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‘God came to me in the horrors of war’

Author: Bible Society, 21 December 2023

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Tanks are seen near the government-held town of Bakhmut, Ukraine, February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

For more than 600 days, our colleagues in Ukraine have been taking aid, medicine and the Bible to people across the country, and increasingly to areas of fighting. 

Recently, Deputy General Secretary Anatoliy Raychynets returned from a trip to visit troops on the front line in woods outside Bakhmut. They met soldiers who were manning a cannon, but also reading Psalm 91. 

‘We were interrupted by shell explosions,’ said Anatoliy. ‘When I found myself in a trench next to a soldier called Kyrylo, he told me that two weeks ago we had come and given him a Bible.’

Kyrylo told him: ‘I have never been to church, never read the Bible, because I never had one. Here, at the combat positions, in short moments of silence, I started reading prayers from the Book of Psalms, as you advised me back then. 

‘I feel warmth inside me while reading. I have never experienced anything like this in my life. I realised that it was God who came to me, a sinner, at the age of 57. He came here, to the swamp, to the horrors of the war, to find me. Thank you for the Bible. It revived me to a new life, a life with God.’

Then Kyrylo asked Anatoliy to pray with him.

‘A few minutes later, when everything has quieted down, we continued reading Psalm 91. My voice was a bit hoarse because it was -10 in the forest and I was quite cold,’ said Anatoliy.

‘God works in an amazing way. His word is alive and active. Thank you that we have Bibles and are able to give them to people in different circumstances.’

Thanks to your generosity, it has been possible to distribute some 700,000 Bibles across Ukraine since the start of the war. More will be distributed next year. 

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