Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yearbook Experiences - Aleksey Nepochatov

Aleksey Nepochatov - pages 168 - 169 of the 2008 Yearbook

"At the age of 20, Aleksey was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Later, he was transferred to the Buchenwald camp, where he learned the truth. Shortly before his release, two anointed Witnesses said to him: "Aleksey, it would be good if after the war, you return to Russia. It is an enormous country where reapers are especially needed. The situation there is difficult, so be prepared to meet every kind of trial. We will be praying for you and for those who will listen."

The British freed Aleksey in 1945. He returned to Russia, where he was promptly sentenced to ten years of imprisonment for refusing to vote. He writes: "At first, I was the only Witness in the prison. I asked Jehovah for direction in seeking out sheep, and soon there were 13 of us! During all this time we had no Bible literature. We would copy scriptures from novels that we checked out from the prison library."

Aleksey served out his ten-year sentence. Upon being released, he went to an area where he knew that many people believed in Jesus. He says: "The people were spiritually hungry. They came to me day and night; they came with children. Everything they heard, they checked in the Bible." Over the next few years, Aleksey helped more than 70 people to baptism. One of them was Maria, who became his wife. He recalls: "The KGB came after me. I was arrested and sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment. Then they arrested Maria. Before the trial, Maria spent seven months in solitary confinement. The investigator said that he would free her immediately if she would renounce Jehovah. Maria refused. The court sentenced her to seven years of imprisonment in labor camps. A spiritual sister took in our baby daughter and cared for her."

Aleksey and Maria were freed before finishing their terms. They moved to Tver' Oblast. There the authorities and local people were strongly opposed to them, and one neighbor set fire to their house. In the years that followed, they were forced to move many times; yet in each new place, they made new disciples.

Aleksey says: "During our years of imprisonment, we could not read God's Word. Since then, we have set for ourselves the goal of reading the Bible every day. Maria and I have now read the Bible through more than 40 times. It is God's Word that has given us strength and zeal in the ministry." In all, Aleksey spent 4 years in Nazi concentration camps and 19 years in Russian prisons and camps. During his 30 years in the pioneer service, he and his wife helped dozens to come to know and love Jehovah."