I arrived on a Thursday and spent that day with our administrator Andrius and Matet and their kids, we had such a fun time to catching up! On Friday I was also at the school of the mother church in Vilnius and spent time with the Jr high and high school students on friday. They had such great questions about the Philippines, from what do you eat there and how many people can you get on one motorcycle!!! It was sure interesting to be around their questions, thoughts and contagious laughs, as well as see their hearts of compassion grow as stories were shared. I spent my first Sunday in the Vilnius church, it was such fun to be with friends that I have now seen over the last 3 years.
On this trip we opened our first Hope center in the city of Panevezys Lithuania!!! This is a big deal…we did 2 openings 1 with dignitaries, including some members of parliament and then later in the day with the city folks:) We had so many visitors, our name in Lithuania is Ark of Hope, you can check us out on our FB page. I am so proud of the team over there who has worked so hard and tirelessly on the construction of the center, they did a super job of getting this project started. The kids in the area of the center were so excited and we met them with cookies and cakes and games of basketball.
We were able to spend one afternoon in an orphanage celebrating birthdays, giving them treats, playing games, hugs, holding hands on short walks, I have to say there were many special moments made, what a GREAT time we had with the kids.
Many meetings through the week, lots of work on the center, tons of new friends, on my last Saturday we went to a shelter for the homeless people and it was an OH MY to me. What a special group of friends I met there. I was able to share a short message and many of them took the step to ask Jesus in their hearts! But at the end when the teaching was over and we were feeding them a yummy meal I was asked to join a gentleman in a room to view his paintings, he was an artist, when I walked in and saw his work I was overwhelmed they were beautiful, and he offered me one and he even let it be my choice!!! I did choose one of a warrior that he painted, this is a treasure and has a prominent place on my office wall, what a great gift! I sure felt loved when I left that place. To end the trip I preached in the church in Panevezys and it was mothers day there so again it was a packed house and it was also packed with kindness…
Heading back to Vilnius on Monday for a very early departure on Monday, and to my surprise I flew out in a summer blizzard, who knew, of such weather phenomena, was interesting and I was glad to be heading home :)
I left with a full heart and I realize their hearts and souls are miles deep!!!