In January of 1989 our team had a visit from a psychiatrist who did counseling for our group. After our weekly prayer meeting he came back with us to our home.
As we walked up the stairs to our apartment, two men seated on the flight above got up and came down to meet us. One of them presented me with a paper summoning me again to the police headquarters.
“Do you have a car?” he asked. When I said I did, he said, “Drive us to the headquarters.” So off we went. It was about 4:30 pm when we got to the police headquarters. They took me downstairs to a large office where there were several policemen. Most of these men I knew from my previous “visits” and they all greeted me.
After a while their boss came in. “Well,” he said, “It’s time for me to go home. We’ll have to talk tomorrow morning. If we weren’t already acquainted with you, we’d give you accommodations here, but since you are well known to us, I’ll let you go home for tonight. Be back here in my office by 9 am tomorrow!”
I was glad to leave and hurried home for supper and a visit with our guest. He had to leave the next morning so this was our last chance to be with him. During our discussion, he gave us good advice about dealing with Barbara’s mother.
Also, Barbara and I had planned a trip for the next day to visit Tom, my old language tutor. His job had taken him to another city. Our tickets were for a bus leaving at 1 pm, so we prayed that I’d be back from the police in time to make the bus.
When I got to the police headquarters the next morning and told the policeman on duty where I was supposed to go, he laughed. “No one gets to go there unless they’re brought in,” he said.
“Well, I was brought in yesterday, and this officer told me to come see him this morning!” I handed him my summons paper. It took about twenty minutes to convince him to let me go downstairs for my appointment. When I finally arrived, fifteen minutes late, the officer was none too happy.
He put me in a room to wait. Other policemen wandered in, bringing me tea and staying to chat. We visited for a good two hours. They asked me what I actually believed, and I was able to lay out the whole gospel for them. I offered to bring them each a New Testament. They laughed. “We have a whole storage room full of ones that we have confiscated,” they said.
Then one leaned forward, “What do you think about these accusations that we torture people here?”
I paused for a quick prayer. This required a delicate answer. “Well, you know that I’ve been here for a couple of visits. During that time I heard and saw the results of what was done to people.”
“Well, what else can we do?” one sighed, “We’ve got to get them to talk somehow! Our people only know how to be truthful if you put a little pressure on them.”
Just then the boss came in and noticed me. “Why is he still here?” he asked. “Take him down to the prosecuting attorney for publications. Show him the brochure this prisoner has printed.”
It was only then that I realized they had called me in because of the booklet I’d produced on the rights of believers. So off we went to another part of the city. The prosecutor looked through the booklet and tossed it on his desk.
“We can’t arrest him for this,” he said, “It’s mostly just our own laws. It’s not illegal to publish those!”
“No, no, we can’t just let him go like that!” objected one policeman.
“But there’s nothing to accuse him of,” replied the Prosecutor. He waved his hand at me, “You can go.”
The policeman began objecting again, but I didn’t wait to hear what he said. I walked out the door, ran down the steps, hailed a taxi and made it to the bus station just a few minutes before our bus was to leave! And there was faithful Barbara, sitting in the bus, patiently waiting for me. Her trust in God was wonderful.
After our return from this trip, Orin called to tell me that he was being reassigned to a new place in a small city. In actuality, he was being exiled, punished for his faith in Christ and for not being willing to return to the local religion.
“I’m going there to find a place to rent. Would you come with me?” he asked. I agreed and drove him three hours to his new assignment. Orin told me that he would be working in a car repair shop. This was very clearly an attempt to get him to resign, demoting an experienced engineer to work as a clerk in a small repair garage in a little backwater town.
The place was small, provincial and had only one main street. We found a suitable apartment on the edge of town. Later, when Orin moved, I went with him again and helped carry all his stuff up the four flights of stairs. For the next three years we went once every five weeks to visit and encourage him and his family.
His new boss humiliated him further by not giving him any work to do. Orin just sat at his desk all day. But being a diligent man, he was not idle. Through his daily observations, Orin discovered a purchasing scam going on. The boss was buying many supplies from his relatives’ shops without first putting out the required bids.
Orin reported this to the supervisor in the capital city. An inspector was sent out and confirmed the scam, but joining forces with the boss, tried to make it look as if this were Orin’s doing!
In the end Orin was demoted again, this time to changing oil in vehicles, which gave him more than enough to do. In an honor-based society like this one such humiliation and degradation are bitter pills to swallow. Orin struggled with it, and at times was angry with me for “causing” this trouble in his life.
After three years, he was eligible for a transfer and God graciously answered our prayers by moving him into a good office job in a larger city. Even there he was viewed with suspicion, but Orin stuck it out for two more years until he reached retirement age.
Then, while we were on furlough, he moved to the biggest city in the country and disappeared. Our efforts to locate him have been futile. We continue to pray for him and know that the Lord is watching over him and his family.
Picture: house fellowship meeting with Orin on the far left, I am on the far right.