Surviving Mariupol: Baptist Pastor’s Evacuation Amid Russian Siege


My name is Artem.

 I’m from the city of Mariupol, where I was an assistant chaplain with the Church of Good Change – a Baptist congregation. 

CITY UNDER SIEGE

Throughout the siege, we were working at the front.

 Then, when it became clear the Russians would take the city, we decided to evacuate people to Zaporizhzhya where they would be safe. 

 If captured, we would have been sent straight to the basements where we would have been tortured.

PASTORS TORTURED IF CAPTURED

 At that time the authorities had already signed Russian treaties, so they were looking for pastors, and Christians in the villages, because many Christians could see clearly what was happening.

 If we didn’t get our people out of there, we would surely have been killed, even after the bombings stopped. 

Specifically our congregants would have been singled out and persecuted because they speak with such open hearts. 

BAPTISTS TARGETED BY RUSSIANS

At the checkpoints, the Russians were trying to get people to talk and it was clear they were looking for Christians.

  I told our people in every possible way – be quiet, pause, think before you speak, because they were looking for us, and targeting us because we are Protestants, and Baptist.

RUSSIANS LOOKING FOR BAPTISTS

 I tried to make our people  forget the name of the Church of Good Change, because it was like a red flag for the Russians, all the more so if an FSB officer were standing at a checkpoint.