“Daily life is heavy,” says Anatoliy the Deputy General Secretary of Bible Society Ukraine. “You feel so tired. I haven’t slept the whole night through for five months. I’m talking on behalf of millions. There are funerals every day. Every day we know someone who knows someone who has been killed. 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 to us.”
Bible Society staff are working with all their might, despite the inevitable risk to their lives, to maintain Bible work as their nation goes through one of the darkest times in its history. Staff have been forced to leave their homes and shelter in bomb shelters; volunteers have been helping to man Bible Society offices and warehouses.
Anatoliy explained early in the conflict,
“It is not about heroism – staying in Kyiv and keeping the Bible House open – but about the message being sent to our partners that we are together, that we support them, and we rely on God.”
Four months later, he adds, “We try to do our best to stand, to stay. Together with churches, we’re doing our best to bring light to the darkness. The darkness is very deep.”
Unity among Christians across the world is crucial at this time. “Other countries have received many Ukrainians,” says Anatoliy. “Our president even mentioned that Christians receive Ukrainian people with Christian love. This is a big testimony – how the world sees we help each other. As I said before, it is light in the darkness.”
Without the strength and support offered by Christians and Bible Societies in other countries, Bible Society Ukraine staff would be adrift. Anatoliy remarks, “I want to express gratefulness for all the support. [The Scriptures] printed for us have been a great blessing – the New Testaments, the Gospels, the Word of Hope book. These have been excellent for people on the move who can’t take much with them.”
“Close to seven million Ukrainians are out of the country. It really helps that we, as a Bible Society, can concentrate on the people here inside the country while our neighbouring Bible Societies are helping those outside.
“We are so grateful to our neighbours for caring for Ukrainian refugees.”
Bible Society Ukraine is experiencing immense pressure but, together with support from around the world, are working to preserve their most valuable resource – their staff who are and will be very much needed by their people as they try to withstand and recover from this tribulation over the years to come.