Friday, May 22, 2009
Yearbook Experience - Konstantin Skripchuk
experience of Konstantin Skripchuk -
pgs 162, 163 of the 2008 Yearbook
"I met a brother named Vasily early in 1953 in a prison cell. He said that he had ended up there for his faith in God. I could not understand how someone could be put in prison for his beliefs. This disturbed me so much that I couldn't sleep. The next day he explained the matter. Gradually, I became convinced that the Bible is a book from God.
In 1956, I was baptized. At the end of that year, the foreman made a search and found that we had a large amount of Bible literature. The investigations went on for almost a year, and in 1958 the court sentenced me to 23 years for religious activity. By that time, I had already spent five and a half years in the camps. The entire time, 28 years and 6 months, I served without once tasting freedom.
In April 1962 the court pronounced me "an especially dangerous offender," and I was transferred to a maximum-security camp, where I spent 11 years. There were many things that made this kind of camp "special." For example, the food allowance per person was 11 kopecks a day, less than the amount needed to buy a loaf of bread at that time. At a height of 6 feet 3 inches, I weighed only 130 pounds. My skin shriveled and fell off in scales.
Since I was a good construction worker, I was often sent to do repairs at the officials' apartments. No one feared me, and the residents didn't bother to hide their belongings in the apartments. When the wife of one official learned that I would work on their apartment, she didn't take her six-year-old son to kindergarten. It was an interesting scene: an "especially dangerous offender" spending the entire day alone in an apartment with a six-year-old child! It was clear that no one believed I was a criminal, let alone an "especially dangerous" one.
Gradually, all the brothers in our camp were freed. In 1974, I was the only Witness left in the camp. I stayed there for seven more years until I was freed in August 1981. Jehovah continued to support me spiritually. How? For those seven years, I received The Watchtower in letters. One brother regularly sent me these letters, containing neatly handwritten articles from a new issue. Each time, the camp censor handed me the letter already opened. We both knew the exact contents of the letter. To this day, I am not sure what motivated him to take such a risk, but I am glad that he worked there for the entire seven years. Most of all, I am grateful to Jehovah. During all those years, I learned to trust in Jehovah and received strength from him. -1 Peter 5:7."