Jon Hull, left, and Remis Jucevičius pose underneath the top sign, which reads "Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission."
Christian radio executive Jon Hull wasn’t planning to address a government board when he flew to Lithuania recently to provide mentoring and training for TWR’s national partner, Gerosios Naujienos centras (the Good News Center). But Remigijus Jucevičius, who is fondly known as Remis and serves as director of GNC and its XFM stations, had a surprise for the visiting vice president from KSBJ in Houston, Texas. Hull’s letter recounts his eventful arrival in the capital of Vilnius and the Lord’s wonder-working power in opening doors for the Gospel to be preached.
When I met up with Remis, general manager of XFM, at about 2:15 p.m., he grabbed me and rushed me to the car. "We're late and must hurry, because we are being asked to defend our filing before the Lithuanian National Radio and Television Commission." I asked, "When?" and was told, "3 o'clock."
The LNRTC is the equivalent of our FCC in the United States. A year ago, XFM filed for a frequency here in Vilnius. The station's vision is to serve the five largest cities in the nation, and it was already on the air in three of them. Vilnius would be the fourth and, since it's the seat of all the government here, perhaps the most influential. Our application had been turned down twice. This was our third and final try.
The hearing was at 3 p.m. Five minutes earlier I had pulled Remis into a quiet corner to pray. "Father, we believe that this is your will. We've prayed, sought your counsel and done our best to listen to your voice. The commissioners have turned us down, and we feel a little bit like David, standing before Goliath. Lord, if OUR outcome is to be like DAVID'S outcome, give us the words to say and soften the hearts of these ‘kings.’"
3 p.m., the hearing is called to order.
We were No. 1 on the docket. Remis stood and addressed the 11 commissioners in Lithuanian, and 10 seconds later I heard the only words I understood: "Jonus Hullus from KSBJ radio in Texas."
3:01 p.m., I was on.
I apologized for my appearance and resisted the urge to say, "But I just flew in from Houston, and man, are my arms tired!" I took five minutes to share my heart and talk about why a representative of a radio station 6,000 miles away would be standing in these chambers. I was at great peace talking to people I thought could relate to the concept of an organization NOT sending money but rather sending expertise. I talked about investing in lives in Lithuania and how hope could change a nation. Three questions were asked of me. I felt good about the answers, but I felt better about God's ability to win the day.
3:08 p.m., our portion is done and two other petitioners spoke.
Then, less than 10 minutes after I had gotten up to speak, the chairman said something in Lithuanian that ended with "XFM" and 10 hands were raised. He then repeated the same question with the other two petitioners’ names at the end, and the secretary read something that sounded quite official (in any language). Remis leaned over to me and said, "OK, my brother, we can go now."
As we stepped outside the chambers, I asked Remis, "OK, what just happened in there?"
"Jon," he replied, "we just got the frequency!"
Ten of those commissioners had voted for us. (We had lost 9-2 in the first hearing and a narrow 6-5 in the second one.) Though the other two organizations were better funded and weren't "religious," God caused those "kings’" hearts to be turned for our good – and his glory!
Though I had felt late and totally unprepared, God was on time (as he always is), and Remis and I were able to be used by him in defense of the application. In four weeks, there will be another Christian radio station on the air proclaiming the truth of the Gospel – 100.5 FM, if you're ever in Vilnius!
Needless to say, we celebrated the rest of the day calling all of our friends and supporters and sharing the good news. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!