Light in the darkness: an update from Ukraine

Daily life in Ukraine is “heavy”, and “the darkness is very deep”.

This is the recent response given by Deputy General Secretary of the Ukrainian Bible Society, Anatoliy Raychynets, when asked what daily life is like in Ukraine now. Here he shares how the Bible Society and churches are doing their best to bring light into this darkness.

What is daily life like in Ukraine now?

Daily life is heavy. 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.

If you walk out of the Bible Society, just around the corner, you will meet people of 60 or 70 years old, or younger people, who are drunk or who have a mental illness, speaking loudly. Every day this is more and more.

You can’t plan anything. Last week we travelled to troubled urban areas in the east to evacuate women and kids. We had a plan but we had to change it five times. We arrived in Kyiv 27 hours later than planned.

Together with churches, we’re doing our best to bring light to the darkness.

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. Huge problems are becoming more and more visible. There are now almost 14 million internally displaced people and every day we receive calls from churches who have groups of refugees from many cities. They need food, medical care and so on.

Other countries have also received many Ukrainians. 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.

I want to express gratefulness for all the support. Donations of Bibles from Bible Societies around the world have been a great blessing – the New Testaments, the Gospels. These have been excellent for people on the move who can’t take much with them. But there is still a great need for New Testaments and Bibles. Our team in east Ukraine say they have been giving Russian Bibles to Russian soldiers and many of them are accepting them, and the warehouse is now empty of Russian Bibles.

Tell us about the Trauma Healing program in Ukraine

The Trauma Healing program run by the Bible Society is the champion now in our ministry. This has also become very popular among Orthodox churches. The Greek Catholic Church has asked us to run this training three times for their priests. And every week, our teams have different Trauma Healing training sessions in different places in Ukraine.

This Sunday, they will begin a children’s Trauma Healing program for the first time. Not for facilitators, but for kids. We will transport around 75 kids from Hluhkiv, Sumy, which was occupied but is now back under Ukrainian control, to Transcarpathia for a one-week Trauma Healing program. These kids are 10-14 years old. Many have lost their parents and other relatives.

What is your number one request?

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.

We get a lot of feedback from thousands of people who are there. I just had a conversation with people in Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and they are receiving Bibles from the Bible Societies there. It is a great blessing. If I can ask colleagues to continue to help those who are helping refugees – churches and individuals – to have the Word of God, that would be a big help to Ukrainian Bible Society. We are handing out contacts of the neighbouring Bible Societies to ensure people are getting help.

Go here to learn how you can donate to Bible Society Australia’s emergency response for Ukraine.


Some prayer points to help

Anatoliy Raychynets provided the following prayer points in a previous interview with Eternity. Please continue to pray:


  • Pray that God will give wisdom to those people who are key people and diplomats so they are able to connect with the hearts of all involved – on both the Russian and Ukrainian side
  • Pray for the many people who are suffering still in Ukraine and for people who have been evacuated to other countries. Pray for those who have lost loved ones in the attacks so far.
  • Pray for us at the Ukrainian Bible Society, that our project to share the hope of the gospel will reach them and we will be able to continue the work.
    And of course, we need prayer support as Christians, so that, as a church, we will remain a shining light, lighting the darkness in our current situation. That we are brave enough to stay at our work and stay with the people, and let the Holy Spirit guide us.