April 15, 1932 - June 8, 2013
LIGONIER - Vladimir Khailo, 81, passed away at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, June 8, 2013, at Elkhart General Hospital.
Vladimir was born April 15, 1932, in the former Soviet Union. He married Maria Khlistun in 1954. She survives.
Vladimir was raised in a Christian family and in 1957 he received Christ as his personal savior, and from that day on he committed his life to the Lord. During the 1960s to the 1980s, Christianity was under attack and the persecution of Christians was severe; the KGB demanded, against the constitution, for the churches to register and to put the Christian people under their control. Vladimir did not want to be registered with the KGB, so he started an independent church in his house. In doing so, he subjected himself to be persecuted for Christ because he knew that Jesus is God, and he is the only way to heaven.
When he saw how the KGB was breaking the constitutional laws and torturing Christians, he decided to write an open letter in 1968 called: "If You Sow the Wind, You Will Reap a Storm," and sent it to governments in 32 countries. In his letter, he warned the Soviet government that because of the unlawful, brutal acts toward Christians and all humanity, God will reveal the truth to the world, and the Soviet Union will fall. When dissident and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov read the open letter, he invited Vladimir to join the Human Rights Watch Organization - in which he fought for freedom of the Christian brethren.
Because Vladimir was in the KGB's way, it falsely accused him of being an American spy and after an unfair trial, sentenced him indefinitely to a psychiatric prison in the town of Dnepropetrovsk in the Ukrainian region. For seven awful years Vladimir was tortured with experimental drugs in one of the strictest psychiatric prisons in the Soviet Union. Throughout it all he maintained his faith, saying: "I have committed my way to the Lord. May his will be done. He alone knows what he has planned for me."
Because Vladimir and his family were well-known to Christian Solidarity International, CSI launched a campaign in Europe and the United States to rescue them. The U.S. Congress and President Ronald Reagan found out about the situation and demanded their freedom. A wave of people around the world wrote petitions to the Soviet authorities demanding freedom for the Khailo family. With special efforts by Republican Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia, Mr. Ernst H. Van Eeghen of the Netherlands, Sarkharov and many others, Vladimir was released from prison in 1987 and allowed by President Mikhail Gorbachev to leave the USSR. The Khailo family was allowed, with greatest exception, to enter the United States of America. This was an act of God.
After coming to America, Vladimir traveled around the world preaching the gospel and witnessing about the persecution of Christians in the USSR. Because of this witnessing, the KGB harassed and threatened Vladimir even in the U.S. After being given an ultimatum, Vladimir refused to make money off of Christian suffering and worked in Flexi Van Leasing, in Cicero, Ill., until the age of 67. Upon retiring, he moved to Ligonier to enjoy his family.
In his transition to heaven, he left his family an example of unwavering faith in Christ. His words in the end were: "" Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:10.
He is survived by his wife; daughters Lydia (Iouri) Petrenko of Wakarusa, Galina (Eugene) Andreyev, Marchella (Igor) Trotsiouk and Esfir (Stanislav) Kolesnitchenko; sons Valentine (Ludmila) Khailo, Anatoliy (Tatiana) Khailo, Vladimir (Tatiana) Khailo, Michael Khailo, Alexandr (Svetlana) Khailo, Joseph (Irina) Khailo, Noah (Lena) Khailo, Ioan Khailo, David (Larisa) Khailo, Jacob (Natasha) Khailo and Daniel (Natalie) Khailo; 46 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by a son, Pavel Khailo.
Friends and family may call from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday, June 10, 2013, at Thompson-Lengacher & Yoder Funeral Home, Wakarusa. The funeral service will be at noon Tuesday, June 11, 2013, at the funeral home. Burial will follow in Olive Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be given to the family. Online condolences may be shared at www.tlyfh.com. His daughter wrote a book, "Subject to Intense Persecution," dedicated in his honor.