studies with individuals or groups of individuals within the church in Kaunas. We have already seen good come from this.
In my last report I mentioned a number of books/booklets that we have been working on. At this point Denominationalism and The Church by Larry Ray Hafley and The New Testament Church by Roy Cogdill are almost ready to go to print. Long hours have been spent proof reading Glossalalia, by Jimmy Jividen, with more work yet to be done on it. I drove in with my car loaded down (it bottomed out numerous times) with 386 and 286 computers which were donated by various brethren. These computers have now been set up to work with Lithuanian characters and have been assigned to various translators, both Christians and non-Christians. This will make our job of getting things into final print form much easier.
Can You Come to Lithuania in 1997?
Beginning in January 1997, a further effort to spread the gospel is being planned for Kaunas and, perhaps, other parts of Lithuania. It is planned to continue the whole year. Tracts and lecture halls are available. A number of churches in the U.S. and Germany have shown themselves willing to sup-port these efforts. Workers are needed. Can you come for a few weeks? Everyone who has worked in Kaunas believes in the need for further work to be done there and has found the work something they were able to do. We are seeing the fruits of labors in the number of converts and growth in brethren there. Please contact me for further information about working there.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 3 p. 12-13
February 6, 1997