Delivery of hope: Bibles arrive in war-torn Ukraine
Some 168,000 Bibles and other scripture-based books have been delivered to communities under fire in Ukraine. The Bibles have been provided by the British and Foreign Bible Society, in the UK, and distributed by the Ukrainian Bible Society
Lorry drivers travelled to printers in Finland, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia to collect Bibles for the war-torn country returning under what has been described as ‘extremely difficult’ conditions.
Bibles have been in increasing demand since the war broke out five months ago. Living surrounded by death has caused people to ask questions about life, said Anatoliy Raychynets, deputy general secretary of the Ukrainian Bible Society.
‘I have personally delivered several thousands of Bibles from hand to hand,’ said Anatoliy. ‘It is light in the darkness.’
Amongst the recent delivery were 34,000 compact Bibles in Ukrainian, 7,000 New Testaments and 57,000 booklets entitled Beyond Disaster which enable people to look at the trauma they’ve experienced through the light of the Bible. *
‘These are excellent for people on the move, who can’t take much with them,’ said Anatoliy. Being able to give away small copies of the Bible is important when 14 million Ukrainians are internally displaced by the war.
Since the war began, the Bible Society of Ukraine has been delivering bread, first aid and copies of the Bible, but stocks soon ran low as demand outstripped supply.
Anatoliy explained how the Bible speaks into daily life.
‘Daily life is heavy,’ he said. ‘You feel so tired. I haven’t slept the whole night through for five months. There are funerals every day. As the weeks go by we are getting used to bad news like this, but we don’t realise how much it is changing us, how much harm it is doing us.
‘Together with churches, we’re doing our best to bring light to the darkness. The darkness is very deep. I want to express gratefulness for all the support.’
The move comes as Bible Society’s appeal for Bibles for Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees topped £1 million.
This has meant that since the war began, some 655,700 Bibles and other scriptures such as New Testaments in Ukrainian and Russian, have been delivered to people fleeing the conflict.
They have so far been delivered to Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, as well as to Ukrainian refugees here in the UK.
Bible Society’s Oldi Morava said, ‘We are incredibly touched by the generosity of our supporters and the unwavering commitment of our colleagues in Ukraine, who have made this delivery of Bibles to the people of Ukraine possible, and in so doing, bring words of hope to people living in unbelievable circumstances.’
Among those to receive Bibles were Andriy and Yana (pictured). The couple have fled the war twice, first from their home in the Donetsk region in 2014, and this year, from their new home in Mariupol, when it came under sustained Russian attack.
Formerly, the family did not have a personal faith. But, their journey of faith began under fire in Mariupol as they queued for food outside a shop. Russian bombs fell just 30 ft. away. ‘Faith started at that point, when God spared all of us,’ says Andriy.
The couple, who have found refuge in Lviv, in western Ukraine, were recently given Bibles by a local church.
‘We try to get busy with work and studying the Bible,’ says Andriy. ‘So, everything that happened to us before, it slowly departs. And the wound in your soul becomes smaller because – and this is how we understand the Bible – we don’t focus on losing our home, we focus on retaining our lives.
‘This is exactly what we are coming to now, that the most important is not the fact that you lost your house, your material belongings, everything. The most important is that we found God and we found good people.’
Images | Bible Society