Prison Ministry

CAD

 

Photo on left: Valery with others prisoners. Photo on right: Pastor Alexander (left) with Valery

It is a blessing for me to have this opportunity to witness about my life, and about the miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am 70 years old, and I was a very successful man. After graduating from different educational establishments, I was given the rank of Colonel of Internal Troops. According my position, I distributed and provided coal to all correctional institutions in one of the regions of Ukraine. I was a successful in the military, and received a good salary. My family knew no needs. I became used to shopping in expensive stores, and eating in expensive restaurants. Altogether, I became used to this style of living. Every year, I needed more and more money. My friends made a plan for how we could have a lot of money: I had to sell coal to different organizations instead of distributing it between the correctional institutions. I refused to participate in this plan. In order to “teach” me they trumped up the case, and I was sentenced to 14 years in prison. At that time I was 58 years old. All of my successful life collapsed in one moment. I knew it was the end of my life; I even did not hope to live to see the end of my imprisonment.

Once, I was invited to Bible study. In our country, all people consider themselves to be believers, and I did too. But I had never read the Bible. In the room, I saw 12 people. They sat at the table. Everybody had an open Bible and some paper. One man explained something while others listened to him.

This is how I met Pastor Alexander Mazepa, pastor of the church “House of God” in Kiev. In the beginning, I did not understand everything, but I felt I had to be there. His Bible study gave me hope. I heard that there is new life. I had many questions. I wanted to know the truth.

Some time later, I repented of all my sins. I saw how sinful my life was; I understood that I deserved even more severe punishment. Bible studies were a gulp of fresh air. During my 11 years imprisonment, I attended Bible study. We also had others preachers in the prison, but I respected Pastor Alexander.  I promised myself that if I would live to the end of my imprisonment, I would visit his church in Kiev. And here I am. I was released 3 months ago. In the prison I stayed for 11 years, for the crime I never committed. While I was there, my wife passed away, and my daughter married. My world changed a lot.

When I met one of my former friends, he asked me, “So what? You live with nothing. You are a poor, lonely old man. And you have nothing.” “No, I am not poor,” I answered, “I have Jesus and I am rich, because I will spend my eternity with Him in heaven.”

I thank all people which take part in the prison ministry. It is very important. You bring prisoners what may be the last hope.

Valeriy, your brother in Christ.