Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been going on for several months now. During all this time, Ukrainians have been fighting for their right to life every day: helping each other, volunteering, and looking for internal support that would help maintain at least some part of normal life in abnormal conditions. The strongest support in the life of every person is the Lord, and only His unbreakable promises written in the Bible give strength to continue pressing on. Thanks to the Bible for Ukraine project, 40,000 Ukrainians have already received a Bible of their own.
The last batch of 25,000 Bibles was presented to our defenders, their families, and people who were forced to flee their homes to escape the war. Since it was impossible to print such a batch in Ukraine due to Russian aggression, the Bibles were brought from neighboring Poland by the author of the project, Liz Polanco. Chosen by God's providence, the missionary from Puerto Rico traveled thousands of kilometers to fly to Ukraine with her friends Myrtle and Rosie.
Liz, Myrtle, and Rosie hand-distributed Bibles, food, and medicine alongside project volunteers and members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Puerto Ricans served with and for Ukrainians in Kyiv, Bucha, and Sumy. Here are the impressions Liz shared:
"During our trip to Ukraine, we had an experience we will never forget: people who have never seen us, don't know us, and don't even speak our language gave us a lot of love and gratitude! I feel so insignificant, having the great privilege to be among people who have lost everything, and yet they are full of happiness and gratitude because we bring them what they value most: the Bible. I can't believe it!"
Hundreds of people who were neither Adventists nor members of Protestant churches sometimes waited several hours to meet with volunteers of the Bible for Ukraine project.
"We all have Bibles that we do not read, but they do not. These women, children, and men veterans sometimes do not even have homes anymore, but they were waiting for God's Word. They waited and received the Holy Scriptures from us with tears in their eyes … They came to me and the girls to hug [us]. We believe that God's promises are a spiritual shield and protection for people during such difficult trials as war," said Liz.
During their volunteer activities, the church pastors communicate a lot with people, preach, and support Ukrainians in the bombed cities and villages, as well as visit the defenders directly on the frontline.
People are now serving on their own fronts, and Christians are fighting every day, not only against Russian aggression but for the hearts of people who are ready to come to God but have not yet found their way. Together with the Bibles, Ukrainians receive a guide that leads them into the arms of the Lord. And on December 10, in the Sumy region, seven people gave their lives to God through baptism.
"The mission of delivering Bibles to different regions of Ukraine will continue as the Spirit of God continues to guide this work. We pray for the heroes of faith who passionately carry it out!" Liz wrote on her Facebook page.
The original version of this story was posted on the Ukrainian Union Conference Ukraine-language news site.