“War,” sings Edwin Starr, “it’s an enemy to all mankind.” The Russo-Ukrainian war has been raging for more than 15 months. It has wreaked havoc with the global economy and put fear into the hearts of people worldwide.
A Nine-Year Conflict
When you look at Reuters’ statistics of the conflict, which has been going on since February 2014, they paint a dark picture:
- +- 62,000 killed
- +- 60,000 injured
- +-15,000 missing
- +- 17 million displaced
- 140,000+ buildings damaged
- approximately US$411 billion in property damage.
It is easy to lose hope. Yet the Bible tells us that the light cannot be overcome by darkness (John 1:5). Jesus has defeated death (Revelation 1:18). FEBA Ukraine works to spread this good news and its ministry keeps growing.
Two Down, Three Up
In February 2022, FEBA Ukraine had seven radio stations across the country. Two were damaged or captured – one in the Luhansk region, the other in Mar’inka – and many of the staff members had to flee their homes. Instead of giving up, FEBA Ukraine opened three more stations.
The first was in Zaporizhzhia, near the nuclear power plant. “This station receives the most listener response of all our stations,” says Dennis Akhterov, correspondent for FEBA Ukraine. “People are scared of what’s going to happen.” And indeed, on 6 June, the Nova Kakhovka dam collapsed, flooding several towns downstream. Thousands of people had to evacuate urgently, leaving behind most of their belongings. The dam supplies cooling water for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant’s reactor. We pray for the safety of the people and the plant, and for our team at the Zaporizhzhia station, that they will have the wisdom to know how to support listeners.
The second station is in Kyiv, a miracle brought about by the conflict. Says Dennis: “We received [a] temporary licence due to the war … [it] was a long-time dream to have a station there, but it was out of reach.” The station has the potential to reach about 5 million listeners in and around Kyiv.
Now, the FEBA Ukraine team is working to get the third station up and running in Ivano-Frankivsk. They keep the existing stations going with a skeleton staff, because many presenters have left the country. No one is untouched by the violence.
Every member of FEBA Ukraine’s staff has lost someone, be it family, a friend, or a minister. Vadim, a volunteer chaplain from Mykolaivka, who worked with FEBA to distribute radios and counselling contact cards, died late in 2022. These cards provide the details to FEBA Ukraine’s helplines, another part of their ministry that keeps growing.
Sharing the Hope They Have
“We minister from that place where suffering is just next to us,” says Victor Akhterov, Director of FEBA Eurasia. “We hear their voices, we experience their pain as we minister the love of Jesus.” They have started text-based online counselling, which is proving popular with young people, who prefer to share their fears and needs in writing. The phone helpline began with five trained Christian counsellors; now it has more than 30. The need keeps growing, and every day brings heartbreaking stories and difficult questions.
One such call came from a young man named Konstantin, who phoned after his father, brother, and girlfriend had died in a city not far from him.
“I haven’t slept since I heard,” he told counsellors. “I even tried cutting my wrists. I’m all alone.” The rest of his family live elsewhere and he could only contact them once every three days. As FEBA Ukraine’s counsellors told Konstantin about God’s love and taught him to pray, he calmed down, saying, “It’s like I can feel the ground under my feet again.” He was surprised and excited to learn that he could pray to God at any time, in his own words. He thanked the counsellors for helping him. “You’re the only ones who answered my call.”
The Light shines in the darkness. What an awesome God we serve!
You can be a light in someone’s life by following this link: https://febaradio.co.za/donate/