Lessons on religious freedom

Religious freedom is of great value to believers, and we should be grateful for it, seek to comprehend it, use it wisely, and we should, unquestionably, fight for it. I grew up in the Soviet Union, and I remember well how believers were treated then. It was a strange mixture of hatred and envy, contempt and respect. One who holds firm to their faith will always be an object of interest, even to his enemies. Our freedom, love for it, and readiness to pay any price for it will always be cause for amazement and delight.

My parents were a good example of faithfulness to the principles of freedom. My father spent time in prison for the sake of freedom of conscience and the right to preach the Gospel, while my mother sacrificed her university degree. And that is just a small part of what they were prepared to sacrifice for the freedom to believe and remain faithful to their faith. Many of our brothers and sisters have sacrificed even more, even their lives. Since then, much has changed dramatically, however freedom is still in danger, and its price is still high.

I am grateful to God for the good example of previous generations of believers, who kept their freedom even in prisons and camps, in deprivation and persecution. This experience is priceless for the modern Church and young generations. I very much hope that the next generation will not only carry on the baton of ministry, but also the baton of freedom and faithfulness.

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