I don’t usually write letters like this. In fact, I don’t usually write to you at all, and many of you probably don’t even know my name. That’s not important, though. What’s more important is the crisis in Ukraine, and that’s why I’m writing.
I’ve been there. I’ve visited many of the landmarks and monuments that you’ve recently seen on the news, and I’ve spent time with the TWR team there. (At our team’s request, their names have been withheld for safety reasons.) I count the time I spent with the TWR Ukraine team as one of the most encouraging experiences I’ve ever had while serving with TWR. One afternoon, nine of us crowded into a room that sat five. For the next few hours, I had the privilege of hearing story after story about how God was using all forms of media – radio, media players, digital media and magazine distribution – as well as small groups to reach both Ukrainians and Russians with the gospel.
I remember a team member sharing a story about “Iryna,” who lived in an area occupied by Russian forces. During the visit, they could hear shells dropping. The TWR staff were nervous, but Iryna was preoccupied with something else entirely. She stopped the conversation and told our team, “Please be quiet while I listen to the programs!” Our medium wave broadcast had just begun. The war raging outside her door was no distraction – her single focus was hearing the teaching of the Word of God!
Friends, you have heard the stories in the news over the past few days, so you know that the people of Ukraine and Russia desperately need your prayers. A producer of Beacon of Hope, a program TWR produces in our studio in Kharkiv, Ukraine, wrote this:
“Pain, pain and again pain. These are the feelings that prevail at the moment. Pain for people who experience confusion, fear and panic when shells explode nearby, windowpanes fly out and you don’t know if a shell will hit your house. Pain for the children who are under incredible stress. Pain for their destroyed city, for their country that is now crying tears of loss, fear and despair…it is a terrifying reality.”
As I write this, Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, has been bombarded for three straight days. Newspapers are reporting that airstrikes have hit residential areas and civilian infrastructure.
But throughout all of this, God is still at work. He’s at work protecting the TWR team that has been scattered across the region. He’s at work keeping TWR’s Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarusian teams united in ministry and prayer. He’s at work encouraging the TWR Ukraine director who has been conscripted to dig trenches. And he’s at work as TWR continues to air programs of hope and peace to this region by high-powered international radio broadcasts, which are the most effective means of communication during a time like this.
When the conflict between Russia and Ukraine first broke out in 2014, a Ukrainian listener wrote to us, saying, “Today, we pray for Ukraine. God is upholding us, comforting us, and the programs of TWR help us a lot during this time.” Those same words are true today, so will you please join us in prayer for the people of Ukraine?
Along with ensuring the safety of our teams, TWR’s primary objective during this international emergency is to continue using high-powered radio to proclaim the message of God’s peace, comfort and love to the people of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Now, more than ever, the people of Ukraine need to hear, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you…” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV).
To help the people of Ukraine and Russia, we’ve established the Ukraine-Russia Crisis Outreach Fund. This fund will allow TWR Canada to share the gospel throughout the crisis and provide biblical resources to support the work of the church as they rebuild.
Ministry during and after a man-made disaster like this is always complicated. It’s unavoidably harder and costlier to support our partners on the ground, to create programming that addresses changing needs, and find additional ways to minister to listeners. As this crisis broke out, TWR Ukraine was finalizing the purchase of an FM station just outside of Kyiv. We’re praying that God will protect that station and allow it to be one of the first local Christian voices back on the air.
As a supporter of TWR Canada, I know you understand the importance of radio and other forms of media during a crisis like this. As you pray for Ukraine and Russia, and those caught in this war, would you please also consider a financial gift to support TWR’s ministry to Ukraine?
Thankful for your partnership,
Director of Ministry Initiatives and Engagement
P.S. We’ve included a prayer card to help remind you to keep our dear Ukrainian and Russian sisters and brothers in prayer. As one of our team members put it recently, “prayer is stronger than missiles!”