Former KGB School Student Changes Army Uniforms
By Larry Freeman –
In a move marking a significant spiritual change and a contrast to her early education, Austeja Sophia Cijauskaite, a Lithuanian national, was enrolled as a Senior soldier recently in the Tustin Ranch Corps.
Austeja is a 20-year-old sophomore majoring in Scandinavian Languages and American Literature at Vilnius University (founded 1578 A.D. by Jesuits) in her home town of Vilnius, Lithuania.
Entering the United States on a research visa, she arrived with a mandate to read over 200 books in just four months. This research is not possible at her school because until 1990 Lithuania was part of the U.S.S.R. and there is no library of American literature to study.
Austeja was chosen at a very early age to have a special education. She attended KGB sponsored schools and learned multiple languages. She is literate in Lithuanian, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, English, Italian, German and the ancient research languages of Latin and Gothic. Her education included music and dance at special schools.
Her loving family includes her father, a lawyer, her mother, a former university professor, and her 9-year-old sister, who miss her very much and converse with her by e-mail daily.
Austeja was first introduced to the Army in Norway. She attended the Salvation Army Jeløy Folkehøgskole in Moss where she accepted Christ as her personal Savior. While there, she maintained her university studies and returned to Vilnius, where she is an A student, for both semester and final exams.
Upon arriving in the U.S. in June, she stayed at the home of a Salvationist friend she met in Norway. Regularly attending Sunday worship and the Saturday night contemporary meetings of PraiseWorks, she became more aware of her desire to serve the risen Savior.
She completed soldier preparation classes with Captain Michele Lescano and was enrolled in a special ceremony by Captain Lee Lescano before her extended family, the soldiers of Tustin Ranch.
Currently there is no Army presence in the country of Lithuania. When told that she will be the only Salvation Army soldier in her country, she remarked “No…just the first!”