Sergey Skrynnikov is the second Jehovah's Witness in the city of Oryol to be prosecuted for his faith. Sergey told what helped him not to give up, what was his path to faith, how he feels about the repressions.
When did Sergey first meet Jehovah's Witnesses? "It happened in 1973, when I was 11 years old. We lived in a small village in eastern Ukraine. In the context of Soviet anti-religious propaganda, my mother began to study the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses. It was from her that I first heard about God, his Son, and his good news. I have never doubted the truth of God's word, and this knowledge is deeply embedded in my heart. But the knowledge of the truth obliged to build one's life in accordance with the morality of the Gospel. I was not ready for this then, and my life went according to a bad scenario. At the age of 25, I was already abusing alcohol, lost my job, lost my family and decided to return to my mother in my native village, in Manuylovka.
How did Sergey come to real faith? "My mother had literature, and she specially left it for me in prominent places in the house. I gradually rethought my life. I realized that I heard what the Creator was saying to me, but I didn't listen to him. He began to study the Bible intensively. I suggested that my mother move somewhere far away from my drinking buddies. We sold our house and moved to Torez, where there was a community of Jehovah's Witnesses. By comparing biblical truth with my negative experiences, I realized where the truth was. In 1989, after a long search, I was baptized into the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses."
How has Sergey's life changed? "I mentioned that because of my riotous lifestyle, my marriage broke up, Nina and I divorced and ran away. After a while, Nina learned from a friend that I had become one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and she couldn't believe it. Still, she decided to write me a letter. This was the first step. Nina and I already had a daughter who went to first grade without me. During the holidays, they came to me. Nina became interested in the gospel good news. We decided to restore the marriage because Jehovah hates divorce. They re-signed, lived in Torez. So the Bible saved not only me, but also our marriage."
How did the future life of the family develop? "I am a physical education teacher by profession, I graduated from the Bolkhov Pedagogical School. He worked by profession, including here, in the Oryol region. Nina is also a teacher by profession. Once, her child was injured at work. Due to severe stress, Nina was paralyzed, she did not get out of bed for 1 year and 4 months. It was a difficult time. One day, Nina suddenly says, "I want to go with you to the field ministry." I dissuade her, but she insists on her own. There was nothing to do, he dressed her, picked her up in his arms and carried her. So we walked about 20 meters to the neighbors, where I put her on a bench, and she started talking about the Bible with the neighbor. After 15 minutes we returned home. The next day, in the same way - 30 minutes. Then an hour. And so, over time, she began to walk. All thanks to the ministry. Now Nina is struggling with melanoma. He is observed by an oncologist and enjoys every day he lives.
Does the Skrynnikovs' daughter share her parents' beliefs? Olesya also believes in God. "When we moved to Oryol to take care of my wife's parents, Olesya and her family also moved with us. Four of her five children were born in Orel. We are helping to raise our five grandchildren. My Nina is a devoted friend, her support is very important to me. She knows from her own experience that Jehovah God is a caring and loving heavenly Father."
How did the family react to the criminal case against Sergey? "When it all started, we were ready. Because of Jehovah's care, we were not taken by surprise. The whole family quickly rebuilt and began to adapt to new circumstances. No one goes to extremes. True, sometimes deep down you feel like a leper. You can't talk to anyone on the phone because of possible wiretapping. You can't go on a visit because of possible surveillance. You can't even show up somewhere near your friends - they will take a picture together, then they will have problems.
Thoughts of the Skrynnikovs on the eve of the verdict. "We are all in the mood to welcome what Jehovah will allow. If he allows me to be imprisoned, then this is his will and a new appointment for me. There are millions of people in the colonies who have not heard the Word of God. As Jesus Christ said, "The fields are white and ready for harvest." I am ready for anything and I believe that my beloved God Jehovah will not leave me. Every day he fills my heart with peace and joy, and it always will be."
On April 1, 2019, Gleb Noskov, judge of the Zheleznodorozhny District Court of Orel, found Sergey Skrynnikov guilty under Part 2 of Article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and sentenced him to a fine of 350 thousand rubles.