Amid war, the unpredictability of electric power and internet access reveals the importance of radio broadcasts.
As blackouts plunged a TWR Ukraine production studio into darkness, the team quickly lit candles and continued recording.
Amid war, the unpredictability of electric power and internet access reveals the importance of radio broadcasts. So, the team works by headlamps and candlelight when the lights go out. Reaching the lost with the hope of Jesus remains top priority.
TWR, also known as Trans World Radio, reaches the world for Christ through mass media. Although the devastation and heartache of the Ukraine-Russia crisis are unrelenting, listeners continue to find comfort in God’s Word. A reminder from John 12:46 offers hope: “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
The city of Bakhmut has been constantly bombarded with artillery since the war began. At the time of writing, many Ukrainians still live in the city. Alexander Chmut, the TWR Ukraine team director, visited Bakhmut in December 2022 and talked to the residents. He later reported, “People on the front lines are increasingly returning to push-button phones and radios. It makes sense to distribute medium-wave (AM) receivers there.”
A listener named Yulia wrote, “I thank you for teaching about the Word of God. It is like a drop of life-giving water for me in our small village. My radio broke and I was left without spiritual food. If you can help me repair it, I would appreciate it.”
Radio is a relevant technology in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, as it’s often the only source of biblical teaching – especially in the regions affected by the conflict. TWR Ukraine is now distributing radios to the front lines, where people are longing for hope and ready to absorb what they hear.
Alexander and his team have been encouraged by the life of the Apostle Paul, who persevered under trials of all kinds. After 11 months of warfare, Paul’s words hit home in their hearts: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. Therefore, we do not lose heart … For our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9,17).
Presenting biblical truths in interesting and fresh ways keeps listeners engaged. During the month of January, a guest speaker was invited to the studio to record 2 Thessalonians for the project, Studying the Bible Together. Alexander added, “We invite anyone to our studio who is of interest to Ukrainian society today, including chaplains, volunteers and opinion leaders who continue to serve God.”
You Are Mine is a program that has resonated with Ukrainians during the war. Olena works as a producer for the program and reports, “As an author, I am inspired by people’s stories. I record personal stories with tears of admiration.” Olena’s life, like many others, has been turned upside down since the start of the war. In her words, “There were times when I could not pray. I would just take my daughter into my arms, sing Psalm 121, and cry until God’s peace and tranquility filled my heart.” Because of her own experiences over the past 11 months, she knows what subjects will interest her listeners.
Olena has discussed topics such as how to be useful during war, the importance of hugging people who are suffering, and refugees with disabilities. By dealing with difficult topics, the program meets people where they are. Olena’s own life reflects God’s compassion. For example, she knit camo nets for the military when the opportunity arose.
When a team member’s mother was invited to share her story for the program, she talked about her difficult childhood, poverty, and the miracles of God. Ukrainians whose lives have been upended by war are desperate for good news. And that’s exactly what Olena has to offer – the hope of the gospel.
[photo_footer] The TWR Ukraine team has made regular use of headlamps and candles to continue producing Christian content during power outages. / Photo: TWR Ukraine
Changing with the times is exactly what the TWR Ukraine team has done. Whether by candlelight or uninterrupted power supplies, biblical teaching is recorded and shared. And it’s shared in many forms – radio, memory cards, social media, and video to name a few.
One such method is a 24/7 livestream which plays nonstop praise and worship music, with occasional breaks for Scripture teaching and encouragement. Now, Ukrainians all over the world are tuning in.
The video team is also adapting to new challenges. Although winter weather and frequent power outages require skilled technical preparation, the team is staying relevant and creative. This month, they filmed the second episode of Yak vi tam? which is translated How are you there? Set in the city of Poltava, Ukraine, it documents volunteers who fed and housed refugees.
By traveling into battle-scarred areas of east Ukraine, the video team records personal testimonies of God’s work. These stories are like seeds of hope for viewers of the programs.
Pray for our listeners in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. We have ministry contacts in all three countries who are shining the light of Jesus. Visit the website for Trans World Radio to read more about our global ministries.
Jade Alger, writer and communications specialist for TWR Europe and CAMENA. Originally from Tennessee, he now makes his home in Bratislava, Slovakia.