"A Russian Martyr,

Ivan Vasilyevich Moiseyev"

Translated by H. K. Neerskov in 1972, Reprinted by Christ for the Nations in 1974

Preface by H. K. Neerskov: This booklet contains the true story of a modern martyr, whose life is outstanding because of his tremendous endurance and spiritual courage. It is even more remarkable because, as a result of his steadfastness in the faith, he received spiritual revelations unprecedented in modern times.

It also has a message to us Christians in the Western world who spend so much time fighting over trifles and in theological hair-splitting. We live in a generation which has seen more martyrs than any other. Do we notice? Do we remember them? Do we pray for them?

As will be clear from reading it, this story has not been written by an experienced writer, but by simple Russian believers. In translating it, we have felt obliged to preserve their simple way of expressing things. For this reason it may have literary shortcomings.--H. K. Neerskov, Soborg, Denmark, December 1972

Chapter 1--Introduction

Ivan Vasilyevich Moiseyev was born in 1952 in the city of Volontirovka, Suvorov District, Moldavian SSR. His father, Vasily Timofeyevich and his mother, Ionna Konstantinova, had eight children (seven sons and a daughter, all of whom were brought up according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and most of whom eventually consecrated their lives to the Lord's service).

After finishing school in 1968, Ivan came to Christ in the Evangelical Christian Baptist (ECB) Church in Slabodeyska and a year-and-a-half later, in 1970, made a covenant with the Lord by being baptised and becoming a member of the Church. After having been born again he experienced a tremendous desire to witness for Christ. During the few months before he was drafted, he preached the Gospel with great enthusiasm and joy both in the Church and to the young people of Volontirovka, where he worked as a delivery driver.

In November 1970 he was drafted into the Soviet Army. Almost from the beginning, he experienced hardships and trials because of his faith. Eventually, because of his steadfast refusal to disavow his beliefs and the all-too-obvious workings of God in his life, he was subjected to severe persecutions and torture. Finally, on July 16, 1972, at the age of twenty, he died the death of a martyr. The following account covers the last two years in the life of this courageous young believer.

Chapter 2--First Trials

The persecutions of Ivan Moiseyev began almost immediately after he was drafted into the Soviet Army. The following account of his first few months in basic training was taken from a tape recording which he made on furlough in May of 1972:

"When I first came to the regiment in Old Crimea, I began looking for a place to pray. I found a room which was empty until 10 a.m. An officer was working there during the daytime, but before he arrived in the morning no one was there. The soldiers were awakened at 6 a.m. every morning. I dressed and went to this room, where I stayed until breakfast. The soldiers were doing some construction work, but I myself prayed for two hours. Now and then I was late for breakfast because I didn't look at my watch.

"Two months went by like this. Then the day arrived when my faith in the Lord was to be tested. God showed me how I should act. On this particular morning I arose at 5 a.m. and prayed until nine. Just before nine I hurried to the morning roll call. Everyone was waiting for me, and they had all been looking for me. I had to explain my absence to the commanding officer. He already knew that I was a believer. The major ordered me to line up and said I would be punished. Our conversation continued on the training ground, while the soldiers were busy with war training. He tried to compel me to deny my faith.

"When we returned to the barracks I was summoned to the commanding officer. There my superiors talked with me. My punishment was that I should work all night. I worked with joy. I was to wash the floors in the barracks, and there were many of them. They had to be cleaned with soap and brush. I did it all and was happy. My superiors noticed this and then began calling me to one officer after another. Finally I was called to the highest officer, the commanding officer of the barracks. We talked for three hours.

"At first he was shouting, but he finally calmed down. I asked him, 'Do you mind if I tell you something?' He gave his permission, thinking that he had convinced me to deny Christ. But all the time I had been listening to the voice of God, not men. I said to him: 'Your shouting has been in vain. It doesn't scare me.' Then he took two chairs and offered to let me sit down. He wasn't so rude anymore, and finally when he realized that he couldn't persuade me he left.

"Then he sent me to another unit where I spoke all day with one of the higher officers."

"After 20 days and 300 miles of marching, we were finally sent to Kerch [Kerch is a port city in Eastern Crimea with a population of 114,000, lying on the Kerch Strait, a shallow channel separating the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov].

Chapter 3--Kerch

It was in Kerch that the persecutions of Ivan Moiseyev began in earnest. His refusal to disavow his faith had only stiffened the military's determination to break him. By December 1970 the pressure was on the increase, as his furlough tape relays:

"December 1970, the Old Crimnea. Here they really started to take me in hand. At least 15 times a day I am called to various departments to be pressured.

"Once they asked me, 'Have you ever been sick?' I answered, ' No, I don't even know what a hospital is like.' They probably thought, after five days without food I would become ill, but I didn't. The first day passed like an ordinary day and so did the following days, thanks to God. I did not become ill, because I prayed all the time. They asked, 'Well, have you changed your opinion?' Finally I was taken to the X-ray department and declared to be healthy. Then they left me alone. Finally, all this came to the authorities' ears and they said, 'Give him something to eat, for if he dies of hunger we are in trouble.'

"One night I was forced to stand outside for five hours. The temperature was twenty degrees below zero and I was dressed in my summer uniform. They didn't see how I could possibly spend five hours out there. I prayed without ceasing. I didn't know what time limit they fixed--a whole night or one or two hours. After a while I was called in and asked, 'Hav you changed your mind, or haven't you?' Then out into the cold again. But I didn't feel the cold. When the officers happened to come out for just 10 or 20 minutes they were shivering with cold. They looked at me and were astonished that I didn't freeze. Once I had to stand out for a whole night, then several nights in a row. This continued for two weeks. Then I was allowed to sleep in the barracks with the other soldiers.

"The first night after the trial in the cold they gave me permission to sleep in the barracks after 10 p.m. I fell asleep and the soldiers were also sleeping. Suddenly an angel came to me and said, 'Ivan, arise.' I thought I was dreaming. I remember how I got up and dressed and flew away ith the angel. We didn't fly through any door or window. The ceiling just opened up and we flew up in the air. 'You must follow me, because you don't know anyone here,' the angel said. I understood and followed.

"We crossed a big grassy field and arrived at a small river. The angel walked across the river, but I was afraid. He asked me, "What are you afraid of?" 'Snakes," I said. 'Don't be afraid, I am here. It is not like the earth; there are no snakes here.'

"I followed him and there the angel showed me the apostle John. He flew up to me and told me through the angel what it was like to be there. It was more light there than on earth during the daytime but I didn't see the sun anywhere. The next person the angel showed me was David the Psalmist. After David he showed me Moses and then the prophet Daniel. I didn't speak to them, but the angel spoke and told me afterwards.

"Then the angel said, 'We have walked a long way and you are tired.' so we sat down under a big tree. 'I wish to show you the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem,' the angel said. 'But if you see it as it is you can no longer live, and you still have much to do on earth. We'll fly to another place and I shall show kou just the light from this city, so without dying you will know the New Jerusalem really exists.' When we arrived I saw high mountains. Between the mountains was a deep gorge. The angel took me down into the gorge and said, 'Nothing will happen. It's all right for you to look.' Then the angel said, 'Time has come to fly back to earth.' We flew back. I remember how the ceiling of the barracks opened and we descended slowly to the floor.

"The angel was standing at one side of the bed and I at the other. In the same instant I heard the officer on duty shouting, 'Everyone up!' The light was switched on and the angel disappeared. I noticed that the bed was made and that I stood fully dressed. I remembered everything the angel had shown me.

"My neighbor from Oleneshti, Suvorova District, Moldavian SSR, got up and asked me, 'Where have you been tonight?' I said, 'Don't you remember how I undressed last night and went to bed at the same time you did?' He answered, 'Yes, it is true, we went to bed at the same time, but later you disappeared. Did you go to town? Come on, let's ask the officer on duty.' The officer assured us no one had been out during the night. 'I watched the door,' he said.

"Finally, I told everyone about my journey with the angel, but they didn't believe me. For the next two days I had a strange feeling and wondered where I was living. The news about my adventure with the angel spread to all of the barracks. At once my superiors began new attempts to persuade me."

This time the pressure on Ivan Moiseyev escalated directly into physical gtorture. In January 1971 he was deported to Sverdlovsk, where, from the following short account, he was apparently turned over to local agents of the KGB, the Soviet secret police.

"In January 1971 after treatment in the military department I was put in a special car for prisoners and sent in the direction of Sverdlovsk.

"Here I was placed in solitary confinement and then transferred to five different cells for special torture. The first cell had a couch where I could lie down. The second cell was smaller. Here I could only stand up and sit on the couch. The third cell was a cold cell where I had to stand upright anhd icy water ran constantly from a shower in the ceiling. The fourth cell was the frost cell and all four walls had refridgeration installed.

"The fifth cell was the torture cell. Here I was dressed in a rubber suit which was pumped full of air so that it put great pressure on the body. This pressure was gradually increased. Now and then I was asked, 'Well, do you change your mind? Otherwise, you will have to stay here for seven years.' I answered, 'If it is God's will, I shall stay here for seven years. If not, then you will have to stop your torture before tomorrow.' This lasted for 12 days, after which I was brought back to the city of Kerch."

For Chapter 4--The Fingerprints of God, please go to the Home Page.

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