Archive for June, 2011

My Father’s Footsteps – Imprisoned for his faith – The third time

Jun 20th, 2011 Posted in company information, Excerpts | Comments Off on My Father’s Footsteps – Imprisoned for his faith – The third time

Courtesy Kjos Ministries

From A Small Price to Pay by Harvey Yoder

The prison door shut behind me with a bang. I heard the key turn in the huge lock, then the guard’s footsteps faded away. Three days of solitary confinement. That was the usual procedure before being admitted into a prison. I was alone.

But not really. Christ was present with me. And I had another reason not to feel alone. In fact, I was rather excited. Memories were flooding my mind. After nearly eight years of relative freedom, I had once again been arrested. This time, I had gone to visit a Christian woman in Leningrad. When I returned to my sisters’ house after midnight, they had come out to greet me. Two officers had appeared out of the shadows and told me I was under arrest….

At the trial, the usual accusations were held against me—teaching minors about God, holding meetings without permission from the state, not registering our churches with the state.

This time, they added a new charge. I was charged with creating an unhealthy environment because too many people had crowded into one space. Some expert had come up with the idea that it was not sanitary for so many people to be breathing the same air for an extended period of time. I wanted to ask them who was going charge the government with creating an unhealthy environment the trams, buses, and trains. Those public transport vehicles were far more crowded than our meeting places. But I knew it was hopeless to say anything….

Now, here in my cell, I was reflecting on what my mother had told us after Papa had been arrested. “He is in Sverdlovsk in prison.” This was all we knew for some time.

Now I was in Sverdlovsk. I was in the same prison my father had been in! This excited me, for my mind went back to my memories of Papa. Had he spent time in this very cell?

Even though my breath was quite visible in the cold air, I eagerly examined the cell walls. Had Papa left some message behind, scrawled on the wall? Had he stood here, looking up at the barred window that let in a small patch of light from the waning day?… It was quite possible that my father really had been in this cell. It was one of the cells that held all the new inmates.

Forty years had passed since Papa had been in this prison. When I had been unloaded from the Black Raven, I imagined my fatherwalking through the courtyard, standing at attention on the granite slab as his sentence was read. When I stood on that slab upon my arrival, I tried to fit my shoes into the worn spaces that marked the granite. So many thousands of prisoners had stood there that there were actually small hollows where the shoes had worn away the surface of the hard stone. Here was where my father had stood!  (Excerpt from A Small Price to Pay – courtesy Kjos Ministries)

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