Todd Nettleton of VOMRadio.net recently interviewed David Shestakov, a pastor from Uzbekistan who was imprisoned for his faith. Part of the interview is below.
Todd Nettleton: We are in the studio today with David Shestakov, former prisoner for Christ in the nation of Uzbekistan. One of the ways that The Voice of the Martyrs helps prisoners is by encouraging American Christians to write letters to them in prison. We told people, “Write letters to David Shestakov in prison.” Tell us about what it meant to you inside the prison when those letters started coming.
David Shestakov: I experienced a huge impact of these letters in many ways…In our prison they replaced the guards every year in order to prevent corruption. So new guards who came on duty usually beat up those prisoners who were imprisoned for “extremism,” like myself. They beat them first, then they introduced themselves.
When the new guards called me, at the same time a post office worker approached with a sack full of these letters. He started to yell, “This Shestakov; we are tired of him! We are tired of these letters!” Everybody came out of their rooms just to see what he was screaming about and why he was upset. He explained that I was receiving 100 letters a day, and everybody was tired of the letters. The new guards were impressed by the fact that I received such attention from all over the world. They were really polite to me.
Todd Nettleton: David, some of the people who wrote those letters are going to be listening to this radio broadcast, I would like you to speak directly to them and tell them what it meant that they wrote those letters.
David Shestakov: I was dreaming about this opportunity to say thank you out of my heart. I really admire what you have done for me and for my family, because these letters created different opportunities for me while I was in prison, as I said. Also, it encouraged me personally that I was not forgotten; that many people remembered me. At first I thought that I was left behind and everybody forgot about me. But receiving all those letters every day from all over the world encouraged me to go through these trials. Thank you very much for what you have done for me.
(Source: VOMRadio.net. Edited for length and clarity.)
Would you like to write letters of encouragement to Christian prisoners? Find out how at prisoneralert.com.