I don’t know how it happened, but today I had time to sit down and write! As I sit here it’s great to think of you and pray for you and share what God has been doing through our lives.
On a light note, my parents recently visited. It was their first time to Lithuania; they stayed 10 days. And we kept them busy! We made sure they got plenty of time with their grandchildren (who they only get to see every 2 or so years, and through Skype). We made sure they also got a good feel of the culture—taste the foods, meet the relatives, see the sites. I think one of our most memorable moments was a combination of those as we foraged for wild mushrooms. Grandpa Vytalius led us deep into the forest to get the best ones; afterwards he made us the most incredible hot mushroom stew. We’ve never had better!
We also gave them a taste of ministry here. They helped us organize two big parties. Through these parties another young girl gave her life to the Lord—and, we can’t keep up with her insatiable desire to know more about Jesus. Simona is in the other room right now talking with her alone. If you remember the Christian books and Bibles that some of you gave money, they are being used in little lives like this.
As well, for those who gave money recently to purchase bed mattresses, listen to this; God really slowed us down and helped us to see we need to do this right. (When God does something He does it right.) Ugnė’s house has been crawling with bugs big and small—hair bugs, bed bugs, crawling bugs. Every time I enter their home I feel fleas jumping onto my legs, for example. This is certainly no place for children to lay down their heads and sleep. So when the father saw not only that I did two trips to IKEA (1 time is an 8 hour roundtrip), and that we not only purchased 5 new bed mattresses, and that we not only purchased a new bunk bed, but that I also handmade two single beds out of wood, that’s when tears streamed down his cheeks and he gave us free reign in the house to clean. We stripped and gutted their bedroom; deep cleaned it; set up everything. The father kept kissing my hand and crying. I keep reminding him that I’m not here to simply scold him and take his children (that’s child welfare does) but we’re here to help him and his children, and God still wants to do so much more in his life. There’s a lot more we are doing in the children’s lives, Ugnė’s and her brothers, as well as other children in the area, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Please, just keep us and them in prayer: continued favour, more opportunities, and the message of the gospel to penetrate their hearts, and the lives of their families.
Please pray too for our church transition. We are moving into a new church building this week. Our last room was packed each week, so this should give us some space we need. But a bigger transition is still to come; I will be meeting with a few leaders soon to talk practically about me transitioning as the official pastor of our church in Joniškis. I would like to hold this transition off for a few more months: there is still a list of issues I need to address on the renovations of our house before winter hits. We’ve made a lot of headway lately, but our house still isn’t ready for the snows soon to come. Also, I would like a few more months dedicated to studying the language. I think the congregation would benefit in the long run. But whatever happens, we’ll see what issues the other leaders bring up and, prayerfully, map out a timeline for our church.
Thank you, each of you, we thank our God for you, for listening, for giving, for praying. If you respond to this newsletter, we’ll talk then; if not, we’ll see each other in the next newsletter!
Ryan & Simona
Ryan and Simona are KM missionaries working in Lithuania.