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Ukraine Update: ‘Fresh Air’ Amid the War Clouds

By TWR Staff
CE Europe, Europe, Global, Russia, Ukraine, turmoil
29 July 2022

Ihor Yaremchuk, rector of Irpin Bible Seminary and a producer of the program Biblical Statement, speaks from the war-ravaged ruins of the seminary. Ihor Yaremchuk, rector of Irpin Biblical Seminary and producer of the program Biblical Statement, speaks from the war-ravaged ruins of the seminary. [image courtesy of TWR Ukraine]

As the war rages on in Ukraine, feedback from our partner’s audience members frequently radiates a spirit that is even more poignant and personal than usual.

Like this recent note from a woman in a province that has suffered multiple missile attacks during the conflict:

“During these dark times, your sermons have become a breath of fresh air! I can actually feel your love and sincerity! My beloved husband, the father of our two kids, is now on his way to the front. … Everything is in God’s hands! Please tell me, what should I do for him spiritually? How to pray? How to bless him and protect him?”

Serving Where God Leads

The woman’s words reflect a new concern facing Ukrainian men and their families as the war drags on through its fifth month. Reports are circulating that the country will have to draft more men into its severely taxed armed forces as they battle gigantic neighbor Russia.

As you may have read in the updates on this page, TWR Ukraine team members have sought to do whatever they could to help their compatriots in this time of greatest need. Ministry director Alex Chmut, for example, was even conscripted to dig ditches early in the war.

Now the men on the team are again praying hard about what vital role they will be tasked with in the weeks ahead. Will they be soldiers sent to the battlefront, where as many as 200 Ukrainian men die each day, or God’s messengers serving on the spiritual front, proclaiming eternal life to a distressed nation under siege?

Responding to Pressing Concerns

Biblical Statement is one of the programs produced by TWR Ukraine that proclaims this good news. One of its producers is Ihor Yaremchuk, who is the rector of Irpin Bible Seminary. Irpin had become something of an evangelical hub before it was taken over by the Russian military and then recaptured by the Ukrainians. Shelling heavily damaged the seminary buildings. 

But Yaremchuk and his collaborators are back planning and producing the program, unsurprisingly with refocused themes in response to the war. The overall format of the program is mostly the same, as a selected Scripture passage is meditated upon. Now, listeners need to hear more commentary about hatred and forgiveness, relevant events from the Old Testament and lessons from the book of Revelation.

“There are some theological questions that have been raised in our program many times, but only now we were able to find some real answers,” Yaremchuk said. “… Nowadays, people absorb words of hope and comfort.”

Biblical Statement, along with TWR Ukraine programs like Roma Camp Moves On and 900 Seconds of Kindness and a full slate of social media content, provide vital ministry to a nation overwhelmed with death and destruction.  

“I am an atheist, but each time I hear you, my heart fills with love and respect for you!” another listener wrote. “May there be as many believers as possible like you! If I ever meet you, I will hug you like my own family and thank you for everything.”

Growing the Audience in Russia, Belarus

TWR contacts on the other side of the conflict, in Russia and its nonfighting ally Belarus, are plowing ahead with their vibrant outreach to millions who need to hear sound Bible teaching. Our European coordinators for ministry to this region says the Belarus team is facing challenges with its computer system, which sorely needs upgrading. The staff is also eager to broaden their reach to connect with even more of the ministry’s potential audience and believe the development of a mobile app will help them realize this goal.

Developing a mobile app is also a priority of our Russian contacts. They already produce plenty of high-quality content, our European coordinators tell us, and such an app will enable them to share this gospel-rich content with currently unreached people.

Join us in praying for the Belarus and Russian teams and for the many other needs in this volatile region.   

Prayer Points
  • As reports circulate suggesting new waves of conscription, ask the Lord to protect our TWR Ukraine team members and preserve the staff needed to continue essential ministry to this distressed nation.
  • Remember believers and nonbelievers struggling to survive and escape the deadly fighting in the Donbas region, where most of the military action has been centered in recent weeks. Pray for their safety and emotional and mental well-being and for their daily needs to be met.
  • Thank the Lord for connecting us with the brothers and sisters who faithfully work to share the gospel with the people of Russia and Belarus. And ask God to bless them with the resources they need to further grow their outreach.
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