In Ukraine, you can live, work and spend your life speaking Ukrainian, but, for many people, only read the Bible in Russian.
This was a huge issue before the events of the past month. But now more than ever Ukrainians need the scriptures to speak to them in their own heart language, not the language they associate with oppression.
We’d been working on a contemporary Ukrainian translation since 2018 – it was due to be released in print this June. In response to the crisis in Ukraine, we managed to push out the electronic version of the New Testament on the app a few months early. We knew that:
a) God’s people in Ukraine would be looking for comfort and courage from his Word at this time.
b) They would struggle to keep hold of any Bibles they had when taking cover, but were likely to keep their phones with them.
c) They would be feeling especially conflicted about reading the Bible’s words of comfort in Russian while Russian bombs dropped overhead.
In the app’s first few weeks, we saw a much bigger uptake of the Ukrainian translation than we’d expected. On our monitoring software, we could see thousands of downloads by refugees entering neighbouring countries, and over 150,000 downloads by people still within Ukraine.
That figure hit us hard. It means that Ukrainian soldiers, families trapped in bomb shelters, and those who don’t know if they’ll survive are desperately pressing into God at this time. It’s very sobering, but we are glad we’ve been able to do this one thing – give them a source of strength through God’s powerful Word in their own heart language.
We can pray with them too – let’s do that today.
To find out more about the translation project for Ukraine, watch this short video:
Can you support our work to get the Bible in Ukrainian to those who need it? visit our giving page