Pastor Joseph Bondarenko: “Today in America, we are losing our liberties; “I have four words for America” says “The KGB’s Most Wanted” man

By Michael Hernandez

NEWBURY PARK—“Today in America, we are losing our liberties…I have four words for America,” shared Pastor Joseph Bondarenko, Russian evangelist, and author of “The KGB’s Most Wanted” (having served three separate imprisonments in the former Soviet Union for nearly 10 years) at Sunday’s three livestream Godspeak Calvary worship services.

“Today, I am proud to be an American. It is a fantastic thing. Today, I realize why the Lord has brought my family to this country. Everything I have seen in America is a parallel of what I have seen and suffered in the Soviet Union. The government and counties are doing this to your church and I am glad that Pastor Rob (McCoy) has discernment as does President (Donald J.) Trump.

“Each one of you have a specific calling on your lives from the Lord. We know from scriptures so many men and women of God who proceeded us in faith. Through their stories, the Lord is telling us: ‘Do not be afraid.’

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;…when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior (Isaiah 43:1-3). ‘Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage’ (Galatians 5:1). ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

“Pastors (in the Soviet Union) had to present their sermons to the government before they preached.  They had to give a list of attendees and those baptized to the government.   I was born into suffering but you were born into freedom. God has allowed my family to be here today and warn you that we are losing our liberties in America.  God has allowed me to survive; to warn you today. This evil ideology has been adopted in our country. I urge you to stand up against this devil (demonic) ideology.

“During the time of the Iron Curtain, American helped us survive and I know that you fought for us; and prayed for us that God would destroy this empire of evil and He did exactly that and I know a lot of Christians helped me and my family survive. How ironic, that we fled that evil system and today we find that system being adopted in our society. I beg you in the name of God to arise and stand against these false claims of ‘freedom, equality and brotherhood.’ Christians are killed (in communist nations) because they understand there is a higher authority which is God and not the government.

Pastor Joseph Bondarenko and his daughter Vera Chaplin who was his translator

“Today, God has given me four words to deliver to you; my fellow believers in America:

  • Wake Up. 

The church was called to have freedom and liberty—to stand for liberty and fight for liberty. Neither man nor government can take away liberty from human beings because liberty is given by God. This calling to stand is upon pastors and Christian leaders leading God’s people in this country.

“I urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to wake up and be faithful and uncompromising—to stand together in unity; in one accord for the faith of the gospel. America is a unique country in the entire world because the Constitution which protects our liberties and those freedoms gained through so much suffering and loss of lives.

“In this country, we the people, are responsible for the laws passed in this country. We have to stand and fight for freedom; for our kids and the future generation; because our liberties are attacked and in danger.”

  • Stand up to protect the principles and interests of God.

“The time has come to act. This is the time not to be silent. I will not be silent. We are facing danger and freedom lost. We must not be silent today.

“What is ironic is that the false propaganda is so strong and people believe those lies. Will you tell me, has Satan ever been concerned for the health of the people? From the beginning; he is a ‘liar, killer, and destroyer.’

Now today, youth are being brainwashed that socialism is a bright idea. Please do not believe that idea. If we are silent, we will lose the country. I see God giving us only one last chance.

“Daniel, the prophet to the people of God, challenged us to be strong and carry out great exploits. Today, God is commanding us to act.”

  • We have to vote.

“If Christians believe that they better stay out of politics, it is a big mistake. All the laws passed in this country are effecting us, and our children. Not only us, but future generations.

“To my great regret, millions of Christians have decided to be ignorant and do nothing. They don’t vote. They don’t vote for God’s biblical principles. They take this freedom just for granted.

“No, my dear brothers and sisters, please remember we only have about 50 days before election day. Put it in your heart, the urgency to vote. It is important to remember to fight for freedom or there will be no more opportunity—now or never.

“It is with sincerity of heart, I urge you, beg you to vote for Judeo Christian values—for the platform that represents the sanctity of life. You need to vote for those who stand for marriage between a man and a woman and stand for Israel. I am grateful for our President who does take this stand.  I urge you to vote for Christian GOP values.

“I believe, I encourage you that every Christian will wake up in time. Awaken from your sleep. As God says in His word, ‘Get up from you sleep; and God will bless you.’ 

  • Conquer.

For us to be victorious, our victory comes from obedience to God. God is for us and the victor is Him.  But we have to be faithful and obedient. I speak against any spirit of oppression or spirit of fear.  ‘He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’ (Rev. 21:7). We believe the battle is His; and the victory is His. I speak against the spirit of compromise.

“God is for each of us, to wake up, stand up by the power of a mighty God. For victory, we need God’s miracle. I believe that Gpd s going to do this miracle. Those who believe this, stand up. Let me share with you my dream, I believe in November, we will accelerate our victory by praising Him. God bless you. God bless America.”

Evangelist Joseph Bondarenko began the worship service by saying: “I am 83-years old, 62 of my years I served under Soviet Union tyranny—they make false claims of ‘freedom, equality, and brotherhood.’

“Today, I am proud to be an American—the greatest and most unique nation in the world. It is a fantastic thing. Today, I realize why the Lord has brought my family to this country. We are super excited and grateful to be with you today. I have seen your faith in action. Your church inspires us.

“Today, God has blessed me to live my life with my wife Maria, my dear children: Lidia, Vera (translating at all three Godspeak services), Daniel, Anna, and Mariam and their families. You don’t know what happiness I am experiencing right now. Today, I will share what the Lord has done in my life.

“What is really happening today?

“I have come from a country that was persecuting Christians—closing churches and fighting churches. Today, I am standing in this church and the same thing is happening here.

“The country God allowed me to be born in, was a communist country with a socialist Ideology. Socialism was a platform, an imaginary idea of a bright future that was sold by a regime that has no value for human life.  They have totally rejected the existence of God; as well as Christians who dared to teach young people God’s scriptures and principles.

“People heard false propaganda and people were stripped of all types of freedoms: no freedom of speech, of assembly, freedom of press, and there was a strict control over all media. Homeschooling and private schools were not allowed because all education was under control of the government.

“Christians presented a grave threat to the communist government and Christians needed to be annihilated because Christians understood that there was a higher authority which was God and not the government.

“So, in such a very difficult time in our history, I was born (in 1937) a most bloody year in history; especially for Christians because all churches, church buildings, art and statues were destroyed.

“Pastors and church leaders were exiled to Siberia and killed. In the Gulag, thousands were killed and all this was done in the name of a false bright future.

“My father was a pastor and he suffered greatly for his faith. He brought us up (10 children) in the spirit of the Lord and since an early age, I had to choose my path. Should I be faithful to Christ or compromise when I was 24 years of age.

“My choice was pretty much dictated by the Dean of Students. I was given a choice: your career and diploma or faith in God?

“I was active in church and with sharing my faith with students at the university. Since, I never stopped sharing my faith in Christ; a year before my graduation the Dean gave me a choice: ‘Joseph it’s your choice: Choose between your career and God and if you deny God, you will have a bright and promising career.’

“I was given one night to make a decision and the next morning I had to give my answer.  Through this night, I was praying: ‘What should I do?’ Then I heard the words of my Savior from heaven: ‘My son, do not be afraid, I am with you.’ This was the most precious voice, I have heard in my heart and then the Holy Spirit empowered me without fear to stand up before thousands of students and say: ‘I choose God.’

““I remember standing before the auditorium filled with thousands of young and eager cadets. The auditorium became silent. Then everyone started laughing and crying: ‘You are crazy. You’re a fanatic, burying your future.’ They mocked me and I was expelled from the university for choosing God and my dream of become a ship builder and captain has never come true. I was robbed from my career and from the ability to provide for my family in the future. This was a real test for my young faith but the greatest test of my life was yet to come.

“I have served three imprisonments totaling almost 10 years for my faith in Christ because I went against the whole culture, against the whole society. We did not even have one percent chance of winning this prolific battle. But as the suffering increased; the consolation of Christ increased. The church grew in numbers.

“Being just a young pastor, God empowered me to lead the underground Christian movement in the Soviet Union and God gave me the ability to know what to do next. We are not pacifist Christians.  God gave us strength to proclaim the gospel to all people despite oppression.

“Younger people, older people, all the church was united in one battle against the control of the government over the church.  We were marching with the strength of God against tyranny. Some of the religious people and leaders were saying: ‘It is not possible to win. These are you fantasies.’ But, we as a church gathered in the forest, in homes, in apartments; all year-long.

“God has empowered me to encourage other Christians to stand up and do something—to raise our voices for freedom; especially for those who were already in prison for the sake of the gospel. We organized protests to have our voices heard. We were beaten.

“We continued doing these things and sometimes they would listen to us; whether they wanted to or not. We wrote different petitions to our local government and also, we encouraged other churches and other believers to unite in fasting and prayers.

“But despite all this, the oppression escalated and the government and KGB did everything in their power to arrest all pastors and church leaders; especially youth leaders because in doing this, they wanted to silence the church by fear. 

“My first arrest, I was sentenced to eight years of prison and labor campus. People attended my trial who had been brainwashed by propaganda. They hatred me. When I was led away in handcuffs one of the women stepped out of the crowd to spit in my face. ‘You need to be killed,’ she said. The Lord reminded me: ‘For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake’ (Philippians 1:29). 

Joseph Bondarenko then recounted a story of being in prison (off a Romanian island) and God’s intervention when he got sick and no longer able to do an “impossible task.” “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us” (Psalm 124:2-3).

“Once the guards beat me and left me for dead. It took all my efforts to rise up and in a very weak voice to start praying. And that very moment, I felt the physical presence of Jesus next to me. ‘I do not ask you for freedom. I am asking you to heal me that I would not be sick again, so the enemies of the Cross would not laugh at me and say ‘Where is your God?’

“I felt the touch of my Lord, like a fire that went through my body. It was so warm. I was filled with joy and all of a sudden, new strength. I jumped up onto my feet and said: ‘Lord, I am healed. Praise you, Jesus, for what you have done. You are with me.’

“Years have passed and God has allowed me to proclaim the miracles of God in my life. God has allowed me to come here and proclaim His glory and goodness to me. God has done so many miracles in my life. It has strengthened me to move on. I have to tell you as a man and husband, the most difficult thing was to be imprisoned from my wife and children. Not only did I suffer, my family suffered. I also knew that the church suffered alongside me.”

Bondarenko called his wife (of 50 years), Maria, his “jewel” and asked her to briefly share about how she was also interrogated by the KGB: “Because of Christ, we are alive. I was very concerned and I cried before the Lord that all this suffering, all this persecution, all this oppression would not turn my kids from faith in Christ.

Pastor Joseph Bondarenko and his wife Maria

“Today, I rejoice, all my children are Christians and they all serve the Lord. Ladies, wives, moms and grandmothers be assured that God’s promises are always ‘yea and amen.’ God is with us. Praise the Lord.”

Bondarenko says he has forgiven those who imprisoned and beat him and that many have come to know the Lord through his preaching and testimony.

“I am doing what God has asked me to do. I ask each one of you to wake up—to stand up an conquer in the name of our mighty Jesus. Let’s love our God. Let’s love our country.  For our victory we need a miracle. But I believe we will see this miracle in November when we will be celebrating our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Godspeak Calvary service ended with the Bondarenko family singing praises to the Lord in the traditional family custom.

Bondarenko family singing to end the Godspeak Calvary service.

(Editor’s Note: To view the 9 a.m. Godspeak Calvary service watched by 1,822 viewers go to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ExtfXFBggA. To read Joseph Bondarenko’s complete story order his biography: “The KGB’s Most Wanted.”  Evangelist Billy Graham writes the following tribute to Bondarenko: “I thank God for the story of Joseph’s life and I consider it my honor to have been his co-worker on Christ’s field in those historic days in Moscow.”)


Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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Ron Kirk

Amen.

None of us our good at anything worthwhile without investing in knowledge and skill. We must relearn the tools of godly relational government and economics–basically all of life–including handling the reins of civil government.

Jesus Christ is Lord of all. His means are peaceful and just, not revolutionary. But we must be active.