Spring Edition: February 1996 - Part One
INTO THE LIONS' DEN
the believing Church, like Daniel, pass through the Valley of the Shadow
of Death? If so, how do we prepare?
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was a prisoner of the Communists for fourteen
years. Since his release from prison he has become well known in the West
as a speaker and writer on the Underground Church. He has important information
for all of us on how to prepare for persecution and endure suffering for
Christ. The article that follows this introduction is extracted from a
booklet produced by "The Voice Of The Martyrs, Inc".
Christians today would reject this information as irrelevant. They hope
to avoid all suffering, and to be raptured before anything remotely difficult
happens to them. I suggest this is a short-sighted and foolish attitude.
Amongst discerning Christians worldwide, there is agreement that a dark
storm is hovering on the horizon ready to break. It is becoming more and
more certain that the believers in the West will have to go underground
in order to survive the dark days to come. We need to listen to the voice
of those who have passed through the storm and survived. If we do not
make any preparations, then we could increase our own suffering and that
of our families, friends and fellow Christians.
article that follows was written from the point of view of one whose country
was overtaken by atheist forces. There is, of course, always a possibility
that this will happen in any country, however "civilised". We should not
dismiss the possibility of an enemy force suddenly seizing our country
and setting up anti-Christian conditions much as in Russia or China.
I tend to believe that Western persecution will not come from atheists
or communists. It seems likely that our "enemies will be those of our
own household!" It is our Christians brothers and sisters that Jesus foretold
would hate us and betray us in the endtimes, working alongside an anti-christian
authority. Unlike atheists or even new-agers, Christians already know
how to wield supernatural power. A Christian who is in league with the
devil needs no special training to be able to use spiritual power against
here in the West, I believe, will be tested to the limits of their endurance
and tempted to deny the Lord; by spiritual attacks, by deceiving signs
and wonders and by temptations that will make the Toronto Blessing look
like a picnic. There will come a seduction that is almost irresistible.
I believe that the reason the Lord has granted us a period of time to
re-evaluate our faith and to make a firm decision to re-ject the Toronto
Blessing, is to prepare us to withstand a similar but even greater danger
to our souls.
is preparing his fiery darts. It is no holds barred with him. But this
is not the time to quake and live in fear, nor must we ignore the warning
signs through cowardice. God commands "FEAR NOT!" In the flesh we will
fail, but in the Lord - by faith in Him - we will prevail!
name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and
is safe." Prov 18:10 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord
shall be saved". Rom 10:13.
speaking about this time, Jesus said: "See that ye be not troubled: for
all these things must come to pass." Mt 24:6
I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth,
give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
the less, we cannot be blase about persecution. Nor can we reject God's
prompts to PREPARE for the onslaught to come. There is a spiritual preparation
as we steel our hearts daily by the truths of the word of God, affirming
them and speaking them out boldly in prayers and spiritual songs.
is also the development of our relationship with God, by fellowshipping
often with Him, getting to know Him better and better so that we can stand
alone if need be, without relying on other people for advice and prayer.
this, there are certain practical preparations, which the Lord will show
you as you meet with Him in prayer.
my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee:
hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be
overpast". Isa 26:20-21
ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgement;
seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the
day of the LORD's anger". Zeph 2:3
this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou
mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not
come nigh unto him. Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me
from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance".
following article is offered as helpful practical advice from one who
has paid the price for his faith.
FOR THE UNDERGROUND CHURCH
By Pastor Richard Wurmbrand
Christian pastors must learn what an underground church looks like and
what it does. I spoke with a bishop in Britain for an hour or so about
underground church work. Finally, he said, "Excuse me, but you speak of
my hobby; I am very interested in church architecture. Would you please
tell me if the underground churches use Gothic styles in the building
Underground Church is comparatively unknown. We have it right next-door,
but we are not ready to join it and we are not trained for it. Every Christian
pastor must know this because we might pass through tragic circumstances.
Even if we do not pass through these tragic circumstances we have a duty
to help and to instruct those who do pass through them.
Muslim nations, in Red China and so on, many believers have become victims.
Many have gone into prisons and many have died in prison. We cannot be
proud of this. The better thing would have been to be well instructed
on how to do underground work and not to be captured. I admire those who
know how to work so well that they are not caught. We have to know the
cannot be avoided in the Underground Church, whatever measures are taken,
but suffering should be reduced to the minimum.
happens in a country when oppressive powers take over? In some countries
the terror starts at once, as in Mozambique and Cambodia. In other places
religious liberty follows as never before. And so it begins. Some regimes
come to power without having real power. They do not have the people on
their side. They have not necessarily organised their police and their
staff of the army yet.
Russia, the Communists gave immediately great liberty to the Protestants
in order to destroy the Orthodox. When they had destroyed the Orthodox,
the turn came for the Protestants. The initial situation does not last
long. During that time they infiltrate the churches, putting their men
in leadership. They find out the weaknesses of pastors. Some might be
ambitious men; some might be entrapped with the love of money. Another
might have a hidden sin somewhere, wherewith he may be blackmailed. They
explain that they would make it known and thus put their men in leadership.
Then, at a certain moment the great persecution begins. In Romania such
a clamp-down happened in one day. All the Catholic bishops went to prison,
along with innumerable priests, monks and nuns. Then many Protestant pastors
of all denominations were arrested. Many died in prison.
Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil
he hath done to Thy saints at Jerusalem: But the Lord said unto him, Go
thy way; for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the
Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how
great things he must suffer for My name's sake "-(Acts 9:13, 15 and 16).
our Lord, told Ananias: "Meet Saul of Tarsus. He will be My underground
pastor, My underground worker." That is what St. Paul was - a pastor of
an Underground Church. Jesus started a crash course for this underground
pastor. He started it with the words, "I will show (him) how great things
he must suffer..."
for underground work begins by studying sufferology, martyrology. Later,
we will look at the technical side of underground work, but first of all
there must be a certain spiritual preparation for it.
a free country, to be a member of a church, it is enough to believe and
to be baptised. In the Church underground it is not enough to be a member
in it. You can be baptized and you can believe, but you will not be a
member of the Underground Church unless you know how to suffer.
might have the mightiest faith in the world, but if you are not prepared
to suffer, then when you are taken by the police, you will get two slaps
and you will declare anything. So the preparation for suffering is one
of the essentials of the preparation of underground work.
Christian does not panic if he is put in prison. For the rank and file
believer, prison is a new place to witness for Christ. For a pastor, prison
is a new parish. It is a parish with no great income but with great opportunities
for work. I speak a little of this in my book, With God In Solitary Confinement.
other books I mention Morse code, which is also part of the training for
the Underground Church. You know what this is - a code by which messages
are conveyed. Through this code you can preach the Gospel to those who
are to your right and left.
parishioners look at their watch; "Already he has preached for thirty
minutes. Will he never finish?" When arrested, watches are taken away
from you; you have the parishioners with you the whole week and can preach
to them from morning to night! They have no choice. There have never been,
in the history of the Romanian or the Russian Church, so many conversions
brought about as there have been in prison. So do not fear prison. Look
upon it as just a new assignment given by God.
can accept this. But what about the terrible tortures which are inflicted
on prisoners? What will we do about these tortures? Will we be able to
bear them? If I do not bear them, I put in prison another fifty or sixty
men whom I know because that is what the oppressors wish from me, to betray
those around me. Hence comes the great need for preparation for suffering,
which must start now. It is too difficult to prepare yourself for it when
you are already in prison.
ABOUT THE TRUTH
much each one of us can suffer depends on how much he is bound up with
a cause, how dear this cause is to him, and how much it means for him.
this respect we have had in Communist countries very big surprises. There
have been gifted preachers and writers of Christian books who have become
traitors. The composer of the best hymnal of Romania became the composer
of the best communist hymnal of Romania. Everything depends on whether
we have remained in the sphere of words or if we are merged with the divine
is the Truth. The Bible is the truth about the Truth. Theology is the
truth about the truth about the Truth. A good sermon is the truth about
the truth about the truth, about the Truth It is not the Truth. The Truth
is God alone. Around this Truth there is a scaffolding of words, of theologies,
and of exposition. None of these is of any help in times of suffering.
It is only the Truth Himself Who is of help, and we have to penetrate
through sermons, through theological books, through everything which is
'words' and be bound up with the reality of God Himself.
have told in the West how Christians were tied to crosses for four days
and four nights. The crosses were put on the floor and other prisoners
were tortured and made to fulfill their bodily necessities upon the faces
and the bodies of the crucified ones. I have since been asked: "Which
Bible verse helped and strengthened you in those circumstances?" My answer
is: "NO Bible verse was of any help." It is sheer cant and religious hypocrisy
to say, "This Bible verse strengthens me, or that Bible verse helps me."
Bible verses alone are not meant to help.
knew Psalm 23 - "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want... though I
walk through the valley of the shadow of death...." When you pass through
suffering you realise that it was never meant by God that Psalm 23 should
strengthen you. It is the Lord who can strengthen you, not the Psalm which
speaks of Him so doing. It is not enough to have the Psalm. You must have
the One about whom the Psalm speaks. We also knew the verse: "My Grace
is sufficient for thee." But the verse is not sufficient. It is the Grace
which is sufficient and not the verse.
and zealous witnesses who are handling the Word as a calling from God
are in danger of giving holy words more value than they really have. Holy
words are only the means to arrive at the reality expressed by them. If
you are united with the Reality, the Lord Almighty, evil loses its power
over you; it cannot break the Lord Almighty. If you only have the words
of the Lord Almighty you can be very easily broken.
preparation for underground work is deep spiritualization. As we peel
an onion in preparation for its use, so God must "peel" from us what are
mere words, sensations of our enjoyments in religion, in order to arrive
at the reality of our faith. Jesus has told us "that whosoever will follow"
Him will have to "take up their cross," and He, Himself, showed how heavy
this cross can be. We have to be prepared for this.
have to make the preparation now before we are imprisoned. In prison you
lose everything. You are undressed and given a prisoner's suit. No more
nice furniture, nice carpets or nice curtains. You do not have a wife
or husband any more and you do not have your children. You do not have
your library and you never see a flower. Nothing of what makes life pleasant
remains. Nobody resists who has not renounced the pleasures of life beforehand.
personally use an exercise. I live in the United States of America. Can
you imagine what an American supermarket looks like? You find there many
delicious things. I look at everything and say to myself, "I can go without
this thing and that thing; this thing is very nice, but I can go without:
this third thing I can go without, too." I visited the whole supermarket
and did not spend one dollar. I had the joy of seeing many beautiful things
and the second joy to know that I can go without.
am Jewish. In Hebrew, the language which Jesus Himself spoke and in which
the first revelation has been given, the word "doubt" does not exist.
To doubt is as wrong for a man as it would be for him to walk on four
legs - he is not meant to walk on four legs. A man walks erect; he is
not a beast. To doubt is subhuman.
every one of us doubts come, but do not allow doubts about essential doctrines
of the Bible such as the existence of God, the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
or the existence of eternal life to make a nest in your mind. Every theological
or philosophical doubt makes you a potential traitor. You can allow yourself
doubts while you have a nice study and you prepare sermons, and you eat
well - or you write a book. Then you can allow yourself all kinds of daring
ideas and doubts. When you are tortured these doubts are changed into
treason because you have to decide to live or die for this faith.
of the most important things about the spiritual preparation of an underground
worker is the solution of his doubts. In mathematics, if you do not find
the solution you may have made a mistake somewhere, so you continue until
you find out. Don't live with doubts, but seek their solution.
to come to the very moment of torture. Torture is sometimes very painful.
Sometimes it is a simple beating. We have all been spanked as children
and beating is just another spanking. A simple beating is very easy to
take. Jesus has said we should come to Him like children, which is rather
like candidates for spanking!
with us, Communists did not stop at beatings - they used very refined
tortures. Now torture, you must know, can work both ways. It can harden
you and strengthen your decision not to tell the police anything. There
are thieves who resist any torture and would not betray those with whom
they have co-operated in theft. The more you beat them the more obstinate
they become. Or, torture can just break your will.
I will tell you of one very interesting case which was published by the
Czech Communist Press. Novotny, who was the predecessor of Dubcek and
who was a Communist dictator, had arrested one of his intimate comrades,
a Communist leader, a convinced atheist, and a member of the Central Committee
of the Communist Party. (Not only Christians, Jews or patriots were in
prison. One Communist arrested another and tortured him just as they would
do anybody else.) They arrested this Communist leader and put him in a
prison cell alone. Electromagnetic rays, which disturb the mind, passed
through this cell. A loudspeaker repeated day and night: "Is your name
Joseph or not Joseph?" (His name was not Joseph.)
tried to drive him mad. Day and night. He felt that he would lose his
mind. At a certain moment, he got an illumination. "I have now met unmitigated
evil. If Communists torture a Christian, it is not absolutely evil because
Communists believe that they will construct an earthly paradise. Christians
hinder them, so it is right to torture Christians. But when a Communist
tortures a Communist, it is torture for torture's sake. There is absolutely
no justification for it. But wait a little bit. Every coin has two sides,
every electric cable has two poles. If there is an unmitigated evil, against
whom does this unmitigated evil fight?There must be an unmitigated good.
This is God, and against Him they fight."
he was called to the interrogator, he entered smiling into the room and
told him that he could switch off the loudspeaker now because it had attained
its result. "I have become a Christian." The officer asked him, "How did
it happen?" He told him the whole story. The officer said, "Wait a little
bit." He called a few of his comrades and said, "Please repeat the stop
before my comrades." He repeated the story, and the captain told the other
police officer, "I told you that this method will not work. You have overdone
Devil is not all-mighty and all-wise like God. He makes mistakes. Evil
torture is an excess which can be used very well spiritually.
has a moment of explosion, and the torturer waits for this critical moment.
Learn how to conquer doubt and to think thoroughly. There is always one
moment of crisis when you are ready to write or pronounce the name of
your accomplice in the underground work, or to say where the secret printing
shop is, or something of that kind. You have been tortured so much nothing
counts any more; the fact that I should not have pain also does not count.
Draw this last conclusion at the stage at which you have arrived and you
will see that you will overcome this one moment of crisis; it gives you
an intense inner joy. You feel that Christ has been with you in that decisive
moment. Jailers today are now trained and refined, aware that there is
a moment of crisis. If they cannot get anything from you in that moment,
then they abandon torturing: they know its continuation to be useless.
are a few more points in connection with torture. It is very important
to understand what Jesus said: "Take no thought for the morrow, for the
morrow shall take thought for itself." I have had fourteen years of prison.
Brother Hrapov had twenty-six, Wong MingDao had twenty-eight. It seems
impossible to bear long years of prison. You are not asked to bear it
all at once. Do not bear even one day at a time - bear an hour at a time.
One hour of pain everybody can bear. We have had a terrible toothache,
a car accident - passing, perhaps, through untold anguish. You are not
meant to bear pain more than this one present minute.
amplifies pain is the memory that I have been beaten and tortured so many
times and that tomorrow they will take me again, and the day after tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I might not be alive - or they might not be alive. Tomorrow,
there can be an overthrow, as in Romania. Yesterday beating has passed:
tomorrow's torture has not come yet.
Bible teaches some words very hard to take: "Whosoever does not hate father,
mother, child, brother, sister - cannot be My disciple." These words mean
almost nothing in a free country.
probably know from The Voice of the Martyrs literature that thousands
of children had been taken away from their parents in the former Soviet
Union because they were taught about Christ. You must love Christ more
than your family. There you are before a court and the judge tells you
that if you deny Christ you may keep your children. If not, this will
be the last time you will see them. Your heart may break, but your answer
should be, "I love God."
Sloboda left her house for four years of prison. Her children were taken
from her, but she left her house singing. The children, for whom the police
waited with a truck to take them as she left, told their singing mother,
"Don't worry about us. Wherever they put us, we will not give up our faith."
They did not.
Jesus was on the cross He not only suffered physically; He had His mother
in front of Him, suffering. His mother had the Son suffering. They loved
each other, but the glory of God was at stake and here any human sentiment
must be secondary. Only if we take this attitude once and for all can
we prepare for underground work.
Christ, the Great Sufferer, the Man of Sorrows, must live in us. There
have been cases in Communist countries when Communist torturers threw
away their rubber truncheons with which they beat a Christian and asked,
"What is this halo which you have around your head? How is it that your
face shines? I cannot beat you anymore." It is said of Stephen in the
Bible, that "his face shone." We have known cases of Communist torturers
who told the prisoner, "Shout loudly, cry loudly as if I would beat you
so that my comrades will know that I torture you. But I cannot beat you."
Thus, you would shout without anything happening to you.
are other cases when prisoners really are tortured, sometimes to death.
You have to choose between dying with Christ and for Christ or becoming
a traitor. What is the worth of continuing to live when you will be ashamed
to look into the mirror, knowing that the mirror will show you the face
of a traitor?
TO BE SILENT
the Underground Church, silence is one of the first rules. Every superfluous
word you speak can put somebody in prison. A friend of mine, a great Christian
composer, went to prison because Christians had the habit of saying, "How
beautiful is this song composed by Brother _____." They praised him, and
for this he got fifteen years of prison. Sing the song, but do not mention
the name of the one who has written it.
cannot learn to be silent the very moment the country is taken over. You
have to learn to be silent from the moment of your conversion.
secretary to Solzhenitsyn was put under such pressure by the Communists
(and she had been denounced by Solzhenitsyn's wife) that she finished
by hanging herself. If Solzhenitsyn had kept silent, this would not have
question which is very important: I thank God for the years which I passed
in Solitary confinement. I was, for three years, thirty feet beneath the
earth. I never heard a word. I never spoke a word. There were no books.
The outward voices ceased. The guards had felt-soled shoes; you did not
hear their approach. Then, with time, the inner voices ceased.
were drugged, we were beaten. I forgot my whole theology. I forgot the
whole Bible. One day I observed that I had forgotten the "Our Father."
I could not say it any more. I knew that it began with "Our Father...,"
but I did not know the continuation. I just kept happy and said, "Our
Father, I have forgotten the prayer, but you surely know it by heart.
You hear it so many thousand times a day, so you assign an angel to say
it for me, and I will just keep quiet." For a time my prayers were, "Jesus,
I love You." And then after a little time again, "Jesus, I love You. Jesus,
I love You." Then it became too difficult even to say this because we
were doped with drugs which would destroy our minds. We were very hungry.
We had one slice of bread a week. There were the beatings, and the tortures,
and the lack of light, and other things. It became impossible to concentrate
my mind to even say so much as, "Jesus, I love You." I abandoned it because
I knew that it was necessary. The highest form of prayer which I know
is the quiet beating of a heart which loves Him. Jesus should just hear
"tick-a-tock, tick-a-tock", and He would know that every heartbeat is
I came out from solitary confinement and was with other prisoners and
heard them speaking, I wondered why they spoke! So much of our speech
is useless. Today men become acquainted with each other and one will say,
"How do you do?" and the other answers, "How do you do?" What is the use
of this? Then one will say, "Don't you think that the weather is fine?"
and the other thinks, and says, "Yes, I think it is fine." Why do we have
to speak on whether the weather is fine? We do not take earnestly the
word of Jesus Who says that men will be judged not for every bad word,
but for every useless one. So it is written in the Bible.
talking in some countries means prison and death for your brother. A word
of praise about your brother, if it is not necessary, may mean catastrophe.
For example, somebody comes to visit you and you say, "Oh! I'm sorry you
were not here before - brother W. has just left." The visitor could be
an informer of the secret police. Now she will know that bro-ther W. is
in town! Keep your mouth shut. Learn to do it now.
cannot do underground work without using stratagems. I know of one case
which happened in Russia. The Communists suspected that the Christians
were gathering somewhere and they surveyed a street. They knew that the
meeting must be there somewhere. They saw a young boy going toward the
house where they supposed the meeting would be. They stopped the boy and
the police asked him, "Where are you going?" With a sad face, he said,
"My oldest brother died, and now we gather the whole family to read his
testament." The police officer was so impressed that he patted the boy
and said, "Just go." The boy had not told a lie.
are not obliged to tell an atheist tyrant the truth. We are not obliged
to tell him what we are doing. It is indecent for his side to put questions
to me, an impertinence.
of the greatest methods is not only physical torture; it is brainwashing.
We have to know how to resist brainwashing. Brainwashing exists in the
free world, too. The press, radio and television brainwash us. There exists
no motive in the world to drink Coca-Cola. You drink it because you are
brainwashed. Water is surely better than Coca-Cola. But nobody advertises,
"Drink water, drink water." if water were advertised, we would drink water.
Some have driven this technique of brainwashing to its extreme. The methods
vary, but brainwashing in my Romanian prison consisted essentially of
this: we had to sit seventeen hours on a form which gave no possibility
to lean, and you were not allowed to close your eyes. For seventeen hours
a day we had to hear, "Communism is good, Communism is good, Communism
is good, etc.; Christianity is dead, Christianity is dead, Christianity
is dead, etc.; Give up, give up, etc." You were bored after one minute
of this but you had to hear it the whole seventeen hours for weeks, months,
years even, without any interruption.
can assure you, it is not easy. It is one of the worst tortures. Much
worse than physical torture. But Christ has foreseen all things because
with Him there is no time. Future, past, present are one and the same:
He knows all things from the beginning. Communists invented brainwashing
too late! Christ had already invented the opposite to brainwashing - heartwashing.
He has said: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
the first martyr for Christ, had around him hundreds with big stones in
their hands to throw at him. He said: "I see." And the wife of Stephen
probably thought he saw the danger he was in and would run away. But he
said: "I see JESUS standing at the right hand of God." Perhaps she said
(it is not recorded), "Don't you see all the mob around you ready to throw
stones at you?" "Oh yes! I see some little ants there below not worth
mentioning. I look to JESUS." He did not look to those who wished to kill
him. Blessed are the pure in heart.
had passed through brainwashing for over two years. Now the Communists
would have said that my brain was still dirty. In the same rhythm in which
they said, "Christianity is dead," I and others repeated to ourselves:
"Christ also has been dead, Christ also has been dead." But we knew He
rose from the dead. We remembered that we lived in the communion of saints.
of the greatest problems for an underground fighter is to know how to
fill up his solitude. We had absolutely no books. Not only no Bible, but
no books, no scrap of paper, and no pencil. We never heard a noise, and
there was absolutely nothing to distract our attention. You looked at
the walls, that was all. Now normally a mind under such circumstances
can tell you from my own experience how I avoided becoming mad, but this
again has to be prepared by a life of spiritual exercise beforehand. How
much can you be alone without the Bible? How much can you bear to be with
yourself without switching on the radio, or a record player, etc.?
and many other prisoners, did it like this. We never slept during the
night. We slept during the day. The whole night we were awake. You know
that a Psalm says, "...bless you the Lord,... which by night stand in
the house of the Lord." One prayer at night is worth ten prayers during
great sins and crimes are committed during the night. The great robberies,
drunkenness, revelling, adultery - this whole life of sin is a night life.
During the day everyone has to work in a factory, college, or somewhere.
The demonic forces are forces of the night, and therefore, it is so important
to oppose them during the night.
solitary confinement we awoke when the other prisoners went to bed. We
filled our time with a program which was so heavy, we could not fulfill
it. We started with a prayer, a prayer in which we travelled through the
whole world. We prayed for each country, for where we knew the names of
towns and men, and we prayed for great preachers. It took a good hour
or two to come back. We prayed for pilots, and for those on the sea, and
for those who were in prisons.
having travelled through the whole world, I read the Bible from memory.
To memorise the Bible is very important for an underground worker.
JOY OF THE LORD
to make us laugh also a little bit, I will tell you one thing which happened.
Once while I lay on the few planks which were my bed, I read from memory
the Sermon on the Mount, according to Luke. I arrived at the part where
it is said, "When you are persecuted... for the Son of man's sake, rejoice
you, in that day and leap for joy...." You will remember that it is written
like this. I said, "How could I commit such a sin of neglect? Christ has
said that we have to do two different things. One to rejoice, I have done.
The second, to 'leap for joy,' I have not done." So I jumped. I came down
from my bed and I began to jump around.
prison, the door of a cell has a peep hole through which the warden looks
into the cell. He happened to look in while I jumped around. So he believed
that I had become mad. They had an order to behave very well with madmen
so that their shouting and banging on the wall should not disturb the
order of the prison. The guard immediately entered, quietened me down
and said, "You will be released; you can see everything will be all right.
Just remain quiet. I will bring you something." He brought me a big loaf
of bread. Our portion was one slice of bread a week, and now I had a whole
loaf, plus cheese. It was white. Never just eat cheese; first of all admire
its whiteness. It is beautiful to look upon. He brought me also sugar.
He spoke a few nice words again and locked the door and left.
said, "I will eat these things after having finished my chapter from St.
Luke." I lay down again and tried to remember where I had left off. "Yes,
at 'when you are persecuted for My Name's sake, rejoice... and leap for
joy because great is your reward." I looked at the loaf of bread and the
cheese. Really, the reward was great!
the next task is to think of the Bible and to meditate upon it. Every
night, I composed a sermon beginning with "Dear brethren, and sisters"
and finishing with "Amen." After I composed it, I delivered it. I put
them afterwards in very short rhymes so that I could remember them. My
books, With God In Solitary Confinement and If Prison Walls Could Speak,
contain some of these sermons. I have memorised three hundred and fifty
of bread I made chessmen, some of them whitened with a little bit of chalk
and the others grey. I played chess with myself. Never believe that Bob
Fisher is the greatest chess master of the world. He won the last match
with Spassky. He won eight games and lost two. I, in three years, never
lost a game; I always won either with white or grey!
allow your mind to become distressed because then the Communists have
you entirely in their hands. Your mind must be continually exercised.
It must be alert, it must think. It must, everyone according to his abilities,
compose different things, etc.
have told you all these things because they belong to the secrets of the
underground worker when he suffers. May God bless you.
The address for correspondence and gifts for the Underground Church is:
The Voice of the Martyrs, Inc. PO Box 443, Bartlesville, OK 74005.
Copyright 1996 Banner Ministries