Local pastor teaches at seminary in Lithuania

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 3/31/98.

Pastor Roger Johnson, Crystal Hills Assembly, Paynesville, recently spent two weeks teaching theology classes in Villnius, Lithuania.

ďI taught Old Testament theology as a mission assignment at the theological college in Villnius,Ē Pastor Johnson said. He was assigned the task through the Department of Foreign Missions of the Assembly of God Church.

Villnius Theological College is a project of the Lithuania Pentecostal Union. ďTeachers train future leaders for churches in Lithuania,Ē Pastor Johnson said. He had 28 students in this class. This is the second year of operation for the college.

ďAssembly of God has been asked to come in and help colleges train their future leaders and to provide teachers as much as possible,Ē he said.

Pastor Johnson had to operate with a translator at all times. ďThis took twice as long to accomplish anything,Ē he said. He taught four hours per day, two-two hour sessions plus led a chapel session.

Pastor Johnson said the younger people know English but are afraid to try it on a continuous basis, thus the translator.

Lithuania is one of three Baltic countries ( the other two are Estonia and Latvia) working with the Assembly of God Church. Pastor Johnson has worked with all three countries.

The three countries part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia). The Assembly of God Church has six Bible colleges within the CIS. ďThe colleges all operated through the Pentecostal Union. The Pentecostal Union is making progress by leaps and bounds as they are establishing five new churches a week in Russia,Ē Pastor Johnson said. ďMany college students are starting churches of their own.Ē

ďPeople in that part of the world, because of all the pressures, celebrate their freedom with their whole heart. When you attend their church services, you can hear them sing from the bottom of their hearts because they had been denied those freedoms for such a long time,Ē he added.

Pastor Johnson said two church services he attended lasted more than two hours. The Sunday morning service went from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The other service went from 1:30 to 5:45 p.m. All three pastors attending brought a full message. There was standing room only in the church. Despite the long service, nobody left,Ē Pastor Johnson stressed.

While visiting Lithuania, he said Villnius had five McDonalds (all the same color) several pizza parlors and Chinese food places.

ďThe people there are so appreciative and respectful,Ē Pastor Johnson said. On one of his Saturday afternoons off he attended a castle wedding. ďIt was like a fairy tale dream. The castle was located on an island in the middle of a lake,Ē he said. See photo above.)

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