(8 January 1920 - 31 August 2012)
  • Gregory History

    The history of Gregory Kulakoff’s family begins in The Soviet Union. I, Gregory was born in Almata the capital of the Kazakh Republic of the Soviet Union on October 16 1920. My father (Famich Kulakoff) and mother (Tatyana Kulakoff) escaped from the Soviet Union to China the province of Sinkiang in early 1931. My parents already had three children, Gregory, Nikolai and Pelagya. My mother’s maiden name was Chicknaikin. Her father’s name was Roman, my grandfather, and her mothers name was Anastasia, my grandmother. They had had seven children, 2 boys and 5 girls. Three ladies were married and one guy was married. This whole family clan crossed the boarder into Sinkiang, China together.

    In the Soviet Union we (Kulakoff family) lived in a flood plain where we had to carve out a living in a newly formed society called Socialism. There were heavy taxes laid upon the people. Our town was ordered to fill a quota of rabbit skins for the new government. Our region, Nadezdavka, had an island about 1 kilometer by 2 kilometers with a shallow pass to it. To fulfill our quota our town banned together to catch the rabbits. A plan was devised and a hand-to-hand human chain was organized to force the rabbits on the small island. Tins cans, whistles and every form of noise making devise were resurrected to frighten the rabbits on the island. The plan worked and thousands of rabbits were forced on the island. A wider trench was dug and the rabbits were trapped on the island. We caught the rabbits and skinned them to fill our quota for the government. We overfilled the quota and received a prize for the hard work.

    The next quota to fill for the new socialist (communist) government was a high demand for fresh fish. The government taxed out town with an unrealistic amount of fish from the river. Without teaching us to fish or giving us the equipment to catch fish our town was heavenly taxed with fish. Our town, Nadezdavka, gathered to discuss ways to catch fish. By this time my grandfather was in hiding from the Communist government and came to our town. After some time of hiding my grandfather we realized that hiding wasn’t an option and we decided to escape to China across the border from Kazakstan. My grandfather and my father couldn’t get documents to travel beyond their own town. After some hard bargaining my father was able to get documents to travel to Almaty, the capital of Kazakstan. My grandfather made his way to Zarkent a town on the boarder with China and Kazakstan, and my father made his way to Almaty because he had permission to travel for resettlement.

    My father traveled at night by horse and wagon. After several nights on the road and on our third night a soldier to check our travel documents at about 2am stopped us. Upon checking our documents that permitted us to travel to Almaty he said: “You are on the wrong road if you are heading for Almaty.” Our papers revealed that it was the Kulakoff family traveling. The soldier was amused that the traveling family had the same family name as him - Kulakoff. He asked what city they were going towards and told them that they were on the wrong road, which lead to the boarder of China instead of Almaty. However, he told us that if we wanted to take the long way then it was our choice. My father was relieved because the soldier didn’t turn us around and made us trace back to the road for Almaty. The road towards China was my father’s plan. Upon reaching Zarkent we found that our grandfather had arrived there and was waiting for us. We lived in Zarkent for 2 months waiting for the appropriate time to make our escape into China. Times were tense and the boarder city was heavily guarded by soldiers and boarder patrols.

    My father and grandfather made arrangements with a guide to help us cross the boarder into China. That night was dark and the moon wasn’t out. We only took our horses and left everything belonging to us behind for the guide. The secret crossing was complex and terrifying. It was a crossing of life and death. It was daylight when we saw a person and we knew we were in China when the Chinese with the words greeted us: “Hama.” My father mistook them for his own name, which is ‘Fama’ and thought they knew him by name.

    We were not the first Russians to cross into Sinkiang, China and when the guide left us to return to Kazakstan we continued into the town. Word spread that more refugees were coming into town and many greeted us. Some of our relatives were eager to see us and we were happy to see someone we knew.

    A new challenge loomed before us in China. Survival! Jobs were few, money was scarce and no one wanted to employ a refugee from the Soviet Union. Miraculously we survived and rented a place to live. My father contacted malaria and was seriously ill. He wasn’t able to supply for the family and I was the oldest in the family. I knew my responsibility and began to carry the load of leadership.

    The Soviet Union felt the loss of thousands of their hard workers escaping into China. They crossed the border to attack and destroy the traitors who left the motherland. Many refugees joined the Chinese army to help them fend off the Soviet army crossing into China. My father also joined the Chinese army to fight the Soviet and Dungan Army. Because the Russian refugees helped the Chinese army fight some of their enemies the Chinese government gave residency to the multitudes of Russian refugees into China. We were also given land to cultivate and permission to build homes in villages and towns of Savan and Chugoi. This region was watered by several rivers and some small lakes provided all the fishing and hunting a man can dream of. Wildlife was abundant and hunting was thrilling. Fishing and hunting wasn’t sport but a subsistent living.

    Beyond the flood plains were incredible hills of rock salt and hills of black tar. The countryside was covered with sparse trees and shrubs. There was also a dessert beyond the watered flood pains that attracted wild ponies and donkeys. We were given permission to harvest the rock salt and harvest the black tar. Rock salt was priceless in the towns and cities and the tar was used for roads and black top. We all had the same idea of harvesting rock salt and tar for the towns and cities.

    My first wagon of rock salt was exchanged for wheat, rice and other food products to use and save for the long cold winter. Life was interesting but brutal because everything we did was original and had to start form nothing or from scratch.

    I grew up in the town of Chugoi where I lived for 13 years. This town had a church and my parents we believers. I attended the worship services and when I turned 18 years of age I committed my life to Jesus Christ. There were 6 individuals who were baptized that summer.

    In 1944 and 1945 the rumors of World War II was a stimulus for the Uigurs, Kazaks and the Dungans to rise up against the Chinese. The non-Chinese in the province of Sinkiang had an air of arrogance and wanted to be independent of the Chinese influence through culture and language. The Russian refugees were forced to join the Uigurs, Kazaks and the Dungan revolt against the Chinese. The photo of Famich (Fama is in the center of the photo) Kulakoff on his military hose is evidence that he served in the rebellious army fighting the Chinese forces.

    I was about 19 years old, when the Chinese captured our town. All the revolting soldiers fled but the Chinese took everyone who stayed behind in the town as prisoners. My father and his sister were arrested together with myself because I was the oldest son and taken to the town of Savan. Two weeks later my father was taken to another location and some other young people and I were imprisoned in Savan. In a matter of a several weeks there was commotion in the streets. The town was in an uproar and it seemed that the Chinese were evacuating the town. In my prison cell there were 6 people and one of them was a Kazak. One soldier came into our section opened the door and took the Kazak away. I was the only Christian of the 6 individuals and I was asked to pray. I knelt and the others knelt with me and I prayer aloud. About an hour later two soldiers called the 3 youngest men from the group and lead us to an open courtyard and there we saw a dead body. The Kazak was tortured, beaten, shot and left lying in the courtyard. We thought that out turn to be tortured was at hand, however, we were given 3 shovels and told to dig a hole. I suggested that we dig only ONE hole. As we completed the hole in the courtyard we were ordered to bury the Kazak. We dropped him in the hole and covered the grave.

    Upon completing the burial task we found that the soldiers disappeared and the gate was open and no one guarded the gate. Our first thought was to run away but we had chains on our feet and running would be a bad option. The oldest man in our group suggested that we stay in the courtyard and wait. Waiting was difficult knowing that the gates were open and on one was guarding them.

    Minutes later we heard some commotion and noisy people running towards our direction and were surprised to see a group of civilian Chinese kneel before us. They explained to us that they saved our lives requesting amnesty. They pertained and requested that our lives be saved because if we were killed their relatives would hassle the Chinese living in that region the rest of their lives. Our chains were unlocked and we promised to protect the Chinese from other ethnic uprisings in this region. The news of our release spread rapidly and my mother came to take me home. There among the many non-Christian people my mother and I prayed and praised God for my safety and release.

    Because I promised to protect the Chinese they took my oath seriously and I had to join the Chinese army. So I left home to serve in the Chinese military. When we returned to our old dwelling place it was in disarray and disrepair. I spend 3 days with my mother in Savan and helped her clean out the house before our patrol moved out to the battlefields.
    Before I left my mother and I again prayed and committed our ways unto the Lord.

    Of all the young men forced to serve in the military, 12 soldiers were chosen to be scouts behind enemy lines. To my surprise I was among the 12 soldiers. We were equipped with all the necessary firearms and food and sent into the mountains to scout and observe the enemy movements and report back on a regular basis. If heavy equipment was on the move in our direction, it was our duty to set up traps and ambush the convey and destroy it.

    When the city of Manas was under fire and attacked we were commanded to set up decoys and even destroy the plots of the enemy. We located a dry ravine from the mountains and crawled on our bellies in the creek to decoy the enemy. During our strategic move two stray men crossed out path and we knew that no one was to see us or know about us or our moves, and if someone saw us the orders were to destroy the evidence. Our commander of the team ordered me to kill the two men. I refused. He ordered me again and threatened to shoot me on the spot for disobeying his orders. My commander was from the same town as my parents and he knew me and that I was a Christian. By the time we were arguing the two men disappeared. They were scouts from the enemy lines and we had to hide deeper in the mountains because reported our activities to their superiors.

    Upon finding save ground among the trees and other vegetation, the commander gathered us as a team and held a conference as to my future. He felt compassion for me and didn’t want to report my disobedience to his superiors who would have me shot by the firing squad. It was tense moment for everyone and especially for me. I was called many names and teased for my cowardly action but I kept silent. There were many suggestions by the team but the one that seemed to capture everyone’s attention was rather absurd by my standards. They agreed that I become the cook, the dishwasher and keep of the booze (alcohol-vodka) for the soldiers before going into battle and stay away from combat. They knew that I didn’t drink and entrusted their vodka to me. So, I became the cook and the keep of the wagon with food and vodka.

    They were content with the decision and I knew that it was an answer to prayer. I had a wagon with our products, another wagon with ammunition and a spare horse. I was always visible in the distance but never engaged in battle or hand-to-hand combat.
    Battles were never planned but were surprise attacks and decoy plots for the enemy.

    The ethnic uprising was suppressed to a degree, our guerilla team and decoy team was dismissed and I returned home. The town where we lived was in shambles and it was decided that this town should be abandoned and everyone move to new locations. I returned from the army but my father didn’t return. We tried to locate him and were told by some that a group of captured men were killed and thrown into a well. Some claimed that my father was among them. Together with my mother we decided to move to the town of Burtala at the foothills of the mountains. This was a promising town because of mining and opportunities for employment.

    Being the oldest male in the family I was responsible for many details. By this time my sister was married but I still had two brothers, Nickolai and Victor. Many Christians in our town choose Burtala where we decided to move, and I was thrilled that Burtala would have a worship service and Christians.

    The day was appointed for the move and together with the group we packed our wagon, gathered our sheep, cattle, chickens, ducks, geese and dog for a 1 week road trip. The trip was difficult, because we planned one thing and another happens. It was complex to keep the sheep and live stock together as we traveled. After traveling 40 kilometers and as we were passing the village of Dzimpanchik, and I stopped to scout out the place for any possibilities for resettlement. To my surprise, the man I talked to was alarmed that I was taking my family so far away to build ourselves a home.

    He convinced me that Dzimpanchik was the town for my family and many Russian families were resettling to this town. There was a market, a business center and possibilities for progress. The wheat mill was operational and many infrastructures were functional. I listen and the older man made sense. To further convince me he took me to an empty house that I could occupy with my family. The empty house was more than convincing and I decided to settle in Dzimpanchik. The house was functional but as in any house there a multitude of things to repair and prepare for a long, cold winter.

    In a matter of days I became acquainted with the young people and on Sunday, the day of rest, I dressed in my best clothes and went outside on the street and sat on the mud fence. Waiting for something. Then a group of young people came by and stopped to talk. We talked about everything and it was evident that there wasn’t an Evangelical Church in the town. There was an Orthodox priest but no Church, and the young people gathered in the street to chat, laugh and pass the time together.

    The first Sunday was a disappointment for me. After chatting with the young people with my best Sunday clothes there was no place to go, nothing to do, except for the piano accordion player who played and the youth danced in the street. In the evening a house was assigned and the youth went to the barn to smoke, drink, dance and party. I knew what took place in the barn where the animals were released and room was made for the young people. Even before the drinking I heard swearing and knew that evenings with drinking would turn young men against each other. I saw it in the army. The soldiers drank to be brave before battle. The alcohol was home made and there was an endless supply of moonshine.

    That Sunday I refused to go to the house barn dance and came home to tell my mother that this town was a wrong choice for our family because there were no Christian young people. My mother was content in the house and suggested that we spend the winter here and wait and see what will happen. She thought that I was too young to take-on the building of a hose for the whole family. She talked me into staying the winter.

    During the winter I used my horse and wagon to harvest rock salt and sell it on the street. The business was enough to live but nothing more. In the spring I carved out a plot of land to cultivate and plant wheat. Summer was busy and I didn’t have much free time to mingle with the young people. The Lord blessed the harvest and our family was happy. We had food, clothes, livestock and some reserve for the future. I reserved ample supplies for the winter and was very pleased with myself.

    The families that moved on to the new location and started from scratch had many difficulties. Many came to visit us and commented how the Lord had blessed us.

    The second winter was boring because the food was stocked and I had spare time on my hands. The young people continued to meet on the street to chat, yarn and laugh and then move to a barn or house in the evening every Sunday. On Sundays many girls would invite me to just come and visit without drinking. I went once and resisted many temptations. Then I made a habit of going now-and-then for a social evening. On Sundays I would sit on our mud wall and wait for the young people to slowly make their way to my house and then we moved from house to house where there were young people and called them out for a time of dancing, singing and laughing on the street.

    As I was saying I lived in Dzimpanchik in a small town in China. Life was normal in every way and many evenings I sat on the mud wall of our house when the young people gathered for socials during the evenings. Any afternoons a schoolteacher would walk by my home for the evening gatherings and noticed that I was sitting alone on the dirt wall. One day as she was walking by she stopped and sat beside me, talked to me, and insisted that I attend one of the socials where the young people gathered for fun. I agreed and went. The evening was different to my normal evenings. The group had a piano accordion, drinks, singing and dancing. I didn’t drink or dance and wasn’t interested in their life style. I was a new believer in Christ and wanted to live like a Christian. However, the schoolteacher made a habit of stopping at my home and insisted that I attend these parties. There were days I gave in and joined the parties. After heavy drinking many fights among the guys would break out because of girls. I resisted the drinking and one day the schoolteacher invited me to her birthday party. I couldn’t refuse such a kind invitation and went to a birthday party. There she requested that I drink a toast for her birthday and I accepted the invitation and joined the party. After this first drink, she insisted that I always take just one drink at these social events. Then the guys would persuade me to take another and another. I was alone as a Christian and didn’t have moral or social support from other Christians. I began to join in with social drinks and the guys would test my resilliance. One day I was tricked into drinking more than a few drinks and became uncontrollable. Another guy was in my way and I abused him with words and he tuned on me and we had a good fight. The young people watched the spectacle and laughed. Then the schoolteacher with some other girls told me that I just the same as the other guys, who abused, drank and got into fights. The ridiculed me and made fun of me as a Christian.

    That was my turning point in my Christian walk. I knew that Satan tricked me, made fun of me, mocked my faith and took advantage of me. I was ashamed of myself. I came home told my mother about this incident and together we prayed and I confessed all my wrongdoings and never again joined that social group of young people.

    After some serious talks with my mother we decided to move from Dzimpanchik to another town where there were 4 or 5 Christian families and Christian young people. The town was called Melchik. I was told that there were 10 Christian girls and 4 Christian guys. I lived in the town of Dzimpanchik for 3 years and Melchik was the nearest town where a worship service was held. Many families were familiar to me and by now everyone were older by 3 years.

    It was Saturday when I came to Melchik and stayed with the family called Shmakov. To my joy on Sunday they went to a worship service. I had not worshiped for 3 years and my soul was hungry. At the gathering I was met by Christian young people and they were glad to see me. I was asked about my spiritual condition and I told them the truth. They had compassion on me and prayed for me. I was encouraged. That Sunday went back home and longed to fellowship with Christian young people. Some time later my wise mother encouraged me to go and spend Saturday and Sunday in Melchik and attend the worship service. Whole-heartedly I agreed and went for two more days. I enjoyed it immensely. Then a surprise note from Pelageya Kozerov from Melchik was delivered to me. The letter invited me to celebrate Christmas with the youth group. I was overjoyed and eagerly went for the Christmas celebrations and got to know the young people better. I had known Pelagya Kozerov from school but she was much younger than myself and I was completing my education while she was just beginning.

    It was that Christmas 1947 that I privately talked to Pelageya Kozerov and asked she about her plans for the future. Her answer was that one day she would marry and have her own family. Without wasting much time I proposed to her that Christmas and she accepted my proposal.

    Without thinking about anything I ran home to tell my mother that I made a proposal and that she accepted. My mother wanted to know who was the girl and when I told her that it was Pelageya Kozerov, she approved. The girls in our town were from non-Christian homes and Pelageya was from a Christian home. I wasn’t baptized yet nor was Pelageya. However, my mother assured me that to marry a girl from a Christian family was proper and correct. My mother prayed about this situation and assured me that God would answer her prayers and both would be baptized into the body of Christ. Pelageya attended the worship service and knew the Lord and that warmed my heart.

    The following year in 1948 it was Christmas again and I decided to marry Pelageya. I attended all the Christmas celebrations (January 7) and we decided to marry on January 8 after all the Christmas celebrations in the Evangelical Christian Baptist Church of Melchik, China, on the boarder with Kazakstan. I had my horses and sled ready and after the marriage I brought my wife, Pelageya back home to Dzimpanchik to live in the home of my mother and siblings.

    That was a joyous year for me. I worked the fields and the summer flew. The fall (Autumn) of that year was also beautiful because Pelageya was pregnant and we were expecting our first born the end of the year.

    Our joy was complete as on December 16 in 1948 in the town of Dzimpanchik, a son was born into our family and we called him Nicholas.

    The following year (1949) in the spring, our whole family moved from the town of Dzimpanchik to Melchik where my wife came from and where her parents lived. We found a house that suited our needs and bought it and lived in Melchik. Then my wife was pregnant again and the Lord gave us a daughter. We called her Tania and she was born in January of 1950. The Lord blessed us again and another daughter was born to us and we called her Lydia (Elizabeth) and she was born in 1951. The blessings of the Lord were experienced again and we had a son whom we called Volodya (Wally). He was born on October 27, 1952. The Lord blessed and we had another daughter whom we called (Valya) Valerie, and she was born in 1955.

    It was an unsettled year with rumors of genocide and great persecution of individuals who moved from the Soviet Union into China. By this time China became Communist and their relationships with the Soviet Union was eroded and life was becoming unsettled and unpredictable. Many families quietly disappeared or moved and many families sought refuge in large cities. The rumor was to move to Shanghai the huge port city of China. Shanghai was diametrically opposed to where we lived close to the Soviet boarder of Kazakstan.

    When families disappeared or moved, things were done so quietly or mysteriously that an air of ‘darkness’ and doom was on the minds of many. The question on the minds of many was how to reach Shanghai, the port city of China? The town of Melchik became eerie and disturbed and the worship service on Sundays stopped. The only people left in Melchik the autumn of 1953 were my mother, my siblings and the relatives of my wife. Then communism became a reality in our town when all our belongings were confiscated and people were sent to state farms.

    I had to do something because I was the oldest in our family and didn’t want to be moved to a state farm. We packed what we could on our wagon and moved to the city of Kuldzja, which was also the process of hiding from communism. In Kuldzja the Soviet Embassy made great efforts to re-patriot escaped Russians back to the Soviet Union and made unbelievable promises. Some believed and went to the Soviet Union and were never heard from again. My wife’s family (Kozerov) believed the propaganda of the Soviet Union and returned to the Soviet Union. My family (Kulakoff) and my mother’s family (Chiknaikin) didn’t believe the Soviet propaganda and tried to reach Shanghai. Without any documentation or proper papers I packed my Kulakoff family and bribed a truck and driver to take us to Urumchi the capital of Sinkiang where we heard that trains regularly traveled to Shanghai. On our escape route to Urumchi our driver was stopped and the truck searched. We were discovered; all 15 people huddled together, and without documents or identification. The incident stirred some discomfort and the driver was dismissed and we were arrested. The local government didn’t want to fed us and ignored us because were stateless. No place to live, no connections, no relatives and no one to intercede on our behalf we were left to destiny and a miserable existence.

    God filled us with hope and he who works within us to accomplish far more than we can ask or imagine is a God of infinite abundance and grace. By leaving our family alone I saw a ray of hope. Being the most energetic and progressive I had to carve out a living for the small group on their way to Shanghai. My aggressive nature caused me to search for means and ways to get us out of this miserable situation or be forced to die as refugees. Shanghai was a long way from where we were arrested. Slowly and secretly we made our way to Urimchi and I had to act fast. I approached truck drivers, buses and trains but no one could help us because we had no documentation or papers to purchase tickets for our small group. My last chance was the airport of Urimchi. Probably the last opportunity before depression and doom would nestle in our group. The airport strictly refused to assist or help. My creativity began to work and I began to offer some side airport officials something they had not seen – small gold nuggets and gold dust that was hidden in our miserable clothes for moments like this. I caught their attention. Some became interested and they saw my desperate attempt to bribe them. The bate worked and I agreed on a sum and made arrangements for our small group to be at the airport at an appointed time. Through dangerous checkpoints and under the shadow of darkness our small group made it to the air port and I had to add more gold to the bribe before our group boarded the plane for Shanghai. Our wealth was depleted but we were on the plane to Shanghai.

    Upon our arrival we were instructed to the region or the outskirts of the city of Shanghai where the Russian refugees lived. With great joy and filled with hope and a future we hired the ‘rikshi’ to take us to Hungjao road. Our family rented a small place to live on 973/6 Hungjao Road, Shanghai. The Lord’s hand was upon us! The Lord of Hosts did battle for us and our hearts were filled with praise.

    In Shanghai we applied to different embassies for asylum or re-settlement, the USA, Canada and Australia. It was Australia that responded and Canada was accepting stateless people from China. The Chinese government refused to release the stateless people to a foreign government. We had no intermediates or lawyer to represent our case and so the battle for survival continued. Because we believed in a living God we had hope and a future and the Lord of Hosts supplied for our needs in ways the communist government didn’t understand. Communism wanted to eradicate us because we were the traitors of the Soviet Union and maggots of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. We represented the unwanted of the Communist society.

    It took five years before the Chinese Communist Party realized that we were survivors and will continue to survive without documents or identifications of any kind. In 1959 Stalin’s hold on the Soviet Union was wearing down and the Chinese Communist Party broke relationships with the Soviets and there was less pressure for us to return to the Soviet Union.

    In 1959 Moi Tsi Tung of China quarrel with the Soviets and he began to release stateless people from Shanghai to Hong Kong. When we received permission to travel to Hong Kong our hearts were overjoyed because the Lord of Hosts heard our prayers. In 1959 we traveled by train to Hong Kong and my wife was already pregnant. For three months we waited in Hong Kong for the birth of our daughter Nadia. A week after the birth of Nadia we were given permission to board a passenger ship bound for Australia. In Australia a Christian man was our sponsor. They were two brothers, Roy and Merlin Boyle.

    Our passenger ship docked in Sydney Australia. We were met by my brother, Nicholas who arrived in Sydney earlier because we waited for the birth of our daughter Nadia in Hong Kong.

    There was no end to our joy in seeing our relatives in Sydney, Australia, however, that same day in the evening our train bound for Brisbane, Queensland wasn’t waiting for the reunion of relatives. Our final destination in Australia was through Brisbane to Yarwin on the Sun Shine Coast. The trip took 3 days with six children and the train stopped at Yarwin, a town of 30 families. Mr. Boyle, our sponsor was there to meet our train with his small truck. He recognized us and loaded our belongings on the truck and took us another 7 miles outside of the town of Yarwin.

    Mr. Boyle brought us to an old wooden house on top of a small hill. It had a cast iron stove and wood was plentiful. Showed us our water supply where rainwater ran into galvanized tanks on stilts. This was our water supply that surprised us. Mr. Boyle was a kind and generous man. He supplied us with the basics for life and managed to teach us some simple ways of Australian life.

    Mr. Boyle already had a stateless family living with them for several months. The Tutunkoff family, they were related to us because Victor Tutinkoff was married to my sister Pelageya Kulakoff. The next day was time for celebration and a small party. We all knelt down and praised God for bring us out of bondage into a land the flows with milk and honey. The Lord of Hosts brought us through the desserts, seas and angry crowds to a new country where Christians met us and we could freely kneel and pray and praise the Lord of Hosts.

    Mr. Boyle had a farm hand that knew several languages and Russian was one of the languages he spoke. He lived in a shack and did everything around the farm. This man was my translator for Mr. Boyle. Mr. Boyle’s farm was beef cattle with 24,000 acres of land.

    I was instructed to clear some land on the side of a hill for cultivating a fruit tree called Pawpaw. I worked for several days with an ax and a brush whacker but my efforts were insignificant in comparison to the tropical forest of Queensland. Mr. Boyle had compassion on me and hired a bulldozer to clear the side of this hill. The bulldozer cleared it in one day and we waited for the forest to dry so we could burn it.

    My new job was ring-barking gum trees on flat ground. The gum trees took up much of the pasture from the cattle and the grass was battling for survival during the hot dry summers. For three months I earned bread and butter by ring-barking gum trees to provide pasture land for beef cattle.

    About 8 acres of forest was buldozered on the side of the hill and in 3 months it was dry. I burned the dry scrub and cleared the side of the hill to cultivate pawpaws, a tropical fruit. Between the burned logs and derbies I planted small black pawpaw seeds on 8 acres of virgin soil. The Lord bless the sowing of the seeds and with sun, rain and warmth the seeds came up and the trees were thinned after 3 months and when the fruit was evident Mr. Boyle suggested that we purchase a vehicle to help us with the farm needs. A 1-ton Land Rover truck was ordered with 4x4 drive to climb the hills and transport the crop to the railway station in Yarwin for shipping to a canning factory.

    When the pawpaws began to ripen our 1-ton Land Drover truck arrived in Gladstone and we put into motion a scheduled operation of making wooden cases for transporting pawpaws in the Land Drover to the railway station some 7 miles from our home to Yarwin. In 6 months the 1-ton Land Drover Truck was paid off and the Lord blessed the crops and the fruit of the Land. There was great joy in our family as we worked the land that was blessed by the Lord. All our efforts were covered with prayer and the Lord of Hosts cast His shadow of blessing upon everything my hands touched. The land yielded a bumper crop of pawpaws and the rains was on time and the sun shone upon our backs and the fruit of the land was a joy to behold.

    The Lord blessed my family and gave us another daughter, Saraha who was born in the city of Gladstone, Australia. The Lord blessed my wife and myself and we were gifted 5 daughters and 2 sons. All my children were healthy and attended local primary school and them high school. By this time 8 years down the road we already bought our own 25-acre farm which we farmed and grew pawpaws. Nicholas my eldest son went to high school in the city of Gladstone and graduated from grade 12. There was no higher education facilities in Gladstone and our family had to decide whether Nicholas would go to another city to study his desired subject – electronics, or work the farm together with his parents. Then Tania was next to complete high school and wanted to have a skill. Both my wife and I didn’t want our children out of our sights and after much prayer and seeking God’s direction we sold our farm and decided to more to a city where there were young people and a church to attend.

    In 1968 we sold our farm and moved to Sydney where there was a Slavic Baptist Church with 250 members and a good youth group. When we came to Sydney we purchased a 3-bedroom fiber home in Liverpool a Southern suburb of Sydney. Nick, my eldest son found an apprentice job in electronics and studied further at evening school at Sydney Technical Institute and Tania found a secretarial job. My daughter Elizabeth and Valerie attended the Liverpool Girls High School and my Son Wally, attended the Liverpool Boys High School. They all graduated from this Liverpool high school.

    Later because of convenience to the Slavic Baptist Church and the youth group we sold our house in Liverpool on Atkinson Street and moved to Cabramatta where the Baptist Church was located. We found a larger and a better brick home at 12 Curtin Street in Cabramatta on the same street as the Slavic Baptist Church.

    All my children became seriously involved in the Church life and activities of the Church. Nick soon became the youth leader and a talented speaker and preacher in his own circles. He became friends with a Ukrainian girl from the Ukrainian Baptist Church and her name is Luba. My daughter Elizabeth met a young man from Argentina who immigrated to Australia in 1970 in search of a brighter future. He became interested in my daughter Elizabeth and married her in 1971. Nick married Luba Semenitze soon after Elizabeth’s marriage to Alex Holowaty and my house was fast emptying of my children. My first two children married into Ukrainian families. Then Tania was married to Valerie Theakston who comes from a Russian heritage. Then my daughter Valerie married George Sokolowski who came to Australia from Paraguay South America and was talented in music and gifted in playing the harp. Eventually George opened his own business in cabinet making and Valerie joined him as his business manager. My son Wally was studying industrial chemistry and in this third year announced that he wanted to serve the Lord and study in a Bible School. He left for the Slavic Bible Institute in Buenos Aires, Argentina and studied there for three years. After Bible School, Wally went to Quito, Ecuador to gain practical skills in short-wave broadcasting. Then he attended the Institute of Slavic Studies at Wheaton College, Chicago in the USA. After his studies he married a lady, Natasha Shevchenko from Melbourne Australia who comes from a Ukrainian heritage. Then together they visited the Soviet Union after which they were assigned to a short-wave missionary broadcasting facility in Manila, Philippines to broadcast Christian programs to the Soviet Union, an atheistic country. After seven years of missionary broadcasting they were transferred to another short-wave missionary station in Quito, Ecuador. There they worked for 10 years broadcasting into the Soviet Union. My daughter, Nadia studied to become a nurse and then a midwife. She married John Rysko who comes from an Ukrainian/Polish background and I knew his parents from the Slavic Church. John became a wealthy developer and construction worker with his own business. He trained and helped young people to become vital citizens of the land and witnessed to them about the Lord. My youngest daughter, Saraha studied to become a chemist in ecology and an environmentalist. She met a man by the name of Andrew Bryice who is a true Australian and the Lord blessed them with three children. Two boys and a daughter, Elizabeth.

    All my children are believers and love the Lord. God has blessed my family, answered my prayers and they all worship God and walk in the precepts and statues of the Lord. .
    The Lord has blessed my life and I have many grandchildren (28) and many great grandchildren. I am now 83 years old and can say that the Lord has been faithful to me and my children in every way.

    My mother had 4 children, I am the oldest, and I am Gregory, then Nicholas, my sister Pelageya and my youngest brother Victor all immigrated to Australia and they all married and have children. My mother died in 1980 on Thursday, 4 November. Buried in Adelaide, South Australia.
    Uploaded by Walter Kulakoff
    • 10 years ago
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