I often describe the persecution against the Baptists during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries here in America, as well as in Britain and a few other places. Going a little astray with this vignette, I turn to Russia and a much more recent date – December 11, 1985.

Konshaubi Dzhangetov was born to Muslim parents in the Caucasus Mountains in southern Russia. During his youth, the communists closed the local mosque, so the young man grew up without a lot of formal religion. One day as he was shepherding a little flock of sheep, an elderly Russian man came by and told him of Christ Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross. He invited him to attend a secret meeting of Christians, and there he was given a Bible. After some months, during which the Holy Spirit convicted him of sin and salvation in Christ, Konshaubi repented before God and put his trust in the Saviour. Soon he was forced to choose between his family and Christ. He chose the Lord.

When he found the earthly love of his life, Tonya, they moved and joined a Baptist church in a village 60 miles away. Sadly, the leadership of that congregation decided that in order to survive they would compromise with the government and become registered, accepting the dictates of the communists. When Konshaubi exhorted the people to stand firm for the faith, a small group expressed their desire that he become their pastor and to start a new church. In 1966, Pastor Konshuabi was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison. After serving his time he returned to his ministry but was again arrested in 1973 and was again imprisoned; this time being sent to a camp in Siberia. Again he completed his sentence and returned home to be arrested a third time. His five day trial included this day in 1985, and again he was sentenced to a three-year term of “strict regime.”

The story of Konshaubi Dzangetov is available to Christians today, because during one of his northern imprisonments, he spent time with Georgi Vins. The two men greatly encouraged each other in their faith and service, and Vins published the history of this saint of God.  Sadly, what eventually happened to Konshuabi has been lost, but of course, he has not.