While Lithuania doesn’t face the same poverty and crippled infrastructure as Haiti, it faces its own set of challenges when it comes to the hearts and minds of the people. Like many of Baltic States, Lithuania has worked to create its own identity, as well as its own political and economic stability, in the years since it was under Communist rule by the Soviet Union.
For over 50 years, Lithuanians were forced into an educational system that was strictly governed by the ideals of Marxism. Boomers might associate Marxism with atheism, but many modern Americans might not make the automatic connection. After Communism fell, Lithuania declared its independence, and reform slowly started to take shape.
Today, the challenges for mission work in Lithuania aren’t wrapped around hiding from an oppressive Communist regime. Instead, Lithuanian missionaries would be likely to site skepticism or ambivalence towards God as enemy #1 when it comes to reaching the people. It takes a special heart to stay the course in this kind of environment.
HopeGate feels like we found the family with a heart for the Lithuanian people, and “Boots on the Ground” in Lithuania. That family is the Miller family: Tony, Shasta, Taylor and Tyler. Their blossoming ministry is called Life Church, and the project that HopeGate has joined with them on is called “Harvest of Hope.”