Eric and Rebecca Hinderliter

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Mission co-workers in Lithuania  since 2001
Serving at LCC International University

Contact: Eric Hinderliter (eric.hinderliter@pcusa.org)
Contact: Becky Hinderliter (rebecca.hinderliter@pcusa.org)

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Eric and Rebecca are currently in the United States.

About Eric and Becky Hinderliter’s ministry

Eric and Rebecca Hinderliter have been serving at LCC International University (formerly Lithuania Christian College) in Klaipe’da, Lithuania, since 2001. LCC was founded in 1991 in the wake of communism’s collapse in Eastern Europe. Canadian and U.S. foundations, together with Lithuanian Christians, founded the school as an English-language institute. Today LCC is a fully accredited liberal arts school with a distinct Christian emphasis. It seeks to prepare students for leadership roles in the post-Soviet region. For its first 10 years LCC served students predominately from Lithuania. The school focus is now well beyond Lithuania.  Starting in 2004, LCC broadened its reach to post-Soviet countries to the east.  About half the students now come from Albania, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. At LCC, Eric teaches economics, sociology and theology. Becky teaches accounting.

Country context

Unlike most mission assignments that focus on a specific ethnic group (like the Roma) or a specific country, the setting of LCC is international. Russian is the predominant first language and seven other languages are spoken. The students’ faith backgrounds are also diverse. Students from Lithuania and western Ukraine tend to be Catholic and those from Russia and Belarus are mostly Orthodox. The faculty comes from Lithuania, Latvia, Canada, the United Sates and several other countries. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the door opened for Christian missions in this formerly closed region. LCC is a result of this openness, and it strives to strengthen civil society and the church. The post-Soviet countries all instituted market economies, although there is now some movement toward more authoritarian, state-controlled economies. The gap between the rich and poor has widened dramatically since 1991. Ethnic and nationalist tensions, repressed in the Soviet times, have exploded. The newly independent states need ethical leaders who understand how to develop democratic political traditions and foster the rebirth of civil society. Further, the church needs faithful, biblically grounded leaders with a concern for reconciliation, tolerance, and social justice. Aware that God has opened a door of faith through LCC, the school seeks to help fill these needs. Not all LCC students are Christians, so LCC strives to help them experience what a faithful Christian life might be like. They are invited to consider the call to faith and to examine their own worldviews in light of the gospel.

About Eric and Becky Hinderliter

Eric and Becky Hinderliter seek to teach through their words and their actions. “Our hope is that we teach more than the narrow subjects from the college catalog: accounting, economics, and political economy,” Becky says. “We hope our students catch something more, something about how to live a life one has reason to value, how one relates to others, and how one contributes to the common good. Eric notes: “We also hope that students get a glimpse of what the Christian life might look like. We hope we teach the truth.”

Eric and Becky focus on building relationships as a key part of the teaching/learning process. Their students often ask them how long they plan to stay at LCC. “They are really asking, ‘Are you going to be here long enough to make a worthwhile relationship possible?’’” Becky says. “Students long for authentic relationships with authentic and trustworthy adults.”

The Hinderliters say they have been blessed by the visits from U.S. Presbyterians who have come to Lithuania to teach, work and to visit with them in Klaipe’da. They also enjoy visits from former students who share their stories of marriage and family, job success, and church involvement. Their students often credit their LCC education with shaping their values and helping them discern their vocations.

Prior to their mission service Eric served in leadership roles for several nonprofit and local governments, and Becky was an administrator in a state agency in Pennsylvania. They were active at Pine Street Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where they continue to be members. It was there they began to discern a possible call into cross-cultural service.  A visit to the South India Institute for Advanced Christian Studies in Bangalore in 2000 confirmed their sense of call to mission service as teachers. While visiting the school, they were struck by the words of Psalm 118:23 that were carved on a large stone at the school’s entrance: “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” This verse continues to be a watchword of their life and ministry.

The Hinderliters bring to LCC academic credentials that are needed to serve their students well and that help LCC maintain the accreditation necessary to fulfill its mission. Eric earned a bachelor’s degree at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree and a doctorate at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition he earned a master’s degree in faith-based development from Eastern College in 2000. Becky received a bachelor’s degree and an M.B.A.  from Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania.

Birthdays:
Eric – March 26
Rebecca – January 7