Around the World, February 2017
Tirana — A Church of Christ in this Central European capital supplies more than 20 families with food on a regular basis through its benevolence ministry.
Bledi ValcaBut “we wanted to spend more time (with them), to learn their stories and to share our story,” said Bledi Valca, the church’s minister.
Inspired by a recent workshop he attended in Greece that focused on serving refugees, Valca and his fellow church members hosted a Saturday night potluck and devotional for the families.
“We experienced a full house,” Valca said, “and we pray that it was profitable for the people who were present.”
BRAZIL Antenor and Phyllis Goncalves ITU — Antenor and Phyllis Goncalves recently celebrated their 20th year of service to Churches of Christ in this South American city.
When they arrived in Itu, the city had one congregation with fewer than 30 members, the couple wrote in a recent report. Now there are two Churches of Christ in Itu, and the Goncalves have helped plant congregations in Cabreuva, Salto, Tatui and Sorocaba. Combined, the churches have about 400 in attendance for Sunday worship.
“Praise God for the progress of the Gospel in our region,” the couple wrote.
INDIA CHENNAI — Churches of Christ are responding to those in need after a recent cyclone claimed 27 lives and destroyed thousands of homes in this southern Indian city.
The meeting places of at least three Churches of Christ sustained damage, and four rooms at a church-supported children’s home were destroyed, said minister Paul Renganathan. The children were evacuated unharmed.
LATVIA RIGA — Victor Barviks, minster for the Riga Center Church of Christ in this small country on the Baltic Sea in Europe, recently received 1,000 copies of “Up Right: Character for Kids” by Lynda Alsobrook Landreth, translated into the Latvian language, and 3,000 copies of the gospel tract “What the Bible Says about Baptism and the New Life in Christ.” Eastern European Mission provided the materials. Barviks distributes the materials to parents and others interested in Christianity. He also distributes copies of Greek minister Dino Roussos’ book “The Church of Jesus Christ in the Time of the Apostles” and various tracts to leaders in Riga’s Orthodox and Lutheran churches.
LITHUANIA Vilnius — In this small European nation there’s a big demand for ScreamFree Parenting.
Joseph Rhodes speaks in Lithuania.That was evident to members of the Vilnius Church of Christ when nearly 90 people — almost more than they had room for — registered for a seminar based on the popular program developed by Hal Runkel, a member of the North Atlanta Church of Christ. Joseph Rhodes, a longtime worker with a Church of Christ in Barnaul, Russia, conducted the program in the Lithuanian cities of Vilnius and Klaipeda. Rhodes has taught the ScreamFree seminar for more than 10 years.
About 40 visitors attended the Vilnius event, said minister Juozas Puodziukaitis. The church gave them free children’s Bibles.