By Steve Wallace
In April of this year, Jay Horsley, along with his wife, Becky, and infant son, James, returned to the U.S. after living and working in Lithuania for more than two and a half years. Through his efforts and those of many others, there are now churches in two cities in that country and a single Christian in a third city, plus countless thousands have heard the gospel of our Lord. Much additional work has been accomplished in the areas of translating material into the Russian and Lithuanian languages, as well as in securing printers, interpreters, and other services necessary to the work there.
Our labors there have brought us into contact with many people who once seemed very distant, not only geographically, but culturally as well. We have met several young men who fought for the old Soviet Union in the war in Afghanistan. One sister was born in a place east of Siberia, her parents having been some of the many who were exiled from their own country by Stalin. Another brother used to work in a Gulag. Such people are living legacies to the Soviet period. Let us all thank God that we at last are able to teach the word of God in Lithuania and other countries formerly under the domination of the USSR!
We know what has happened in such countries with regards to the Lord’s work up to this point. We deal here with matters which ought to cause us all to think seriously about what will happen in the future. Two questions, asked by brethren there during the time of brother Horsley’s departure, should provide sufficient food for thought.
What Is Going to Happen Now?
Since the time people were first converted in Lithuania, all those who have worked there have tried not only to spread the gospel but to establish the converts. However, at this point there simply are not enough workers for the work that needs to be done. One cannot but fear for the spiritual well-being of our brethren there like Paul did for the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 3:1-2). There has already been at least one case in Eastern Europe where a whole church of about ten souls apostatized into denominationalism during such a time. The pull of the lusts of this world and false religion are as real today as they were in the first century (1 Pet. 2:11; Gal. 1:6-7). Further, one cannot help but fear for the future political well-being of this country.
Perhaps some of you have heard in the news that the Russian duma has called for a restoration of the borders of the Soviet Union. This might not have touched the average American but such is not the case in Lithuania. If the Russian duma vote became reality they would be within the borders of a new Russia. Further, I have before me an article from the May 9, 1996 Stars and Stripes with the headline, “Zhirinovsky vows to annex Baltics.” With such fearful possibilities looming in the future those who can act must act. Which brings us to the next question.
Who Is Going to Come?
While one might sense my sympathies in writing the above heading, it was brethren in Lithuania who asked this question. There is a very real desire on their part that the work of teaching them the gospel and evangelizing their country continue. This is also the desire of everyone who has worked in that country. (There have been over twenty such men up to this point.) The proposition of fulfilling this need is not very imposing from a logistical standpoint.
The changes that have come to Lithuania have brought many of the goods and groceries of western society to market there. One of the brethren in Vilnius has a flat which he is keeping open so that one moving there to work will have a place to live. As mentioned above, most logistical necessities for doing the work are already secured. Further, since this writer lives in Germany he can also lend a hand in helping someone get settled into the work there.
Sound men with desire to reach the lost and further establish young Christians are needed who will answer the above question. Everything is ready and the fields are white to the harvest. (Five have been baptized in Kaunas in the Spring 1996 effort there.) Can you come?
We know not when the Lord will come nor what the future holds. We know we have a message that lost men need to be told. An effectual door for work is open and sound men must go through. Search your heart, reflect on your talents; might one of those men be you?
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 15, p. 10
August 1, 1996