FUMC has a partner church relationship with Kaunus UMC in Lithuania, one of the Baltic states that borders Russia. The pastor, Remigijus Matulatis, has this Update:

FUMC maintains a partner church relationship with Kaunus UMC in Lithuania. During Holy Week we received an offering of $2,160.00 to support the Lithuanian church as they respond to an influx of Ukrainian refugees fleeting the war in their country. Here is an update from a conversation Jeanie Reimer had with Rev. Remigijus Matulatis, pastor of Kaunus and District Superintendent:

Continued support of refugees 

Remigijus shared that Ukrainian refugees continue to come into Lithuania. Each Methodist Church has a plan for what they do to support the refugees. Some have refugees staying in the church buildings others have refugees staying in homes. Remigijus shared a situation where he took one family to the store to buy essential items and food and the cost was 600 euros ($650) to buy just the basics. To add to the challenge, costs are increasing exponentially in Lithuania (and all over Eastern and Western Europe) with energy, gas, food, etc. making this an added layer of problems to deal with both for themselves as well as providing support to the refugees. The people in the Methodist church are also a support to the refugees in getting them connected to resources they will need in addition to getting them registered with the Lithuanian government. Remigijus shared there are two Ukrainian refugees coming to the Kaunas church who are musicians and, because of the funds coming in from US partners, he is able to pay these two men for their music ministry in the church. Remigijus shared a story of one family who is now staying in one of the apartments owned by the Methodist Church, and they were so grateful for having a place to stay. They have a son with Downs Syndrome and the chaos of their lives has been hard on their son. Having stability in their living situation has helped immensely. Remigijus also shared that he has arranged with the Guest House in Kaunas to house refugees for 2-3 nights when they first come to Lithuania so they will have a bed to sleep in, a warm shower, etc. for a few nights before it is determined where they will stay. 
Jeanie discussed how in the many conversations she is having with people in the Baltics, they are expressing fear and anxiety regarding the possibility that they might go back under Soviet rule if Ukraine is not successful. Added to the other layers of challenges they are now facing, many are also dealing with “historical trauma” from the past years of Soviet occupation. Historical trauma is when people are subject to cumulative emotional harm caused by a long-term traumatic event, such as 50 years of Soviet occupation. With the constant reminders of what is happening presently with the war atrocities, this is triggering many memories of the Soviet occupation years. 

Prayer Requests: 

Remigijus asked for prayers for his wife Kristina as she deals with continued health issues. Also, prayers for the actions taken by a Special Central Conference held on April 30th to change the Ukrainian Methodist Church's association from the Eurasian Episcopal area to the Nordic and Baltic Episcopal area administered by Bishop Alsted. Continued prayers for the Ukrainian people for strength, protection and peace for their country.  

Thank you for your continued support!