The Summer Learning Institute (SLI) is drawing to a close at the end of this week. Have you ever had one of those experiences where it feels like both a lot and hardly any time has passed at the same time? That's where we find ourselves now.

The SLI students have been amazing. Although our primary jobs have been to coordinate activities, keep the dorms functioning, and oversee discipline, the handful that we have been able to develop relationships with have confirmed that we are in a place where young people are desperately seeking spiritual guidance (even if that's now how they choose to articulate it).

The next few days will be a whirlwind as we coordinate a talent show on Wednesday and check the students out of the dorms Friday.

Although SLI will be ending, there will be no rest for us.

Through various encounters and conversations, Josh has been asked to lead worship at a church that is meeting in a pub this Sunday. In Lithuanian. Read the last two sentences again and consider both how crazy and awesome that is. Although Josh has already been devoting a good amount of free time to improving his guitar playing, this will be a big step outside the ol' comfort zone...although neither of us have really spent much time in our comfort zones since arriving in Klaipėda.

This weekend also marks the start of the city's sea festival. We are very excited to get a taste of local culture and use it as a venue for building our friendships with the staff and students who are staying in the dorms throughout the summer.
 Kryžių kalnas or "Hill of Crosses"

To the left are some pictures from a train adventure Josh went on with some SLI staff this past weekend. The site is known as the "Hill of Crosses" and is located outside the city of Šiauliai. An estimated 200,000 crosses have been placed on the hill (perhaps they got this number via a cross section?) and it is, at least visually, a very overwhelming sight. 

This lady was playing a dulcimer-type
instrument as a way of serving visitors -- she was
not interested in donations.
There are lots of stories about the hill, but one neat one is about how, during Soviet rule, the government would bulldoze the crosses as there was general opposition to religion and religious symbols. However, Lithuanians would continue to put crosses on the hill as a form of nonviolent protest against the censorship placed on them by the government.

Sadly, Alisha was unable to make the journey -- she's been feeling under the weather the past several days. Nothing severe, but enough to slow her down. If you know Alisha, you know that even illness doesn't slow her down very much. 

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we tackle the next days ahead at LCC International University.

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