The Hunters and the Hunted
That same evening one of the Tartu congregation members slipped across the Latvian border and the following morning mailed three copies of the videos to Sweden which arrived safely. Another member did the same thing, slipping across the Russian border and making his way to Pskov. The following morning he also sent a package, but this time to Stan's P.O.Box in Stralsund, Germany which remained there for some months before it was recovered. Other copies of the video were hidden in several locations in Tartu, leaving Stan with two copies - six cassettes in all - to take out of the country.
Early the following morning Stan received a telephone call from Pastor Kuusberg at Elisa's home.
"You won't believe this, Brother Królewiec!" he said. "But a story has appeared in the Meie Sõna newspaper, complete with photos. One of the journalists must have slipped away before the police moved in confiscating cameras and other filming equipment!"
"Really?" exclaimed Stan. "What were the pictures?"
"There is one of you preaching, one of the dead satanists in a pile on the ground, and one of the baptisms," said Pastor Kuusberg excitedly. "He must have slipped back for the baptism!"
"Is this a local paper?" asked Stan.
"No, not at all," said the Pastor even more exicted, "it's a national paper!"
"What's the slant of the story?" asked Stan.
"I'll read it for you," replied Kuusberg.
TEN DROP DEAD DURING TARTU EVANGELISTIC MEETING
Visiting Evangelist Stanisław Królewiec from Lublin, Poland, preached to a crowd of Tartu citizens yesterday evening prior to a mass baptism of nearly one hundred converts dressed in white clothes standing by the River Emajõgi.
Shortly before ending his sermon, the evangelist, who spoke in fluent Estonian, announced that he would expose practicing satanists present in the crowd. Presently, thirteen men and women began screaming and collapsed on the ground, some of them foaming at the mouth, in front of a very shocked crowd.
After raising his hands and commanding the devils to be silent, two women and one man claimed the Christian faith and separated themselves from the others and were led off to join the Christians. The Evangelist then pronounced a curse on those remaining and they all fell down lifeless. An ambulance took the dead bodies away to the infirmary.
Amongst the dead was Police Constable Leonid Tuglas who was off duty, and Dr.Oskar Jüri, a physician from the university medical centre at Maarjamõisa.
Police took statements and confiscated camera and video film as evidence. The Tartu Police Department made no statement but said that one would be issued shortly.
Pastor Juhan Turdinus and Metropolitan Vladimir Smirnov of the Lutheran and Orthodox Churches, respectively, issued a joint statement condemning Evangelist Królewiec as a dangerous occultist and demanded that Pastor Andrus Kuusberg's small house church, the Tartu New Covenant Fellowship, be banned as a menace to society.
Yevgeni Petrov, who has been following the activities of the Kuusberg church since Evangelist Królewiec's arrival in Estonia two weeks ago, claims that members of the sect are able to speak foreign languages supernaturally.
"The Holy Spirit fell upon the meeting place and the members began speaking Russian, English, Finnish, and several other languages which they had never before spoken," claimed Leo Poljans, a member of the TNCF.
"Until this time Evangelist Stanisław Królewiec spoke only in English with the aid of an Estonian translator. Since that day he has preached to us in fluent Estonian."
Several witnesses were able to corroborate the claim, including the writer. Other witnesses claim that his young Finnish wife, who has accompanied him throughout the trip, spoke in fluent Russian during the meeting.
A number of recordings of this event were made, most, if not all, of which are believed to be in the hands of the Tartu Police. The police officer I spoke with later would not confirm or deny the substance of what I have reported.
Pastor Kussberg, elated at the success of the mission, declared that a new dawn had come for Tartu and for Estonia: "The power of Christ has been manifested during the last two weeks the likes of which we have never seen before in our country," he claimed. "A new revival has begun which will challenge the forces of atheism and liberal Christianity."
Others were less enthusiastic. "Estonia has lived through too many extreemisms over the last century," said Aarne Elken, a liberal Tartu city counsellor. "We've been ravaged by nazism and communism for the last 50 years. The last thing we want now is religious nutcases stirring up people into hysteria. Estonia wants and needs peace."
Whatever viewpoints may have been expressed at these extraordinary proceedings, the fact remains: something out of the ordinary has taken place at Tartu, and whether believer or unbeliever, the people who were witnesses will probably never be the same again."
"Mmmm," said Stan, "a typical non-committal report by a journalist but at least he has made it harder for the conspirators to cover it up. There must have been two or three hundred people there and it'll be tough from them to shut all of them up. But we shall see what happens. In the meantime, brother, you must exploit the wave of interest in Christianity and preach for all you're worth."
"It could explode like in New Testament times!" blurted Pastor Kuusberg excitedly.
"I don't think so," said Stan soberly. "We live in an irreligious age like the days of Noah where people are completely numb to spiritual things, and no number of miracles will change them. The rest will follow any religious impulse and won't be interested in the sacrifices required by Christ. No, the important thing, brother, is that some souls will be saved. Hopefully this event can becme the beacon for the elect scattered throughout Estonia and farther afield. Be prepared for a lot of curiosity-seekers, not to mention satanists - though I'm sure they'll think twice before coming now - and be prepared to weed them out before they ask for membership without first ensuring they have received the new birth. You are going to need the spirit of discernment."
Stan and Hanna spent the remaining twenty-four hours of their visit with Elisa and Salme. The police had still not made a statement on the death of the satanists which immediately put Stan and the Fellowship's elders on the alert. That evening several of the homes of the members were broken into and ransacked, obviously in search of the missing videos, though nothing was stolen. Pastor Kuusberg got in contact with the reporter from Meie Sõna and told him what had happened, but though he wrote a report on the break-ins it never appeared in the newspaper. People in high places were turning the screws on.
"I do hope you two realise what you're getting yourselves into if you marry me," said Stan soberly to Elisa and Salme. "I am a man with a price on his head, which means that my own family could become victims of Satanists' attacks too. Are you quite sure this is what you want?"
There was silence in the room for a moment.
"We know," said Salme, and glanced at Elisa. "But whether we married you or not, we'd still be on the devil's hit-list. Remember we're a part of the Fellowship now which looks as though it's not going to be given an easy ride."
Stan nodded both in admiration and appreciation for these two brave women.
"As much as you two are needed here, I want to get you over to Sweden as soon as possible. I do not think I can safely return here again, and I think that leaving Estonia may not be a simple matter either."
Hanna looked frightened.
"What do you mean?" she said. "Do you think they might try something?"
"I have an uneasy feeling," said Stan. "They are desperate for those videos because they identify thirteen satanists, and they in their turn represent links to big shots in the satanic hierarchy. We already know one was a policeman and the other a respected physician. One wonders who some of the others were."
Elisa looked up, as though taking a cue:
"Oh, we know about all of them now," she said, guiltily, knowing she perhaps shopuld have told Stan sooner. "I spoke with Yuri - you know, the first satanist who converted. He's seen the video and recognises all of them!"
Stan's eyes widened. "Do I need to know about any of them before I leave?"
"Maybe," said Elisa continuing. "One of them was a producer from the local TV station..."
"How on earth are they going to keep that concealed?" blurted Stan. "There must have been people at the baptism who recognised them? They can't possibly cover up such a big event?"
Stan looked horrified.
"Surely rumours alone would be enough to get people to ask embarrassing questions. For goodness sake, there were over a hundred witnesses outside the local fellowship! Unless the whole town is controlled by these people - which I find hard to believe - something is bound to happen? You can't just pretend that prominent members of society never existed."
"Oh, such things happened in communist times," remonstrated Elisa, "but not on this sort of scale."
"But Estonia is a democracy now," said Salme, whose head was spinning. "Surely..."
There was a ring on the door, interrupting what Salme was about to say. It was Karl Eichfeld, one of Pastor Kuusberg's counsellors.
"Good evening. Pardon my intrustion but I have some more news," said Karl as he thrust an opened and heavily pencilled newspaper article into Stan's hands.
"The conspirators come up with their story - look here," he said, and began to translate for Stan.
OUTBREAK OF EBOLA KILLS TEN IN TARTU
A pathologist's report on the mysterious death of ten Tartuans two days ago reveals that the victims died of Ebola, a deadly virus which originates in Africa.
Police investigatons have proven that Dr.Oskar Jüri, a physician from the university medical centre at Maarjamõisa, who died in the incident, was involved in research work on the deadily Ebola virus, and that the researcher had obviously been contaminated and spread the disease. All those who died were in some way connected with Dr. Jüri either directy or indirectly.
The medical centre at Maarjamõisa and all who work there has been put under quarantine to ensure that the virus is safely contained. All Tartu residents will be vaccinated within the next fortnight and will receive written notification as to when they should report to their nearest clinic.
Inspector Harald Keres, who is heading the police investigation, issued this statement:
"The Tartu Police Department is now satisfied that the ten victims at the evangelistic meeting died from a deadly disease and not, as has been rumoured, from an alleged supernaturally-inflicted curse."
Karl stopped and looked up angrily. "It's a load of nonsense! You can't vaccinate against Ebola because there is no known cure! And what of the three who miraculously "recovered"?? Do they really think the people will swallow that?"
"Only if the videos aren't made public, then people will begin to question the whole affair," said Stan. "But the police got one copy of each of the three videos that were made, didn't they?"
"Yes," replied Karl, "but they surely found out that they're not originals because of the poor quality, which is why the raid took place. They probably believe that there are six cassettes in all - the three originals and the three they've got. And they probably think you've got them, Brother Królewiec!"
Stan looked grave. "Which means they'll probably search this house at some stage, Elisa. I am worried for you."
Everyone was silent.
"There's no other option. I have to throw them off the scent. If Hanna and I leave this evening, the conspirators are certain to think that I have the originals and leave Elisa's home alone. Hanna, we've got to pack and leave."
"Do you think we're being watched, Stan? What if they're outside right now spying on the house?" she asked, with a quivver in her voice.
"Even more reason to leave now," said Stan insistently.
"Then you'd be putting your wife and yourself in grave danger," said Karl even more insistently. "You can't possibly go by train - you'd be intercepted easily and be made to 'disappear'.
Stan pulled out a map from his briefcase.
"There aren't too many options, are there? Latvia and Russia are the closest, though we've no idea what sort of contacts these conspirators have, do we? We're working in the dark. They're likely one step ahead of us. It's not like the time I left Raj at all ...."
He paused, his head buried in his hands in deep thought. He was mostly worried about Hanna. Leaving Poland had been easier because he had been alone with only his own skin to worry about but now he had a young bride with him. He knew what sort of people the Satanists were, for whom torture and murder were casual things to be perversely enjoyed. And if they had people in high places, it would be a simple matter to conceal two deaths.
The whole Raj operation had seemed simple in comparison but now Stan had no answers. This was not familiar territory to him as Poland had been and he had no allies unknown to the conspirators. The whole of Pastor Kuusberg's fellowship would be under watch.
"What of the four ex-satanists?" asked Stan suddenly, forgetting his own predicament. "They are in great danger because they could explode the whole conspiracy. What has happened to them?"
"Don't worry, Brother Stan, they are in hiding for the present, while we try to figure out the best thing to do for them," said Karl. "It's best you don't know any more ... I'm sure you understand."
Stan nodded. His thoughts returned to his and Hanna's predicament, and he began to wonder whether or not he should take Elisa and Salme with them.
"Elisa - Salme - do you two have passports?" asked Stan.
"I have," replied Elisa. Salme shook her head.
Stan sighed. He could not not take one and not the other. No, they would have to remain for now and he would have to entrust them to the Lord's care. Should he and Hanna split up and try to get back to Sweden by different routes? No, that would make things even more complicated - she was, in any case, too young and would never manage alone.
"Well, friends, we've got to knock our heads together and come up with some quick answers because I am flummoxed," he said, the wrinkling on his forehead betraying the anxiety he felt. "However," he added, his forehead smoothing out, "we have a God who sees and knows all things, who loves us, and will take care of us. There is a solution, only we don't yet se it. We have to go into prayer. In fact, we should have gone into prayer long ago - Andreea would have chastised me if she had been here", and smiled at Hanna, hoping to buoy her up a little.
The five knelt on the floor of the little living room and prayed in turn. By the time they had finished there was a great stillness in the house.
"I believe the Lord has this fully in hand," said Stan calmly and self-assuredly, "and that we are to do nothing more than proceed as if everything was normal. If we behave in a unsetteld way the conspirators will assume that we are vulnerable. We shall go to bed and arise early. Remember, the events of that baptism give us an advantage - I am sure the satanists are running scared. And such people are not courageous. They are, above all, cowards, just like their master."
He turned to Elisa.
"What time is our train to Tallinn leaving?"
"Half-past eleven," came the rapid reply. "But you're not surely planning to be on it, are you?"
"I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. We shall let Yahweh guide us and just see."
He looked at Karl.
"But Karl, maybe you should remain with us tonight, for your own safety?"
Karl shook his head. "Thank you for the concern, brother Stan, but I would feel happier being with my family. You know, we were one of the houses that was broken into, and my wife is extreemly nervous. She didn't even want me to come here tonight."
Stan understood and the two men parted company after warmly embracing each other.
"God speed," said Stan, and acompanied him to his car and made sure he left safely. Though tempted to run back into the house as quickly as possible, he stood his ground to give any possible spies the impression that he did not consider anything to be amiss. He looked up at the night sky and whistled softly as he went back indoors.
Though he wanted to retire, Elisa and and Salme wanted to talk, fearing there might not be time in the morning. All four put their arms around each other and just stood silently for a few minutes.
"It will not be long, my loves," said Stan reassuringly to the two Estonian women. "We must trust in the Lord. I know you would like to talk but I really feel that I need to conserve my energy for what may come tomorrow. Of course, nothing may happen at all. But if it does, then I must be ready. It was not so long ago that I had to make a similar escape from Poland, you know!"
They prayed together again, praising God for all that had been accomplished and entrusting their lives, and those of all the saints in Tartu, to His care before retiring to bed. Stan lay awake for some time while Hanna slept next to him. This had been one of the most extraordinary trips of his life that had not only changed him but also his ministry permanently. He had experienced speaking in tongues for the first time just as it had taken place at the day of Penetcost in Jerusalem nearly two thousand years ago. Though ministering to Satanists was not new to him, the dimension of the opposition this time was of a scale he had not previously experienced. Before he had relied a good deal on his own wits but now he was almost at wit's end.
And he had also garnered two more wives who were of very different dispositions to his other nine, both in temprement and in intellectual abilities. Elisa would provide him with the kind of intellectual stimulation he had often craved and yet she was of undoubted high spiritual capacity too along the lines of Andreea, though less experienced. Salme was another young and inexperienced woman yet possessing both keen acumen, vitality and a special kind of faith in the Lord. What had principally been planned as a trip to teach four women and a small Bible group the truth about patriarchy and polygamy had turned out to be the locus of a new revival and the sudden expansion of the Church by nearly a third, making Estonians the largest single nationality. Nothing would ever be the same again.
But now he was in another predicament. He reflected how not so very long ago he had been lying alone in the empty house at Raj in Poland and completely unaware that he would suddenly be abducted, though he had known he might be in danger. That time he had gotten all of his family to safety. Now he knew he faced danger but this time had a young wife equally in danger as himself and two fiancées whom he would have to leave behind to an unknown immediate future. Though the danger was no less than on the previous occasion, the odds were very definitely stacked against him, as seen from a human point-of-view.
He reviewed in his mind all the dangers which the apostle Paul had found himself in and how the Lord had devivered him from robbers, prison, snake bites, and the like. But even for the illustrious apostle there was a time when there was to be no rescue and in the end his head rolled off a Roman chopping-block. Would this now be the end of Stanisław Królewiec, or would he live to see another day? He had faced invisible enemies before but never until now had they been so menacing and in such great numbers.
He finally drifted off to sleep, placing body and spirit in the care of his Heavenly Father, Yahweh. As he fell asleep scriptures kept drifting in and out of his mind until he was completely unconscious and dreaming. He saw an open Bible and as he zoomed in such that the text became legible, he saw that he was in the Book of Jeremiah, and the twenty-sixth chapter. In his vision his eyes rested on one passage which read: "Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word" (v.3b).
He seemed to rapidly draw back from the Bible and once again the pages began to move as if the wind were blowing them and then suddenly stopped. In an instant he was looking at the nineth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, and some words were heightened in dark black ink: "Go and proclaim the Kingdom of God" (v.60b).
The same thing happened again, only the wind seemed stronger, and now he was in Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, and the fourth chapter. This time the words seemed to shine like gold: "The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power" (v.20). He began to shake, and was about to wake Hanna, when a voice said to him: "No!"
As he shook, his eyes moved down to the next verse in the text which turned a bright red: "What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?" He gave out a cry and then awoke, sweating all over.
"What happened, darling?" whispered Hanna alarmed and fully awake.
"I'm not sure," he said, a bit dazed, relating his dream to her. "I was given four scriptures which not only seemed to be a commission but also a rebuke!" Stan seemed a little frightened.
"A rebuke? What kind of rebuke?" she asked.
"I believe that I am being placed in danger to teach me something important - to show me that I must change the emphasis of my ministry from theology to power. More than that I do not know."
"But there have been all kinds of demonstrations of power since we came to Estonia," insisted Hanna. "Tongues, deliverance, people being struck dead - isn't that power?"
"Yes," confessed Stan, "and look what a hornet's nest it has stirred up. In Poland it was my words that got me into trouble. Here in Estonia it is the supernatural activity of the Lord God of Israel. And with that power the hatred has mounted to what is for me unheard of proportions. I can never go back to my former ministry which seems weak, tame and even useless by comparsion."
"How can you say that after all that's happened?" said Hanna, almost indignantly. "Look at how I've been healed."
"You misunderstand me, sweetheart, I'm not denying that miracles have taken place before, only that they are now to change in scale and impact. This can only mean one thing, my love, and I hope you are prepared for it: now we are walking the path of the first apostles, and the end for almost all of us - as it was for eleven of the twelve - can only be martyrdom."
Hanna gulped and looked even more frightened than she had been before they had retired to bed. "The Lord won't take you from me now, will he?" And she started to sob softly. Stan took her into his arms and held her tightly.
"We live and move only for the Lord, my love, and must be prepared for anything ... "
"But you have responsibility for nine - no, eleven - wives now and a dozen or more children. He can't take you now!" Hanna started crying again.
"Look," said Stan, taking her face into his hands and looking straight into her eyes. "All that we have belongs to Yahweh. This life is but a fleeting thing. We must live and die in His will, whatever that may be. We shall always be together, no matter what happens ..."
"Yes, I know, I know. But what of the little children - your sons and daughters - they all need you. Children need a father. And we haven't had any children yet ... "
"I feel all of these things too, even more so as a polygamist with a large family. But I cannot change my relationship with the Lord on the basis of whether I am single, monogamous or polygamous. I must be willing to lay all on the altar of sacrifice no matter whether I have a hundred wives or none at all. There aren't three different kinds of Christian discipleship - single or married, we are all called to be the same drink offering. Our faith must all be the same. We must not make excuses to withdraw from the fight, for we will always find these."
Hanna did not argue longer for she knew she had no grounds to.
"The Spirit helps us in our weakness"1, said Stan tenderly, and kissed her. "Let us lean on the Spirit."
He lay down and closed his eyes, still holding Hanna's hand. She looked up at the shadows on the ceiling a while, turned over still clutching his hand, and they together drifted off to sleep again. Tomorrow would be another day - Yahweh's day - to protect and guide. And in that she would safetly trust, and be one with her husband.
A dog barked somewhere down the lane but the couple did not hear it. Some chickens started clucking and then went quiet again. The full moon shone brilliantly, casting pale shadows in the room over the sleeping couple above and the two dedicated women in the living room below. All seemed still and quiet. Then a sudden ghust of wind made the leaves on the tree outside the window rustle before dying down again.
Stan once more drifted into sleep, and as the last vestiges of consciousness vanished he heard a voice, strong yet somehow also gentle, echoing as though through a huge canyon, saying:
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel unto every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My Name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover"
End of Volume 2
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