Good News in the Trenches

In the heart of conflict, Ukrainian soldiers are finding reminders of a faithful God.

The residents of Ukraine’s eastern border live in the midst of gunfire and sirens. But this nation is no stranger to struggle—for centuries, Europe’s largest nation has faced oppressive regimes and foreign occupation. Today the conflict covers the country’s eastern border, where 1.5 million men, women, and children have been displaced, and 100,000 more live in constant danger. But where hope seems most eclipsed by darkness, the light of the gospel is reaching battle-worn Ukrainians. Armed with In Touch resources, military chaplains are bringing good news to the front lines.

For lonely soldiers under the duress of combat, these uplifting messages have made all the difference.

Torch device

Featuring both a lantern and a flashlight, the In Touch Torch is literally a light when all others go out. When the Torch was first introduced, some members of the Ukrainian military laughed at the concept, unsure about what it could do beyond its illuminating functionality. But with the faithful and diligent instruction of military chaplains, they learned that Torches do much more than shine light on important military documents— each device is loaded with dozens of Dr. Stanley’s sermons and Scripture for personal study, as well as a loudspeaker for corporate teaching, making the messages accessible to as many as 100 people at once.

“This is not a simple light—through this light you can hear about Christ,” explains Volodya, one of the military chaplains. “When you have a big decision, push the first button and you will hear the Word of the Lord.”

And the gospel is reaching some influential ears. Recently, Volodya encountered a high-ranking officer who had received a Torch the previous year. Now the man shares the good news with enthusiasm, attracting the attention of commanders and generals.

“The chaplain goes away, but the Word of God stays with the soldiers.”

—Viktor, a Ukrainian Army chaplain

Ukrainian soldiers examine the In Touch Lightstream device attached to a tree

Volodya, a military chaplain, and Ukrainian soldiers examine a LightStream at their camp.

On the front lines where electricity is scarce and morale can run low, the In Touch LightStream is piercing the darkness. The solar-powered device sends alerts to nearby smart phones, notifying them of an incredible volume of discipleship content—audio, video, and PDFs of sermons and Scripture—available for streaming or download to their personal devices. New soldiers come and go from the outpost every six months, but with the LightStream’s content, they can continue to listen even after they leave.

And for lonely soldiers under the duress of combat without much emotional support, these uplifting messages have made all the difference. Aleks, a colonel, describes the impact of the LightStream on his unit: “The material gives peace of mind to soldiers. They’re able to overcome the stress of the daily routine.” That’s no small gift for these men, many of whom will return to cities and towns that have been forever changed in the path of conflict.

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge.
—Psalm 18:2

Ukrainian soldiers gather around their camp to learn more about the In Touch Messenger

Ukrainian army soldiers gather around the tents at their outpost to learn about the In  Touch Messenger. Each soldier is presented with his or her own device.

In times of increased threat or active combat, Ukrainian soldiers must remain camouflaged, so they can’t use sources of light like flashlights or mobile phones. Smaller than a cellphone, the In Touch Messenger offers comfort and companionship in the darkest places without affecting the soldiers’ duties or giving away their location.

Chaplains often used to distribute print Bibles to the military, but after the troops left they would have to pick up abandoned Bibles off the ground. That never happens with the Messengers. And even after the chaplains leave, the Messenger continues its ministry. Viktor, a chaplain serving the military on the eastern border, shared, “The chaplain goes away, but the Word of God stays with the soldiers. This is a very good, useful, and effective tool that can be used in the army.”

The Word of God is bringing hope and peace to the battlefield. And each day, more people living in conflict zones are turning to the promise of Christ: “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Because of your generous support, Ukrainians on the battlefield are hearing the good news of Jesus Christ. And that means more and more people in conflict zones are experiencing the peace that surpasses all understanding.

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