ONE Russia police (KGB officer) * come dey shout for me sey: “You be wicked papa. You leave your wife wey get belle and your small daughter. Who go give dem food chop? Who go take care of dem? Talk sey you no be Jehovah Witness again make you dey go house!” I tell am sey: “No, I no leave my family. Na you arrest me! Wetin I do?” The police come talk sey: “Any other bad thing wey you do better pass sey you be Jehovah Witness.”
This thing happen for 1959 when I dey prison for Irkutsk city for Russia. Make I tell una why me and my wife Maria ready to ‘suffer because of wetin good.’ I go still tell una how Jehovah don take bless us because we no leave am.—1 Pet. 3:13, 14.
Na 1933 dem born me for one village wey dem dey call Zolotniki for Ukraine. For 1937, my mama junior sister and im husband come visit us. Dem be Jehovah Witness, and na France dem from come. As dem want comot, dem come give us two book wey be Government and Deliverance. Na Jehovah Witness people print am. When my papa read the book finish, im faith for God come strong again. For 1939, my papa sick well well and e die. E pain me no be small. But before e die, e tell my mama sey: “Na the truth be this. Make you teach our children this truth.”
WE START TO PREACH FOR SIBERIA
For April 1951, government pursue many Jehovah Witness people from western USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) go Siberia. Dem drive me, my mama and my junior brother wey im name na Grigory comot from West Ukraine. We use train take travel pass 3,700 miles (6,000 km) before we reach Tulun for Siberia. After two weeks, dem carry my senior brother wey im name na Bogdan, go one camp for one city. The city near one place wey dem dey call Angarsk. Dem sey e go stay prison for 25 years, and e go dey do hard work for there.
Me, my mama, and my junior brother preach around Tulun. But we use sense take do am. For example, we go ask person sey, “You know anybody for here wey want sell cow?” When we see person wey want sell cow, we go tell the person the better way wey God take make cow. Before you know, we go dey talk about Jehovah. One newspaper come dey warn people about this our style. E tell people sey we dey find cow but na preach we want preach. Na true sey we dey ask about cow, but na sheep we dey find. And true true, we see people wey be like sheep! I happy to study Bible with this kind people. Dem ready to listen and dem get better mind. That time, publishers no too dey the area. But today, congregation dey there, and their publisher plenty pass 100.
THE WAHALA WEY MARIA FACE
My wife, Maria, learn about Jehovah for Ukraine when dem dey fight World War II. When e dey 18 years, one Russia police start to dey disturb am to sleep with am. But e no gree. When e reach house one day, e come see the man lie down for im bed. Na im Maria borrow leg run comot. The man vex well well. E threaten am sey e go put am for prison because e be Jehovah Witness. And true true, for 1952, dem come talk sey Maria go stay prison for ten years. Wetin happen to am just be like wetin happen to Joseph. Dem put Joseph for prison because e no gree do wetin Jehovah hate. (Gen. 39:12, 20) The driver wey carry Maria from court go prison, tell am sey: “No fear. Many people dey go prison. But when dem come back, dem still be better person.” Wetin the driver talk really make im mind come down.
From 1952 go reach 1956, dem put Maria for one prison camp. The camp near where dem dey call Gorkiy for Russia (dem dey call am Nizhniy Novgorod now). Dem put am there to dey do hard work. Even when weather cold well well like freezer, dem dey tell am to uproot tree. This one make am sick. But dem release am for 1956. As e comot from prison, e goTulun.
WHERE I DEY FAR FROM MY WIFE AND CHILDREN
One brother tell me sey one sister dey come. I come ride my bicycle go meet the sister for where motor drop am. I tell am make I help am carry im load. As I see the sister, I just like am. E no easy for me to make am like me back. But at last e gree. We marry for 1957. After one year, we come born our first daughter. E name na Irina. But I no stay with my pikin tey. And e no sweet me at all. For 1959, dem come arrest me because I dey print our book dem. Dem put only me for one prison for six months. When I dey there, I dey always pray, and sing Kingdom melody. I still dey think about how I go take preach again when dem release me. All this one help me get rest of mind when I dey prison.
When I dey prison, the person wey dey ask me question come shout for me. E talk sey: “We go soon kill all of una like rat!” I come tell am sey, “Jesus talk sey dem GO preach the good news about God Kingdom for the whole world. So nobody go fit stop am.” The person wey dey ask me question come change im style. E do everything wey e fit do, so that I go talk sey I no be Jehovah Witness again. Na wetin I dey talk about for the first paragraph be that. When e see sey im plan no work, dem come talk sey dem go send me go one camp for seven years. Dem still talk sey I go do hard work for there. The camp near one city wey dem dey call Saransk. As I dey go the camp, I come hear sey my wife don born our second daughter. E name na Olga. Where my wife and my two children dey far from where I dey. But, my mind come down because I know sey me and my wife no leave Jehovah.
My wife dey travel from Tulun come visit me for Saransk every year. The place far well well. E dey take 12 days to go and come if person use train. Every year wey e come, e dey bring new boot come for me. E dey hide new new Watchtower for inside the boot. E get one year wey Maria carry our two children come greet me. That year na special year for me. Mouth no fit talk how I happy reach when I see dem!
NEW PLACE WITH NEW WAHALA
Dem release me for 1966. Me and my family come pack go one place wey dem dey call Armavir. The place near Black Sea. Na there my wife born two boys. Their name na Yaroslav and Pavel.
We never even tey for Armavir when Russia police just come our house. Dem start to dey search everywhere, dem dey find our book dem. Dem even find am go reach where we dey put cow food. E get one time wey the police come dey sweat because of heat. Dust cover the suit wey dem wear. Maria come dey pity for dem, because e know sey na message dem send dem. E come give dem juice drink. E give dem brush to clean their suit. E still use rubber fetch water go give dem, and e give dem towel. Later when their oga come, the police tell am the better thing wey my wife do for dem. As dem dey comot, the oga come smile and e tell us bye-bye. We happy to see the better thing wey come out when we ‘win bad thing with good thing.’—Rom. 12:21.
We no let wetin the police do make us stop to preach for Armavir. We still go one place wey dem dey call Kurganinsk. E get one group wey dey there, and the publishers for the group no many. We go help dem to make their faith strong. Today, na six congregation dey Armavir and na four dey Kurganinsk. This one dey really make me happy.
E get the time wey we no come dey serve Jehovah well as we suppose to. But I thank Jehovah sey e use brothers take correct us. And dem make our faith strong again. (Ps. 130:3) E get another time wey some Russia police come dey follow us go meeting. We no quick know who dem be. Dem pretend to be serious people wey dey come meeting, and dem put body for preaching. Some of dem even go far for Jehovah organization. Na later we come know who dem really be. E no really easy for us that time.
For 1978, when Maria dey 45 years, e come get belle again. E get serious heart problem. The doctor come dey fear sey e go die. So dem come tell am make e comot the belle. My wife no gree. This one come make some doctor carry injection dey follow am go everywhere for the hospital. Dem want chuk am injection, so that e go born the pikin when time never reach to born am. Maria run comot from the hospital, because e no want make anything happen to the pikin.
Russia police tell us make we comot from where we dey stay. We come pack go one village wey near one city for Tallinn wey dey Estonia. Estonia dey under USSR that time. Na there my wife born. E no die as those doctor talk. Na boy e born, and nothing happen to am. The pikin name na Vitaly.
We later comot from Estonia go Nezlobnaya wey dey for south Russia. E get some fine fine area wey near where we dey. Na sense we take preach for there. People dey come from different different place for Russia come visit this fine fine place. Na sickness dey carry some of dem come. But when we preach to dem, some dey get the hope sey life wey no go end dey come for front!
WE TRAIN OUR CHILDREN TO LOVE JEHOVAH
We try to teach all our children to love Jehovah and to use all their mind serve am. Sometimes we dey invite some brothers wey dey show our children better example. My junior brother Grigory dey always come visit us. Grigory na circuit overseer. E do this work from 1970 go reach 1995. E sabi make person laugh and e dey always happy. Because of this one, everybody for our family dey happy when e come. Anytime people come our house, we dey play Bible game. And this one help our children like Bible story.
For 1987, our pikin Yaroslav come pack go one city. The name of the city na Riga for Latvia. E come fit dey preach well for there. But when e no gree join military work, dem come talk sey dem go send am go prison for one and half years. Dem carry am go nine different prison. E remember wetin I tell am about wetin happen to me for prison. Na that one help am endure. E come later dey serve as pioneer. For 1990, when our pikin Pavel dey 19 years, e come sey e want go pioneer for one place wey dem dey call Sakhalin. Na one island for north of Japan. Na only 20 publishers dey the whole island. We no want let am go before. Where we dey stay far from the island well well. From where we dey stay to where the island dey, far pass 5,500 miles (9,000 km). But later, we come agree sey make e go. Na better thing sey we let am go there. The people wey dey there listen well well. After some years, eight congregation come dey the place. Pavel preach for Sakhalin reach 1995. That time na only our last born, Vitaly, dey with us for house. From when e dey small, e like to dey read Bible. When e dey 14 years, e start to pioneer. I join am pioneer for two years. I really enjoy that time. When Vitaly dey 19 years, e come be special pioneer.
I remember sey for 1952, one police officer tell Maria sey: “Talk sey you no be Jehovah Witness again, or you go stay prison for ten years. When you come out, you go don old and na only you go come dey.” But things no be as the police talk. Jehovah don show us sey e love us, and e no leave us. We don help many people learn about Jehovah. This people and our children don show us sey dem love us. Me and my wife happy as we go visit the place wey our children for serve. Our children don help many people learn about Jehovah. Our belle sweet us to see how dem dey thank our children.
I THANK JEHOVAH FOR WETIN E DON DO FOR US
For 1991, government stop to dey disturb our preaching work. This one come give us more power to dey preach. Our congregation even buy bus wey we go dey use for preaching. We dey use the bus travel go other town wey near where we dey. We still dey use am travel go other village every weekend to preach.
I dey happy sey my pikin, Yaroslav and im wife, Alyona, with Pavel and im wife, Raya, na Bethelite. Vitaly and im wife, Svetlana, dey circuit work. Irina wey be our first born, dey stay for Germany with im family. Im husband name na Vladimir. Im and their three children na elder for their congregation. Our second daughter Olga dey stay Estonia, and e dey always call me for phone. For 2014, my dear wife, Maria, come die. E pain me reach bone. I no fit wait to see am again when Jehovah go bring am come life! I dey stay for one city wey dem dey call Belgorod now. The brothers for there dey really help me well well.
The time wey I don take serve Jehovah don show me sey, e no easy to hold Jehovah tight. But the peace of mind wey Jehovah dey give us better pass wetin we suffer. The way Jehovah don take bless me and Maria because we no leave am, plenty pass wetin I think. Before USSR fall for 1991, e pass 40,000 publishers wey dey. But today, e pass 400,000 publishers wey dey the country dem wey first dey among the Soviet Union. Na 83 years I dey now, and I still be elder. Na Jehovah dey give me power to bear wahala. Yes o, Jehovah don really bless me.—Ps. 13:5, 6.
^ par. 4 KGB for Russia mean Soviet State Security Committee.