JULY 31, 2019
On June 6, 2019, two weeks after Brother Dennis Christensen lost his appeal, Russian authorities transferred him from his pretrial detention cell in Oryol to prison—Penal Colony No. 3 in the city of Lgov. Lgov is approximately 200 kilometers (124 mi) away from Dennis’ family and friends back home in Oryol.
When Dennis first arrived at the prison, he was subjected to insults and efforts to break his resolve. Yet, Dennis has relied heavily on Jehovah and has shown himself to be strong and fearless.—1 Peter 5:10.
Since Dennis’ arrest and detention, the brothers have offered loving support and care for his wife, Irina. In June, Brother Mark Sanderson of the Governing Body and other responsible brothers were able to meet with Irina in Finland for an encouraging visit.
Dennis has been in the penal colony now for over a month. Irina was recently given permission to speak with him, once a day, over the telephone. Approval has also been granted for her to visit him at the prison.
With all that Dennis and Irina have endured over the past two years since his arrest and imprisonment, they remain steadfast and joyful. According to Irina, the weekly letters from Dennis have been especially uplifting. In one of her favorite letters from him, he wrote: “Staying positive is a key to success and we have so many reasons to be joyful.” He concluded: “Upholding Jehovah’s sovereignty is the reason for our existence. I know that our journey is a long one and we have not won the victory—not yet. But we will eventually come off victorious. Of that I am 100 percent certain.”
On July 21, at the international convention in Denmark, Brother Lett of the Governing Body read a message from Dennis, which said, in part: “I wish I could be gathered with you, but this is currently not possible since I have not yet completed my present assignment. But it will be possible in the future, and I am looking forward to it.”
While under arrest in Rome, Paul wrote: “I thank my God always when I remember you in every supplication of mine for all of you. I offer each supplication with joy, . . . I have you in my heart, you who are sharers with me in the undeserved kindness both in my prison bonds and in the defending and legally establishing of the good news.”—Philippians 1:3, 4, 7.