Christian Persecution in Marxist Socialist Russia

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Testimony of Natalya Sakovich’s Christian persecution in Marxist and socialist Russia

Natalya Sakovich came to Grace Community Church in California in the 1990s. She brought with her five children and her mother. In Russia, she was a high school valedictorian and a college university scholar.

She was being prepped to work as a translator at a Societ Embassy in London. However, the path to good life changed when she became a Believer.

From a brilliant student to a cleaning lady

When the authorities found out Natalia became a Christian, they demanded that she and her sister resigned from their job. They ended up working as cleaning ladies.

She spent the next 13 years of her life cleaning in offices and emptying the trash bins of Soviet scholars even though she graduated the top of the glass.

Natalia’s siblings were not spared by authorities

Naturally, authorities suspected Natalia’s siblings of also becoming Christian. When her older brother became a Believer, he was expelled from a Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering, despite being in the final semester.

Her sister was also expelled from another program in architecture. A woman saw her reading the Bible on a train, and her career was over.

Foreign believers not spared from police authority

Natalya found encouragement from foreign believers in Russia who helped support their small Christian group. They even developed secret codes to relay whether their secret church service would push through or not.

In 1976, an Italian fellow congregant came early to the church on a winter Sunday. She found the front door locked by the Soviet authorities indefinitely.

The church was forced to meet secretly in the forest of Riga, Latvia, during the warm months and at people’s homes during the winter. When the police discovered their location, they arrested the pastor and forced them to disassemble.

Story of Romanian Pastor Richard Wurmbrand.

Riga, Latvia forest in 2020. (Unsplash: Mike Swigunski)

The church met secretly

They met in secret, welcoming new Christians, baptizing converts in the lake in the middle of the night, and sometimes in the middle of the winter.

In 1981, 17 KGB agents raided the house of the Italian Believers. Police officers confiscated six large bags of religious material and personal belongings.

During those years, Natalya’s friends were arrested on various occasions, interrogated by the KGB, and sent to prison for multiple-year sentences.

Her 19 years old best friend was sent to a Siberian labor camp for six years because she participated in a children’s Christian camp.

Natalia played an important role in the underground churches in Russia in the 1980’s

While the Soviet authorities prevented Natalya from working as a translator for the Communist Regime, she became the church translator for all the missionaries who visited her local church.

God used Natalya to help organize and mobilize believers within her reach. Without fear and trepidation, she shared the Gospel of Christ in a small pocket of Russia.

In God’s providence. Natalya was able to bring her family to the United States.

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