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Location: MInneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am now a simple Grandpa who's life is made richer as each grandchild is born. My wife and I have raised five children and the 30 year love labor of raising them has begun to yield sweet fruit..... And then there are fruits of 30 years in ministry ... I am a satisfied old man full of the joy of the Lord.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Hill Of Crosses

This is from Joel News. He is quoting from a YWAM newsletter. I am including a picture.

"Some time ago, I visited a fascinating place in Lithuania called the Hill
of Crosses," writes Jeff Fountain, European director of YWAM, in his Weekly
Word. "For over a hundred years, it has been a site of the people's
defiance of oppression."

Under heavy-handed Tsarist rule in the 19th century, a national uprising
was brutally repressed. Many rebels were executed and some were secretly
buried on this hill in the countryside, a site long sacred. A hundred
crosses were set up in memory of the rebels.

During mass repressions of the Soviet occupation, Lithuanians suffered
greatly. Hundreds of thousands were deported to Siberia from 1941-52,
leaving whole villages totally deserted. In 1956 Lithuanians began
returning home. They erected new crosses on the hill in gratitude for their
return, in memory of their torture and suffering, and as memorials for
those who would never return. The hill became a place of prayer for those
still suffering. Passionate and openly anti-Soviet inscriptions often
adorned the crosses, making the hill an open-air museum, a mirror of human
suffering and inhumane oppression.

In 1961, the authorities came with bulldozers to raze the Hill of Crosses
and erase it from human memory. Wooden crosses were burned. Iron crosses
became scrap metal. Stone crosses were buried. The hill was declared a
forbidden place, a place of 'ignorance' and 'fanaticism'. Despite
surveillance, new crosses kept appearing at night; at first small, then
becoming bigger. The authorities tried more drastic measures. Yet projects
to flood the area, block the roads, and turn the hill into an inaccessible
island all failed over time. More crosses just kept appearing: hundreds,
thousands, tens of thousands...

Finally in 1985, the government abandoned their hopeless task. Peace came
to the Hill of Crosses. Three years later the revolution was well under way
to overthrow the Soviet oppression. And in 1991, independence came at last
to Lithuania.

Today this 10-metre high hill is an unimaginable forest of hundreds of
thousands of crosses, some even say millions! The Hill of Crosses is truly
a powerful declaration of hope in the face of tyranny. Like a giant
pin-cushion, it is a monument of folk art with many hand-carved crosses;
some miniature, others five metres-high; some intricate and elaborate,
others crude and simple; most anonymous, and one large wooden sculpture of
Christ crucified, a gift from the Pope.

"Lithuania's Hill of Crosses is a powerful declarion of hope, based on the
historicity of the death and resurrection of Jesus," says Fountain. "And
the hope of restored relationship, with God and with neighbour."


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