Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yearbook Experience - Nadezhda Yarosh

(experience of Nadezhda Yarosh, pgs 147 & 148 of the 2008 Yearbook)
When I entered the concentration camp in 1943, I lost all interest in life. I remained in this state until I met Jehovah's Witnesses. What happiness it was to return home to Ukraine with the firm hope of living forever on a paradise earth! I began to correspond with Witness sisters to support myself spiritually. However, the KGB intercepted my letters, and before long, I was sentenced to 15 years of camp imprisonment. In November 1947, I was sent to a camp in Kolyma, where I served my sentence without seeing another Witness. Jehovah helped me to preach. Yevdokia, one of the prisoners, showed an interest in the Bible. We became friends and supported each other, both spiritually and emotionally. I had very little Bible knowledge, but what I had learned was enough for me to maintain my integrity to Jehovah. Early in 1957, a year after I was freed, I moved to Suyetikha, Irkutsk Oblast. The brothers received me warmly and showed hospitality. They helped me to find work and an apartment. But what made me happiest was that I was asked to participate in theocratic activities. Since I had not yet been baptized, I was baptized in a large tub of water. Then I was ready to carry out responsibilities included delivering Bible literature and correspondence.
The literature had to be delivered all over Siberia, central Russia, and western Ukraine. Everything had to be carefully planned beforehand. To deliver literature to western Ukraine, we needed large suitcases. One time, at Yaroslavl' Station in Moscow, the lock on one of the suitcases broke, and all the literature fell out. Keeping calm, I prayed while I gathered up the literature unhurriedly. Somehow I bundled everything together and quickly left the station. Fortunately, no one paid any attention to me. Another time, I took suitcases full of literature from Ukraine through Moscow to Siberia. I put one suitcase under the lowest bunk of the train compartment. Soon two male passengers - KGB agents - came into the compartment. Among other things, they talked about the Witnesses, whom they said "spread literature and engage in anti-Soviet agitation." I tried to keep calm so as not to arouse suspicion. After all, they were practically sitting on the literature! Whether delivering literature or fulfilling other assignments, I was prepared for arrest at any time. There were many situations that taught me to trust in Jehovah in all matters.