Excerpts from The Gospel in Bonds Part 1
In the Soviet Gulags: Imprisoned for His Faith
May God use this wonderful book to equip you for the times ahead.
You can order it from Lighthouse Trails Publishing at www.lighthousetrails.com
"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."
Tertullian, 1st century AD
"In 1926, an American missionary named Peter Vins left the United States for the mission field of Siberia. Young Peter had finished his seminary training in Kentucky, then for a time pastored a church of Russian immigrants in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania....
"In Russia, the Lord's blessing was on Peter Vins. People responded to his preaching and many joined the church.... Before long a Russian woman who was a dedicated Christian attracted his attention. Peter began courting young Lydia Zharikova and married her in 1927. In 1928, in the city of Blagoveschensk, Lydia bore her husband a son whom they named Georgi.
"However Peter Vin's hopes for a long life of ministry in Russia were not to be: the NKVD (secret police, forerunner of KGB) began arresting Russian pastors and closing churches. They gave Peter Vins a choice: quit preaching and return to America or give up his American citizenship. He decided to stay and relinquished all rights as an American. In 1930 he was arrested and given a three year term....
"After a short time of freedom he was rearrested and held for nine months. A third arrest soon followed when dozens of fellow Christians were seized in the same night. This time he was sentenced to ten years of labor camp without the right of communication with his family. He never returned." Prologue p. 9-10)
Peter's son Georgi would follow in his father's footsteps. He fell in love and married Nadia in 1952, and their family grew. In the early sixties, God sent him out to serve the persecuted church. He soon became a respected leader in the Christian "underground" movement. Traveling and preaching in hidden groves and secret places, he was treasured by the believing crowds and hunted by the KGB.
Following in his father's footsteps, Georgi was arrested in 1966 and faced three years of cruel imprisonment. But in the midst of the spiritual darkness, he brought truth and hope to criminals who longed for God's peace. Eight years later, he was sentenced to ten years of hard labor in northern Siberia's work camps. With God's guidance, he continued to share His precious Word and eternal promises with all who would listen.
"My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.... Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us." (Psalm 62:5-8).
The Gospel in Bonds draws us right into the spiritual battlefield that now rages in almost every part of the world. Today as in Stalin's days, Biblical Christianity is despised and outlawed, and America is headed in the same direction.
Until recently, Christians in America were relatively free to follow our Shepherd without interference. That treasured liberty is fast fading from the West. Today, many of our politicians and leaders seem bent on purging Christianity from schools as well as the workplace, the media, and the lofty chambers of Washington's ruling elite.
In other word, those who despise our God and serve His adversary are becoming a forceful threat to those who love God and long to share His Word. But that doesn't stop God's faithful people!
As Georgi Vins shares his amazing story in the weeks and months ahead, we will be reminded of the eternal treasures we have in Christ. No matter what challenges we might face in the coming years, He will surely guide us!
"...thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." (I Corinthians 15:57-58)
Pages 17-18: "The Most Dangerous of All" by Georgi Vins
Anvar and I were the only prisoners in the "raven," a black police van used to transport prisoners. He sat alone in a compartment meant to hold fifteen prisoners, while I was handcuffed and locked behind the metal door of a tiny cell reserved for the most dangerous criminals. Two soldiers armed with machine guns guarded us. A heavy metal grille separated them from us.
The harsh Siberian climate had left its mark on the narrow asphalt road. The lurching, swaying raven slowed to a crawl as the driver tried to maneuver around massive potholes. Though it was mid-May, snow still covered much of the ground in this vast territory known as Yakutia, thousands of miles northeast of Moscow. Our destination: Bolshaya Markha, a strict regime labor camp in a remote region in the far north of Siberia.
Anvar shook his head in amazement. "Georgi, why do they treat you like this?" he shouted over the thunderous roar of the engine. A heavy accent thickened his Russian .
I'd met Anvar two weeks earlier in the prison at Irkutsk where we shared a cell. Then we spent ten days at a camp near the city of Yakutsk. Anvar was a stocky man of medium height.... A sharp eagle-like nose protruded over coal-black mustache. Muslim by background, Anwar was fascinated that I was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. We had spent many hours discussing the Bible and Jesus Christ.
Anvar openly admitted that he had killed the district attorney in the city of Baku, for which he was sentenced to fifteen years. He quickly earned a reputation among camp authorities for being a dangerous criminal. He had already stabbed one prisoner with a knife and struck another on the head with an iron bar. Anwar was usually handcuffed during transport and was surprised at being denied that "privilege." He turned to me again.
"Ha! It looks as though you are even more dangerous than I!" He shouted something else but the words were lost under the engine's clamor. The isolation of my tiny cell made it useless for me to reply. Through the window in the door of my cell, I could see Anvar talking with the two soldiers. He kept pointing in my direction. The soldiers were very young. I knew they made no decisions about where or how to move me. Those order came from the KGB. And to the KGB, I really was more dangerous than Anvar.
One prison camp director had told me, "You'd be better off if you were a thief or a murderer rather than a Christian!
What will the next camp be like?, I wondered as I thought about the past week.
"...be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:10-12)
To be continued!
This is an amazing book, and it fits our times! You can order it from Lighthouse Trails Publishing at www.lighthousetrails.com
The Gospel in Bonds - Part 2 & The Gospel in Bonds - Part 3