Home Christian News EXCLUSIVE: American Bible Society Gives Inside Look at Plight of Ukrainian Refugees

EXCLUSIVE: American Bible Society Gives Inside Look at Plight of Ukrainian Refugees

Although the majority of the Polish church leaders we met did not speak Ukrainian, the love they’re demonstrating to these hurting women and children speaks volumes. One leader we met was driving a bus to the border to bring refugees into Poland. Another Christian I met saw an ad on Facebook for a Ukrainian family looking for a place to stay, and without hesitation, he took them in. This beautiful ministry of presence and these humble acts of generosity are breaking down walls in ways that nothing else can. After all, the love of the gospel transcends culture and language; that’s what these churches are sharing!

One church volunteer— Valentin, a Ukrainian Christian who has lived in Poland since 2014 and is now serving with First Baptist Church in Krakow to care for refugees from his home nation—told us, “Lots of organizations are supporting with food [and other resources]. But they can’t give God like we can. We can give Christ through our service. We understand that this mission is the most important.”

Valentin went on to share the following exhortation from him pastor: “Our pastor said, ‘We can pray, we can speak, but also we can do.’”

ChurchLeaders: We heard that prior to the Russian invasion, an increasing number of Ukrainians were trying to find Bibles and that there was a shortage. Is there still a shortage, either inside or outside Ukraine?

Almanzar: Yes, there is still a critical need for Bibles—both inside and outside Ukraine. In the weeks leading up to the invasion, as rumors of war ran through communities and foreign countries told their citizens to evacuate, Ukrainian pastors and priests swarmed the local Bible Society asking for Scripture to distribute.

A stack of Bibles and prayer books in the main sanctuary of the Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Krakow, Poland. Churches in nations around Ukraine are eager to have Bibles and Scripture resources in Ukrainian so that they can effectively minister to the spiritual needs of the millions who have been displaced by war. Image credit: Douglas Nottage, American Bible Society

Once the conflict began, people began turning to God’s Word like never before. Ukrainian Bible Society began deploying the stock they had through church partners and through their own humanitarian efforts—alongside food, water, medicine, and other critical aid.

Partners from around the world through our global ministry network—United Bible Societies—immediately responded by providing financial resources to support this important work. Very soon, we will be out of stock. We are in the process of printing more Scripture resources in Ukrainian—for Ukraine as well as for neighboring countries welcoming refugees like Poland, Hungary, and Romania. These resources include a small Ukrainian Bible, Ukrainian New Testaments, children’s journaling Bibles, and a trauma healing resource for times of crisis called “Beyond Disaster.”

Pastor Konrad, Missions Pastor at Christian Fellowship North in Warsaw, Poland, put it this way, “There are never enough Bibles. It’s never enough. Ninety-nine percent of [refugees] don’t have Bibles when they arrive.”

Ukrainians in crisis need the hope that comes from God’s Word, and they need it now. People interested in learning more and donating to support these efforts can visit AmericanBible.org/UkraineRelief.

ChurchLeaders: How are Bible societies ministering to people on the front lines and meeting the needs of those who are seeking Bibles?

Almanzar: Bible Society leaders continue to be a loving presence in this conflict. Since the war began, Bible Society staff in Ukraine have literally been risking their lives to provide Bibles, Scripture resources, and urgently needed aid to the Ukrainian people. They’re bravely taking Bibles and humanitarian aid into hospitals, bomb shelters, orphanages—often having to stop to take cover as bombs explode nearby. Their presence has been so impactful that the team has been called the “Angels of Kiev” by local residents.

Here is one of the reports from our team on the ground in Ukraine: “We’ve been receiving an unprecedented number of requests from Ukrainian churches begging for Scriptures. We need Bibles for people living close to the frontlines, children and orphans, the elderly, soldiers and their families, displaced people who suffered from previous military attacks. The Ukrainian people are filled with fear that they may lose everything again.”