Friday, May 7, 2010

Yearbook Experience - Regina Kukushkina

This experience from (pgs 177-178 of the 2008 Yearbook) is a good example of what was discussed in today's text, about God sustaining his loyal worshipers throughout their lifetime, into old age. It also shows that even when a person has limited ability to preach or meet together with fellow worshipers, (due to confinement or isolation), their faithful example and endurance can serve to strengthen the resolve of others, and gives a powerful witness at the same time.

In 1947 a Witness spoke with me at the market. That evening I visited her at her home, and we talked for several hours. I immediately decided that like her, I would zealously serve Jehovah! I told her, “You are preaching, and I will too.”
In 1949, I was arrested in L’viv, Ukraine, for preaching and was taken from my husband and two small daughters. The so-called troika, a closed court hearing consisting of three judges, sentenced me to death by firing squad. Reading the sentence, a woman, one of the three judges, added, “Since you have two children, we have decided to mitigate the death penalty to 25 years of imprisonment.”
I was taken to a prison cell where there were only men. They already knew that I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Upon hearing that I had received 25 years, they were amazed that I was so calm. When I was led out of the prison, a young soldier handed me a parcel of food and kindly said, “Don’t be afraid; everything will be just fine.”

Until 1953, I served my sentence in a camp in northern Russia. The camp contained many sisters from various republics of the Soviet Union. We loved one another like family.
Through our conduct, we sisters tried to give a good witness to others in hopes that it would motivate them to serve God. We had to work long and hard. I was freed from the camp before the end of my term, but I ended up in another kind of isolation. For over five years, I had no contact with the congregation. This was much more difficult than imprisonment. Despite these circumstances, I always felt Jehovah’s support and unchanging love. I read the Bible a lot and meditated on what I read, and this strengthened me spiritually.

In an unusual way, Jehovah helped me get in contact with the Witnesses. In the newspaper Soviet Russia, I read a negative article about our brothers in Ossetia, in southwestern Russia. The article said that the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses were directed against Soviet society. The article gave the specific last names of brothers and sisters and published their addresses. I was so happy! In letters, I told them that I wanted to meet them. When we did meet, the brothers supported me greatly and said that Jehovah had allowed this article to be published so that I could get in touch with his people.

Now I am 92 years old. Yes, that kind soldier was right. All my life, despite hardships, everything has been just fine.