March 15-22, 22-26, and 26-April 1: Rev. Dr. Matthew Rueger with 9 high school youth and 13 adults from his congregation (St. John Lutheran Church — Hubbard, Iowa) are coming to Lithuania (March 15-22) to do some repair work on a church building served by Rev. Mindaugas Zilinskis, in Kintai. Though Pastor Rueger and St. John congregation are coordinating their visit through Rev. Dr. Darius Petkunas (Palanga, Lithuania), this is their fourth such trip to Lithuania, dating back to 2005. The Lithuanian Evangelical Lutheran Church (LELC) has a long history with Iowa District East (IDE) of LCMS. In 2003 IDE partnered with LC-MS World Relief and Human Care to build a diaconal center and church in Palanga. The diaconal center and church were dedicated in July 2012. Since 2003, several groups from IDE have traveled to Palanga, Lithuania for work projects, theological conferences and to renew friendships. During this visit, Dr. Charles Evanson (OIM Eurasia theological educator) arranged for Dr. Rueger to present a lecture series on “the Christological view of human sexuality,” to a theological conference of LELC clergy, on Wednesday, March 19. Dr. Rueger will then join Rev. Johnson (OIM Eurasia catechist to Siberia and the Baltics) on a trip to Siberia. There he will visit The Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC) and present a series of lectures to the SELC seminary students and faculty (March 22-26) and a gathering of the laity on Sunday, March 23. From there (March 26-April 1) Rev. Johnson and Dr. Rueger will accompany Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin on an episcopal visit to the congregations in the Chita Region of Siberia (east of Lake Baikal).
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