Arunas, born in Lithuania, started getting into trouble from a very young age. By the age of 17, he received his first suspended sentence, and shortly afterwards reoffended and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. When he was released from prison he started a business, got married and had two children. In that time whilst traveling for business to Russia, people encouraged him to drink with them. In less than a year he lost everything as a direct result of alcohol; even his wife and children left him. He felt completely hopeless, but thought that changing location might bring new hope.
In 2005 he moved to the UK and found a job. Soon the cycle continued and all his money was spent on drinking. He ended up living on the street, was always drunk and would end up on trains to nowhere getting completely lost. At some point he found himself in London where he felt completely alone. He met some Eastern Europeans and started shoplifting. He was in and out of prisons and in 3 years he was given over 20 prison sentences. When two different judges told him that he was a hopeless case he started thinking. He started asking God to help him. He soon met Ryan on the Teen Challenge outreach bus in Whitechapel.
In August 2009 Arunas started the Teen Challenge programme and for two weeks he was shaking from withdrawals as 10 years of drinking came to an end. It was a daily battle as he kept wanting to leave the rehabilitation centre. But the staff and others on the programme loved him and encouraged him to stay. One night while reading Deuteronomy 30:15-20 from his Bible, God touched his heart and he had a personal revelation. He understood the Gospel and why Jesus came to die. He wanted to stop running away and committed his life to Jesus. In December 2010 he finished the programme and in 2011 he got married. Arunas was one of the support workers at Teen Challenge London.
For the past few years, Arunas felt that God was calling him and his wife, Uratas, to return to his home country, Lithuania. God had helped him out of addiction and start a new life and now he felt that God wanted him to help others like him; ‘freely you have received, freely give’. So, it was with a mixture of sadness and joy that we said goodbye to Arunas & Uratas last year as they embarked upon the next phase of their lives. He is now working with the probation service who are happy for him to direct addicts to Christian rehabilitation programmes. He is also serving as an elder in his local church and leading an Alpha Group which currently has six men from probation on it. We are very thankful for the time Arunas spent with us here in London and we pray that the Lord will bless his work direct him in his future plans.