A Story That Inspires Faith and Courage—Jehovah’s Witnesses in Ukraine
JUST as Christians in the first century experienced persecution, so have God’s people today. (Matthew 10:22; John 15:20) In few places has the persecution been more sustained or intense than in Ukraine, where the Kingdom-preaching work was under ban for 52 years.
The 2002 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses told the story of God’s people in that land. It is a story of faith, courage, and strength in the face of bitter adversity. Following are some comments of appreciation that were received by the Ukraine branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses:
“I’ve completed reading the 2002 Yearbook. I couldn’t help but cry while reading about your activity in Ukraine. I wish to let you know how much encouragement I have received from your zealous example and strong faith. I am proud to belong to the same spiritual family as you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”—Andrée, France.
“No words can describe how grateful I am to you and to Jehovah for the 2002 Yearbook. Tears rolled down my face as I read the many experiences of brothers who spent their best years in jails and concentration camps. I admire their courage. Although I have been a Witness for 27 years, I can still learn from those brothers and sisters. They strengthened my faith in our heavenly Father, Jehovah.”—Vera, former Yugoslavia.
“I am writing this letter with joy because of your good example of endurance and faithfulness during all those years of opposition. Your total confidence in Jehovah and your determination to remain faithful bring you honor. In addition, your humility in the face of tests reinforces my conviction that Jehovah does not leave his people. Because of your good example of courage, tenacity, and perseverance, we can accept our little problems more calmly.”—Tuteirihia, French Polynesia.
“After reading the Yearbook, I had to write to you. I was so deeply touched by all the beautiful experiences. I felt proud to be a member of such a loyal, united organization, led by a loving, caring Father, who gives us strength at the right moment. I was saddened that so many beautiful servants of Jehovah suffered so much and even lost their life. But I also felt joy because as a result of their courage and zeal, so many people learned the truth and came to know our loving Father.”—Colette, Netherlands.
“My wife and I just had to write to you to say that our hearts were touched as we read the account about Ukraine in the Yearbook. You faithful brothers have set an outstanding example of endurance under prolonged and great hardship. In line with the words of Proverbs 27:11, how happy Jehovah must be to know that so many faithful brothers from Ukraine have kept unbreakable integrity despite all of the Devil’s wicked acts.”—Alan, Australia.
“Tears came to my eyes when I read about the brothers in Ukraine. They endured so many things—years of prisons, tortures, oppression, and family separation. I want to tell all the brothers who still serve in your congregations that I love and respect them very much. I am just delighted with their courage and steadfastness. I know the source of their power, Jehovah’s spirit. Jehovah is close to us, and he wants to help us.”—Sergei, Russia.
“I read the 2002 Yearbook, and I cried. Many sisters and brothers in our congregation have talked about you. You are a real treasure. I am so happy to be part of such a large spiritual family.”—Yeunhee, South Korea.
“I am deeply moved by the record of your faith, endurance, and unyielding love for Jehovah and his Kingdom. Sometimes we fail to appreciate the freedom we enjoy and the abundance of spiritual food that Jehovah provides for us. However, this hasn’t been the case with you. Your example of faith helps us to realize that if we have a close relationship with our God, he will give us the strength to deal with all kinds of tests.”—Paulo, Brazil.
“I had the privilege to read about your experiences in the 2002 Yearbook. They moved me deeply, especially the touching experience of Sister Lydia Kurdas. I felt a close bond with this sister.”—Nidia, Costa Rica.
“Today I finished reading the 2002 Yearbook. As I read it, my faith in Jehovah was strengthened. Something I will never forget is the account of when seeds of doubt were planted regarding those taking the lead. It taught me never to doubt the brothers who are taking the lead. Thank you very much! This spiritual food is good for the heart and prepares us for the time when our faith may be put to the test.”—Leticia, United States.
“We are thankful for the excellent Yearbook. Many publishers were reading for the first time about the activity of our brothers in Ukraine. The brothers here were strengthened. Many, especially among the young ones, have increased their service activity. Some have started to serve as regular or auxiliary pioneers. All were encouraged by stories of brothers and sisters who served Jehovah during the ban.”—A congregation service committee, Ukraine.
The faithfulness of our brothers in Ukraine has indeed been a source of encouragement to Jehovah’s people worldwide. In fact, regularly reading the heartwarming accounts that appear in the Yearbook each year is a fine way to strengthen our faith and endurance in these momentous times.—Hebrews 12:1.