In the third volume of his book, Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn tells the story of an evangelist whose name “seems to have been Alexander Sisoiev.” He never published volumes of sermons, was never on television, had no mass rallies. Just as the creed says nothing about the sermons of Jesus but only that He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified and buried, so history says about Sisoiev only that he was an evangelist and that he was shot in the Kengir concentration camp, after spending many years in prison in quiet communion with His Lord. At that time, shooting of the innocent was an everyday occurrence. But this man who “seems to have been Alexander Sisoiev” had been a man apart. Those who looked at him “took knowledge that he had been with Jesus,” though he was “unlearned and ignorant” like Peter and John (Acts 4:13)
The Camp inmates were resigned to the beating and shooting of other prisoners, but when this saint – whose name is not even known for sure – was shot, the whole camp of 2,500 prisoners – among whom were murderers, burglars, thieves, and 500 political prisoners – rebelled. They refused to work and attacked the guards. Their supreme request was that the person responsible for the shooting be punished.
In the end, the Communists quenched the revolt after killing about 700 political prisoners and criminals, who died showing their love and solidarity for a man about we know nothing except that he knew how to maintain his privacy, how to commune in quietness with God, and had an inner prayer closet even in a common prison cell.
Perhaps instead of having conferences about modern evangelization methods it is more important for us to be like the one who “seems to have been Alexander Sisoiev.”