Recently a VOM worker visited Dmitry Shestakov, a pastor and former Christian prisoner from Uzbekistan. Dmitry, spent four years in prison for his Christian work in Uzbekistan. Dmitry was released in January 2011, but he had difficulty supporting his family because of his criminal record and was constantly watched by the police. He was finally forced to leave Uzbekistan last year with his wife and three daughters.
The family sent this message of thanks to VOM.
At last! We can openly say “Thank you very much!” and to express our gratitude that we wanted to share with you for a very long time. While I was in prison you visited me! You made it possible for my wife to visit me because of your sacrificial giving. She travelled about a thousand kilometres to visit me even though sometimes they were short visits and we were only allowed to talk with a phone separated by a thick glass wall. She brought food and other needed items but most importantly she brought with her memorised passages from the Scriptures. I did not have a Bible there. It was a blessing.
Without your sacrificial giving, I would not have had a chance to eat normal food there. Often we were starving. I had a chance to share my food with others and in this way to share the Gospel with them. The authorities sternly “promised” to add three more years to my prison term if they were to hear that I preached the Gospel in prison.
The letters that you wrote were fantastic because the prison was getting sacks full of your letters. One day when another sack arrived, everybody knew that all those letters were for Shestakov. The Head Guard was constantly yelling profanities for all the letters that were addressed to me. I remember very well what happened when the first sack of letters came. The Head of the Security Department called me in. He was in a state of shock. I saw the letters scattered all around his entire office. I myself was shocked. He was looking at the addresses of the senders that came from America, Australia … He yelled at me, “Who are these people?” I said, “These are my brothers and sisters”. ”Why are they writing to you?” I said, “I don’t know. They are praying for me.” He replied “Tell them to stop writing.” I said, “How can I stop them?” He kept yelling at me for sometime after this. They did not give me any letters to read. Each time more letters arrived I was called into his office and was yelled at but over time my beatings were not as frequent and things became calmer for which I was thankful, because of your prayers.
What you did is a huge blessing for us. Thank you very much! Here in your newsletters we see scores of people who at the present moment experience persecution. You are helping them and we also are praying for them. Now we want to do our part in helping them. God bless you!
Please continue to pray for the Shestakov family as they settle into their new location.
You can give to our Families of Martyrs fund to assist believers like this precious family.