Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yearbook Experience - Zinaida Kozyreva

*ok I had the hardest time locating Ossetia because it's such a tiny country, but if you look on the middle of this map (where that lighter colored area is pointing at the box to the left), you'll see Ossetia right above Georgia and Armenia.

(experience of Zinaida Kozyreva on pgs 158 & 159 of the 2008 Yearbook)

From my childhood on, I yearned to serve God. In 1942 my girlfriend, who was sincere, led me to her Russian Orthodox church so that, as she put it, I would "not end up in hell." The priest, however, after hearing that I was Ossetian, refused to baptize me. Then he changed his mind and performed the ceremony after my friend gave him some money. In my search for the truth, I associated with Adventists, Pentecostals, and Baptists. Because of that, the authorities sentenced me to forced labor. In the labor camp, I met the Witnesses and quickly recognized the truth. After my release in 1952, I returned home and began to preach the good news. Early one morning in December 1958, I heard a loud knocking at the door. Bursting in, soldiers began to search our home while two of them guarded me in the corner. My father woke up and became very frightened for his family, especially for his sons. My parents had five sons, and I was the only daughter. When my father saw how the soldiers were rummaging through all the rooms and the attic, he guessed that it had something to do with my faith. Grabbing a rifle, he yelled, "American spy!" He tried to shoot me, but the soldiers grabbed the rifle away from him. It was unbelievable that my own father could have shot me. When the search ended, I was taken away in a covered truck, but I was happy to be alive. For my religious activities, I was sentenced to ten years in prison.

In December 1965, I was freed before my sentence was up. My parents were glad to see me, but my father did not want me to stay in the house. Strangely enough, however, KGB workers forced my father to register me at his home and even helped me to find a job. My father was as hostile to me as before, but some time later, his attitude began to change. He met the brothers and sisters when they came to visit me. My fleshly brothers did not work, drank, and acted aggressively. Once, my father said: "I see that your people are completely different from what I thought. I want to give you a room to yourself so that you can hold your meetings there." I could not believe it! My father set aside a large room for me and said: "Don't be afraid. While you are all gathered together, I will stand guard, and no one will get in." That is exactly how things turned out because everyone knew about my father's rigid personality. So under my own roof and under the protection of Jehovah and my father, we held our Christian meetings. They were attended by up to 30 people, for that was how many Witnesses were in Ossetia at that time. It was so pleasant for me to look out the window to where my parents were sitting on the street, guarding us. Today in Ossetia, about 2,600 zealous publishers are proclaming Jehovah's Kingdom. (Isaiah 60:22)