Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we were put in contact with Sports Catalyst, an organization with well-established teams throughout Eastern Europe. When the war broke out, Sports Catalyst shifted their focus to serving the people of Ukraine, including transporting refugees to safety in Poland and surrounding countries.
Sports Catalyst requested Digital Bibles for distribution to refugees in the Kraków area, and for Ukrainian soldiers still in Ukraine. Digital Bible Society’s Production Manager, Christopher Weise, traveled to refugee centers in Poland along with a missions team from WoodsEdge Church. The purpose of the trip was to hand-carry these resources to Kraków and assist in any way possible with the distribution. From Kraków, many of the resources would slowly make their way into the Ukraine for soldiers facing battle. Another part of the resources remained in Poland for refugees who have fled the war.
Christopher and the WoodsEdge team visited five refugee centers, housing a total of about 1,200 people. Many of the refugees had been in these centers for three to five months with no real idea of what their future might hold. At many of the centers, the refugees slept in large open rooms lined with cots. All were placed together – men, women, and children – with no privacy, sharing bathrooms and makeshift showers.
As Christopher and the team visited the centers, they met the refugees and engaged in conversations through a translator. They would then invite those they met to a gathering where games and music were played, and where the refugees were given an opportunity to share their stories. At the end of those gatherings, Christopher distributed the Audio and Digital Bibles to the refugees. They were all very grateful to receive them.
One of the stories Christopher encountered was from Oleg, a man who still had shrapnel in his body from an explosion he experienced while in Ukraine. Oleg wore a Ukrainian headband that he said he will not remove until the war ends. Oleg and his friend, Alex, were given Audio Bibles.
At a small church service on a Sunday morning, the day after receiving an Audio Bible, Oleg stood up and began to speak passionately as he proudly held up the Audio Bible he had received. Although Christopher could not understand what Oleg was saying, it was obvious that this man had been blessed by the Audio Bible. After witnessing violence and disaster, he can now listen to God’s Word and find comfort for his soul.
It has been over a year since the onset of the war. We continue to pray for the people of Ukraine and are grateful for the ways God’s Word is strengthening the church. Thank you to all who helped form part of this distribution for the Ukraine. Please continue to pray with us that God would bring peace, redemption, and beauty from ashes.