Christianity Shines Brightest when Severely Persecuted
How a Communist Girl Found Christ
Following are three letters from Maria, a Christian girl who led Varia, a member of the Communist Youth Organization, to Christ.
...I continue to live here. I am very beloved. I am beloved also by a member of the cell of the Komsomol [the Communist Youth Organization]. She told me, "I cannot understand what a being you are. Here many insult and hurt you and yet you love all." I answered that God has taught us to love all, not only friends, but also enemies. Before, this girl did much harm to me, but I prayed for her with special concern. When she asked me if I can love her, too, I embraced her and we both began to weep. Now, we pray together.
Please, pray for her. Her name is Varia.
When you listen to those who loudly deny God, it seems that they really mean it. But life shows that many of them, although they curse God with their lips, in their hearts have a great longing. And you hear the groaning of the heart...They seek something and wish to cover their inner emptiness with their godlessness.
Your sister in Christ, Maria
In my former letter I wrote you about the atheist girl, Varia. Now I hurry to tell you, my beloved ones, about our great joy: Varia has received Christ as her personal Savior, witnessing openly to everyone about this.
When she believed in Christ and knew the gladness of salvation, she, at the same time, felt very unhappy. She was unhappy, because before she had propagated that there is no God. Now she has decided to atone for her guilt.
We went together to the assembly of the godless. Although I warned her to be reserved, it was useless. Varia went and I went with her to see what would happen. After the common singing of the Communist hymn (singing in which Varia did not participate), she came forward before the whole assembly. Courageously and with much feeling, she witnessed to those gathered about Christ as her Savior and asked her former comrades for forgiveness that she had had her spiritual eyes closed until then and had not seen that she herself was going to perdition and leading others toward it. She implored all to give up the way of sin and to come to Christ.
All became silent and no one interrupted her. When she finished speaking, she sang with her splendid voice the whole Christian hymn: "I am not ashamed to proclaim the Christ who died to defend His commandments and the power of His cross."
And afterwards...afterwards they took away our Varia.
Today it is the ninth of May. We know nothing about her. But God is powerful to save her. Pray!
Yesterday, the second of August, I had a talk in prison with our beloved Varia. My heart bleeds when I think about her. In fact she is still a child. She is only nineteen years of age. As a believer in the Lord, she is also a spiritual babe. But she loves the Lord with all her heart and went at once on the difficult way. The poor girl is so hungry. When we knew that she was in prison, we began to send her parcels. But she received only little of what was sent to her.
When I saw her yesterday, she was thin, pale, beaten. Only the eyes shone with the peace of God and with an unearthly joy.
Yes, my dear ones, those who have not experienced the wonderful peace of Christ cannot understand it...But how happy are those who have this peace...For us who are in Christ no sufferings and frustrations should stop us...
I asked through the iron bars: "Varia, don't you regret what you did?" "No," she answered. "And if they would free me, I would go again and would tell them about the great love of Christ. Don't think that I suffer. I am very glad that the Lord loves me so much and gives me the joy to endure for His name."
I beg that you pray for her. She will probably be sent to Siberia. They have taken away her clothes and all of her things. She has remained without anything, except what is on her. She has no relatives and we must collect for the most necessary things. I have put apart the last sum which you sent me. If Varia is deported, I will hand it to her. I believe that God will strengthen her and will give her power to endure in the future, too. May God keep her!
Dear Maria, at last I am able to write you. We arrived well at [location omitted]. Our camp is ten miles from town. I cannot describe our life. You know it. I wish to write only a little about me. I thank God that He gives me health and that I can work physically. Sister X and I were put to work in a workshop where we work at machines. The work is difficult and Sister X's health is bad. I must work for both her and me. I finish my work first and then I help my sister. We work twelve to thirteen hours a day. Our food is just as yours, very scarce. But it is not about this that I wished to write to you.
My heart praises and thanks God that, through you, He showed me the way to salvation. Now, being on this way, my life has a purpose and I know where to go and for whom I suffer. I feel the desire to tell and to witness to everybody about the great joy of salvation that I have in my heart. Who can separate us from the love of God in Christ? Nobody and nothing. Neither prison nor suffering. The sufferings that God sends us only strengthen us more and more in the faith in Him. My heart is so full that the grace of God overflows. At work, they curse and punish me, giving me extra work because I cannot be silent. I must tell everyone what the Lord has done for me. He has made me a new being, a new creation, of me who was on the way of perdition. Can I
be silent after this? No, never! As long as my lips can speak, I will witness to every one about His great love.
On the way to the camp, we met with many brethren and sisters in Christ. How amazing it is that you feel through the Spirit that they are children of God when you first see the brethren and the sisters. It is useless to speak. From the first look you feel and know who they are.
While we were on the way to the camp, at one railway station, a woman came, gave us food and said only two words: "God lives."
The first evening when we arrived here (it was late), we were taken to underground barracks. We greeted those present with the words, "Peace with you." To our great joy, from all corners we heard the answer, "We receive you with peace." And from the first evening we felt that we are in a family.
Yes, it was really so. Here there are many who believe in Christ as their personal Savior. More than half of the prisoners are believers. We have among us great singers and good preachers of the gospel. In the evening, when we all gather after heavy work, how wonderful it is to pass at least some time together in prayer at the feet of our Savior. With Christ there is freedom everywhere. I learned here many beautiful hymns and every day God gives me more and more of His Word. At the age of nineteen, I celebrated the birthday of Christ for the first time. Never will I forget this wonderful day! We had to work the whole day long. But some of our brethren were able to go to the river nearby. There they broke the ice and prepared the place where, during the night-according to the Word of God-seven brethren and I were baptized. Oh, how happy I am and how I would like that you, Maria, should be with me, too, that I may atone at least a little bit, through my love toward you for the wrong I committed in times past against you. But God puts every one of us in His place and we must stand firm where God has put us.
Give greetings to the whole family of God's children. God will richly bless your common work, as He blessed me, too. Read Heb_12:1-3.
All our brethren greet you and are glad that your faith in God is so powerful and that you praise Him in your sufferings unceasingly. If you write to others, tell them our greetings.
Dear Maria, at last I have found the opportunity to write you a few lines. I can tell you, my dear one, that, by the grace of God, Sister X and I are healthy and feel well. We are now in [location omitted].
I thank you for your motherly care for me. We received all you have prepared for us. I thank you for the most valuable thing, the Bible. Thanks to all. When you write to them, send my greetings and thanks for what they have done for me.
Since the Lord revealed to me the deep mystery of His holy love, I consider myself to be the happiest in the world. The persecutions that I have to endure I consider as a special grace. I am glad that the Lord gave me from the first days of my faith the great happiness to suffer for Him. Pray for me that I may remain faithful to the Lord to the end.
May the Lord keep you all and strengthen you for the holy battle!
Sister X and I kiss you all. When we are sent to [location omitted] perhaps we will have the opportunity to write to you again. Don't worry about usWe are glad and joyful, because our reward in heaven is great (Mat_5:11-12).
This is the last letter from Varia-the young Communist girl who found Christ, witnessed about Him, and was sentenced to slave labor. She was never heard from again, but her beautiful love and witness for Christ shows the spiritual beauty of the suffering, faithful Underground Church.