Wednesday, October 3, 2007

File submitted to court

In the meantime several other significant events happened.

On Tuesday Sharon spoke with the baby home director. She was pleasant and positive in general, but she confirmed the earlier statement that we may not have the boys overnight until after the court date.

We did make an agreement for them to come for longer visits during the day. Sharon has Tuesday and Thursday as free days, so we'll start with that, and probably Saturday too. So we are happy for this as a transition time.

Tuesday we were also contacted by the Klaipeda social service office. They asked for us to come in to explain the church affiliations we have. Since we are from a Mennonite Mission, it means there is more explaining to do. There are no Mennonite churches here. And almost noone has heard of them. And the church we work with is the Free Christian church, registered in Lithuania, but not one of the "recognized" churches.

To have the status of traditional church (technically allowed to teach faith in schools, get financial help from the government, do not need to pay taxes) a church needs to have a long history here. The traditional churches here are Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Reformed, and Jews and Muslims also have status. The Baptists have an in between status called recognized, even though they have been present since the 1800s. New church groups can gain recognized status after being present in Lithuania for 25 years. And the Free Christian church and Methodist church and others have been registered, but are not yet recognized. (The Free Christian church has anabaptist roots, some history in the baptist union as well)

So, today we answered a half hour worth of questions about Mennonites, our purpose as missionaries, what is this new small group- Free Christian church, and then talked a bit further about our relationship with the boys. We seemed to part on pleasant terms.

It is likely that some question related to religion will come up in the court. At least we have heard it happens for some others. So now we have thought about it a bit more.

We have taken the boys out by car, by the sea the last few days, and then yesterday here to the apartment. They really love to ride in the car! And they get super excited at the apartment too. Here is one view of that.

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