JUNE 29, 2021
Born: 1990 (Spassk-Dalny)
Biography: Teaches computer programming. His wife, Ulyana, is an artist. As a teenager, he began studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Became convinced that the Bible is trustworthy and that living by its standards leads to a more fulfilling life. Baptized in 2004
Born: 1952 (Spassk-Dalny)
Biography: Believed in God as a young person but was not interested in the Bible. She met Jehovah’s Witnesses shortly after the death of her 22-year-old daughter. Was delighted to learn about the Bible’s promise of a resurrection. As her faith grew, she began sharing her hope with others. Baptized in 1995. Has loved music and singing since childhood. Especially enjoys singing Kingdom songs
Born: 1959 (Nizhny Novgorod)
Biography: Before retirement, worked as a kindergarten teacher and a social worker. Married her husband, Vladimir, in 1982. They have three adult children, two daughters and one son. Studied with Jehovah’s Witnesses and appreciated the Bible’s clear and understandable teachings. Baptized in 1996
Born: 1959 (Mamakan, Irkutsk Region)
Biography: While in college in Vladivostok, met his wife, Tamara. They have four children and several grandchildren. Has worked as a locksmith and most recently as the supervisor of a boiler room. Decided to serve Jehovah in the early 1990’s after learning that God’s Word teaches how to lead a more meaningful life. Baptized in 1996
On November 25, 2018, law enforcement officers invaded and searched the homes of four Witnesses in the town of Spassk-Dalny. The officers used an electric saw to cut through the door to Olga Opaleva’s apartment. After entering, the officers asked her why she did not answer the door. She was unable to respond clearly. The officers called an ambulance, and it was determined that she had suffered a ministroke. Later that same day, officers took her from the hospital to an interrogation center. As a result of the stroke, Olga does not have the full use of her left arm and left leg. Her son, Brother Vitaliy Ilinykh, who helps care for her, has been charged in a separate case.
All four were placed in a temporary detention center for two days. On November 27, 2018, they were ordered to house arrest. Over a year later, their restrictions were reduced.
They are being charged with organizing and being involved with a so-called extremist organization.
Friends and family, including non-Witnesses, have said that they do not understand why such peaceful citizens are being punished for their faith. In Dmitriy’s case, even his workmates, who do not share his religious views, support him and urge him not to give up.
Dmitriy recognizes that his joy in the face of persecution is a sign that Jehovah is with him. He says: “Just like Moses’ staff served to identify that Jehovah was with him, so too my joy means that Jehovah is supporting me.” He further states that his joy will “provide a powerful witness to all those working in the court and with the investigation.”
Olga Opaleva relates: “As I see how I am enduring, I realize that Jehovah’s hand is apparent everywhere. I have begun to rely on Jehovah for everything, even the small things, and I try to put everything on his shoulders.”
Aleksey recalls what aided him during his time in pretrial detention and during house arrest: “[Jehovah] helped me to be strong. I began to experience this when they locked me up in the temporary detention facility. I asked Jehovah to give me courage. I immediately began to feel that my hands and legs had stopped trembling and my voice was no longer shaking. I set my mind to living under these new circumstances.”
“Jehovah’s reputation is on the line,” states Olga Panyuta. “Therefore, we need to trust Jehovah, give him whole-souled service as we do his will, and strengthen our relationship with him.”
As our dear brothers and sisters await their verdict, we pray that they will continue to rely fully on Jehovah as their “Rock” for the strength to endure.—Deuteronomy 32:4.
^ par. 3 Advance notice of the verdict date is not always available.