How I Thrived Instead of Survived
Volume 3 - 1989
Former prisoner, Ivan Antonov, shares what he found to be most important of all:
“While in prison camp, I felt that my primary ministry was prayer. Like Daniel, I prayed three times a day, opening the windows of my heart towards my friends in freedom. I also prayed for our persecutors.
I would sing hymns. I was really glad that I knew so many. I had memorized about one hundred and seventy hymns, and in order not to forget them, I reviewed several every day. So over a time, I sang through all of them. I want to emphasize to my young friends that you should worship God with songs and poems and memorize them. They will come in handy. But most important of all, you should study and memorize the Word of God. When I was in prison and camp, I had no Bible, but I was able to review what I had stored in my heart. I went over two chapters from the Old Testament and two chapters from the New Testament every day.
This experience reminded me of Joseph in Egypt. During the time of abundance, he was laying aside stores of grain. When the famine came, he distributed grain from these stores, and the people were saved from starvation.
These Scriptures were food for my soul. I sang hymns every morning and at night before going to bed. God always woke me up early in the morning, an hour and half or two hours before the morning bell. This gave me time to pray and to meditate in peace, because once everyone else was up, there was too much noise and shouting. It was impossible to concentrate. So in those quiet hours, I would go outside in the fresh air and sing hymns of praise to God and pray.”
After spending a total of twenty-four years in bonds for preaching the Gospel, Ivan Antonov, 69, was released from Siberian exile in November 1988. He and his wife, Neonila, live in Kirovograd.
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