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In 1962 Aida Skripnikova was just a young woman when she was first imprisoned in communist Russia for her Christian faith.

In the first Australian edition of Jesus to the Communist World written in November 1969, a call to pray for Aida was published. At the time, she had already been imprisoned and released twice and, in 1968, she was imprisoned for a third time.

The conditions in the Potma Camps where she was kept were bleak and a letter written by a friend of hers read:

“Aida was not permitted to take warm clothes and her friends are not allowed to send clothes to her. She has been freezing because the temperature in the area is -30 degrees Celsius and even colder in the winter. Aida is not allowed to have a New Testament in the labour camp.”

Aida was finally released from the camp three years later in 1971.

Today, Aida, 78, continues to serve the Lord in her home town of St Petersburg, formerly Leningrad. She recalls this time in her life now, 50 years on.

“When I was in prison, I know that many Christians in Australia prayed for me and wrote about me. Such support gave me the strength to endure the trials. I think I easily went through all this, I have no dark memories about this time.

“I often think how great the work that Christians of the West have done for the persecuted Christians of the Soviet Union. This included the delivery of spiritual literature and the dissemination of information about the persecuted, prayers and petitions in our defence.”

Of course today, the situation in the region has progressed and, according to Aida, the churches in Russia are no longer persecuted. There are more opportunities for the widespread preaching of the Gospel among unbelievers, and churches take full advantage of this.

“We can all feel like participants in this victory,” says Aida.

“When they say the government has given freedom to believers in Russia, I always say no. Even in times of persecution our churches have already become free.”

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