Lithuania is a post-Soviet country in northern Europe and the largest of three Baltic states. 83% of people claim to be Catholic, yet an overwhelming majority of them are nominal. There is a tiny minority of evangelical Christians (1.1%). The younger generation of Lithuanians think Christianity is mostly irrelevant and interest in other forms of spirituality is growing. To be an evangelical Christian is seen as too radical, intolerant and sectarian.
LKSB is a small movement without many resources and facing many challenges. Two of the five groups are undergoing transition, with new students and leaders needed. On some campuses the movement has contacts with one or two interested students, but regular meetings are not held. In general there is a lack of commitment from students to get involved in ministry, a symptom of the general youth climate in Lithuania. The leaders can see many opportunities, but lack the numbers to reach out.
However God has given LKSB staff the gift of perseverance and hope, and they have seen students turn to Christ and grow in maturity throughout their time at university.
View from the inside:
Stepas Ribokas has been General Secretary of LKSB since 2008. Although he does not see big results in his ministry, he is excited when he sees students growing in confidence in the gospel, and becoming more committed Christians, growing in love for Christ.
Several bible passages have inspired Stepas over the years: ‘When I was a second-year student about 12 years ago, I read Nehemiah 4:17 where the builders of the Jerusalem wall were constructing with one hand and holding a weapon in the other. This is what my life and ministry looks like – that impression has never really left me. The second passage is from Haggai. The people longed for much, but got little or nothing because they were not concerned about God and his glory, and then in Haggai 2:19 God challenges to see what will happen once He is glorified. Haggai challenged me to decide on my priorities in life.’
- for new groups to be formed through student contacts in various places;
- for a daily renewal of God’s spirit of perseverance and hope for leaders;
- for students to grow in love for Christ, and to become more committed to ministry.