Updates from Ukraine.
As the dreadful war goes on, we will share updates and prayer points regularly. Our Facebook page carries more news and stories.
Update: 21st June, 2022
Meet Irina Nesterenko.
Irina is an FEBC broadcaster and trauma specialist (above left). She has been part of our team, alongside Eugene Goltsov, counselling soldiers and their families for some years. The programme “Wounded by the War” has helped thousands of people cope with anxiety and grief. It has saved numerous marriages, and rescued many from suicide.
Irina has helped expand FEBC’s prayer helpline to now include online counselling via mobile devices. This is very helpful allowing people to write and message for help, prayer and counselling. Many Ukrainians have fled their homes and don’t have the opportunity to speak on the phone privately. One listener wrote “I am on a full train right now…” Online counselling allows people to make contact from anywhere including trains, buses, bomb shelters, and crowded homes.
The picture of the women above is from a seminar Irina held in Eastern Ukraine. The third picture is Irina’s own apartment that was destroyed by a bomb. Thankfully she was not in the building at the time. With these things in mind please would you join us in praying for Ukraine:
- For Irina’s safety and wellbeing. For her family, friends and loved-ones, many of whom are fighting to defend Ukraine.
- For hiring and training additional counsellors. The needs are great. People need someone to listen to them, and they need genuine hope-filled advice as they feel the trauma of the war.
- For the development of the online counselling facility. That it would be easy to use, and very accessible for listeners.
- For God’s help for the counsellors who hear from hundreds of hurting people everyday. Many are very open to hear about God’s way for people and the hope of salvation promised in Jesus Christ.
- For an end to the war.
Thank you for your prayers and support.
Update: 9th June, 2022
Some immediate request for prayer are here (and most of the previous points below are still valid):
- for our stations in the east under attack. We also have emergency back-up / portable stations able to set up and cover cities when the main station is attacked.
- for staff faith and morale as they face a constantly changing crisis situation – dangerous, safe, dangerous, safe…
- The cost of living is around three times what it was pre-invasion. Your support is helping to keep our teams supplied and available for ministry. Thank you.
- for our new station in Zaporizhzhia. For its wide popularity and new listeners, and thousands of people taking refuge from Mariupol. May many find comfort and hope in the programmes.
- for Kyiv and our team trying to re-establish our main studio and outreach centre there. For protection and wisdom to know how to proceed with living and working arrangements.
- for programme content as the war continues. What do people need to hear? How can we support grieving and anxious families?
- for the many thousands of listeners who call our freephone counselling phone line every week. That they would find peace and hope in turning to Jesus Christ, and trusting him like never before.
- for faith and hope for hundreds of thousands of listeners who have no job, income or perhaps no home, to return to after the crisis. May our biblical programmes about Jesus and his promises be powerfully helpful for all who hear.
Update: 23rd May, 2022
Attacked, but back on-air in the East!
In spite of Russian shelling and a new offensive against the Eastern region, all people in the area can still hear the good news of Jesus Christ on FEBC!
The recent bombardment in the Donbas region saw several FEBC stations off air by Sunday 22nd May, but we are very grateful to report that broadcasts are once again covering the east! Repairs were made on our station in the city of Pokrovst, and the blue circle on the map below shows the approximate coverage zone of several stations. Thank you for your prayers and support. Please pray for these stations specifically, for their endurance, strong signals, and powerful delivery of the gospel. Remember, everyone in the area can get a radio signal: civilians, soldiers, refugees, children, everyone.
Your prayers and support are keeping broadcasts on-air, broadcasters in their ministries, and thousands of listeners inspired. These are the stations in the east that need our prayers:
Donetsk region – 105.5 FM
Slavyansk/Kramatorsk/Druzhkivka/Konstantynivka – 87.5 FM
Pokrovsk – 103.7 FM
Rare smiles as new programmes for kids begin in Ukraine.
Children in Ukraine are impacted by the war in unique ways. They experience fear and confusion when explosions rock their cities and the adults they look to are shaken. This is why FEBC Ukraine is producing new programmes to help the little ones smile and think about the God who loves them and understands their situations.
‘Yvgeny the clown’ is a well known Ukrainian actor who is now telling children about Jesus and his great love and care for people everywhere. This photo (above) of the team with Yvgeny in our Kyiv studio, is a rare image of smiling faces in Ukraine. Yvgeny is gifted with an ability to make people smile and laugh, so please pray that the special programmes and events will attract many, and be a source of joy and hope.
New station in Zaporizhzhia grows its influence.
Our new FM station covering the city of Zaporizhzhia is up and running and broadcasting hope to this threatened region (see story below 28/4/22). RadioM 88.8FM went live soon after Easter and our team have been busy promoting the station and distributing radios to those who need them (e.g. refugees from other eastern cities).
Currently this station is a broadcast link, relaying the main signal from Kyiv or Chernivsty. FEBC Ukraine has plans to build a local studio for local programme production one day. Right now the priority is promoting the frequency, distributing radios, and strengthening the relationships with local churches who help maintain the station and who receive inquiries and listeners. Please pray for great listenership as people tune-in for the first time. Pray for our volunteer telephone counsellors who are talking with thousands of anxious listeners.
Close to the listeners, close to the issues.
Since the separatist uprising in the Donbas region in 2014, FEBC’s special radio programme ‘Wounded by the War‘ has been counselling and comforting thousands of people. It is especially effective because Eugene visits the soldiers in the field, and the families at home, to understand the real issues they face. Eugene (pictured below) produces and hosts this vital broadcast, and FEBC New Zealand is proud to be a principle supporter.
During the current invasion Eugene is still out engaging with the fighting units, hearing their stories, and inviting them to tune-in to FEBC. Please pray for Eugene’s safety and his insight as he speaks life and hope over hundreds of thousands of wounded people every week.
Update: 28th April, 2022
FEBC Ukraine expands its FM network!
We are thrilled to announce that FEBC Ukraine has started broadcasting on a brand new FM station in Zaporizhzhia city. Now on 88.8FM this expansion comes in the middle of the war, and after much hard work by our faithful team in Ukraine. Many obstacles stood in the way, not the least the Russian invasion. Bureaucratic issues, internet problems, technical problems, many things made getting Zaporizhzhia 88.8FM on-air a huge trial. But thanks to many volunteers, local church friendships, and the grace of God, many thousands of Ukrainians have new access to the compassionate broadcast ministry of FEBC.
Zaporizhzhia is a city in south-eastern Ukraine, normally a 3 hour 15 minute drive from Mariupol. It is the capitol city of the region, and home to approximately 722,000 people. Right now there are many thousands of refugees from further east taking shelter in Zaporizhzhia. Nearby is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, currently occupied by Russian military.
Please pray for the wellbeing and safety of Zaporizhzhia; for the protection of 88.8FM and all the equipment that keeps radio station on-air; for the staff and volunteers who maintain the transmitter and mast; and for the thousands of new listeners to be captivated by God’s love and favour in the broadcasts.
Update: 20th April, 2022.
“Thank you New Zealand” a brief video from FEBC Ukrainian leadership.
Current network status
- Currently we have five FM stations on-air. One destroyed, and one overrun by Russian forces in Luhansk.
- Our online Radio M is operating well.
- Our panned launched of a new FM station (relay) for the city of Zaporizhzhia is imminent. Please pray for the last minute network connections to be made. This new station will have a listening population area of around 700,000 people. (see more in the update below, 25th March 2022)
Listener meetings amidst the chaos.
Amidst the chaos of the bombing, some of our broadcasters are inviting their listeners to meet and talk face to face. Many are responding, carefully. Inna is an FEBC host with a large following of young women. She encourages them constantly and often stays on her phone for hours after a programme shift, talking and praying with listeners via social media platforms.
Inna has held several listener meetings in restaurants and cafes to gather young women together and share their stories. This is a cathartic and healing thing to do, and it lifts the spirits of those who brave the streets to meet. This picture (below left) is Inna meeting in the city of Lviv. She had to travel there from Vinnitsa, and listen carefully for sirens as she drove. One sounded an hour before the meeting, but most people still made it.
Please pray for the lifting of despair and the outpouring of Hope that only the Holy Spirit can give when people turn to each other and turn to God for comfort.
“We came together to eat, chat, talk about God, pray…Inna, FEBC Ukraine programme host.
Please pray for Inna and other broadcasters as they invite listeners to meet, encourage them to trust Jesus, pray and share their own testimonies of hope.
Despair and Hope.
As the war evolves and the bombing continues, our broadcasters share about the roller-coaster of emotions they feel. Air raid sirens and the sound of Russian fighter jets followed by explosions causes people to plunge in and out of despair. A deep and dark anxiety comes over many as they find themselves face to face with destruction and death. But they also testify to the lifting feeling of hope. Hope comes when people experience companionship, fellowship with others, and the knowledge that they are not alone. Radio is offering millions of people the company and voice of friendship that they desperately need.
After evacuating his wife and daughters, Igor now visits the cities and broadcasts news and hope for all. He says “I’ve never seen people so open to the Gospel.”
Please pray for work for his wife Emma, and childcare and schooling for his daughters; for strength and insight for Igor as he helps with many technical issues that arise in the chaos; for faith, hope and love as he and other broadcasters speak to millions of listeners daily.
Update: 1st April, 2022.
Luhansk station captured.
East of the Donetsk region is the Luhansk region, right on the border with Russia. FEBC has been broadcasting here too for years, but regrettably we must report that our station in Luhansk has been taken off air.
Russian soldiers captured the tower we broadcast from this week, and shut down our signal. Sadly this denies thousands of listeners the encouragement they need in this shocking time. Listeners there have long been living in poverty and lawlessness, with little freedom. People are kidnapped, young women are raped. Many churches were closed and have had to meet in secret, and many ministries left the region.
Conditions have only grown worse since the war began. One scared listener recently wrote,
“We have no water for three weeks. Young people are being drafted against their wills—and not only young people.”
This news means that five of our seven FM stations are still on-air broadcasting everyday. Furthermore, our online radio station ‘RADIOM’ continues unhindered bringing the life-giving broadcast to untold listeners on mobile devices wherever they are. You can listen to RADIOM here, or follow them on Facebook here. (these broadcasts are in Ukrainian language only).
Prayer meetings online everyday.
One FEBC broadcaster has been hosting live prayer meetings almost everyday during the war. Inna is visible on the mobile phone in this picture. Many listeners are so appreciative of the broadcasts and prayers they send in pictures of themselves listening. Inna says this:
“People write in with prayer requests, with questions, and sometimes with anger. I read them and answer them as well as I can, and, of course, we pray. Many people continue writing to me after the broadcasts, asking for prayer, asking questions about faith. May God give me the strength to answer all of them.”
You can see Inna in a video she sent to New Zealand FEBC supporters just before the invasion. She is one of many faithful and courageous broadcasters who are keeping programmes and counselling phone lines operating during this war. Watch Inna’s pre-war ‘Thank you’ message here.
Slavyansk, standing strong with the local church.
Slavyansk is a city in the eastern part of Ukraine and has been on the edge of the war since 2014. FEBC continues to broadcast the good news here and bring hope and comfort to many listeners in this vulnerable region of Donetsk.
So far the region has been attacked only by rockets, mostly falling in surrounding areas. However, they are expecting fierce fighting to start any day.
FEBC is working closely with local churches as many live with the anxiety, illness and poverty of this embattled area. The city sign here (right: ‘Slavyansk’) was repainted after the major attack in 2014. If you look closely, you can see that flowers were painted around the holes left from bullets and shrapnel.
This is the city where four FEBC volunteers were martyred in 2014.
Update: 25th March, 2022.
Expanding the FM Network!
Even though the invasion continues and the destruction is heartbreaking, FEBC Ukraine announce they are pressing on with pre-war plans to expand the FM network!
Under the leadership of Eduard Kurylenko (see below), FEBC Ukraine was well underway with plans to establish a new FM relay station in the city of Zaporizhzhia in the centre south of the country, north west of Mariupol. As astonishing as this seems, the team inform us that “we now have most of the permits we need, and we hope to start broadcasting in Zaporizhzhia, on 88.8FM, within the next couple of weeks.”
At the time of writing this update, Zaporizhzhia is relatively safe and functional. Of course we have no idea what will happen tomorrow but the team are working closely with local church leadership who all want this station on-air to bring the comfort and inspiration that only the Word of God can.
The nuclear plant that was attacked earlier in the war is in the neighbouring city of Enerhodar, so please pray for the area’s security and protection.
Eduard Kurylenko is the National Director of FEBC Ukraine. Please pray for him, his wife Nadia, and their four children; for wisdom as he leads the FEBC-Ukraine team through this challenging time; unity and creativity as Eduard brings together broadcasters and counsellors to work together in new ways, both technically and spiritually; for protection from all harm and evil.
The picture above left is Eduard ‘rescuing’ a vital piece of technical equipment that carries all of the old programmes. He had to travel into the eastern part of the country to get this from one of our first stations. The relief is evident on his face.
Sergey teaches from the chaos.
Sergey has been broadcasting from the sites of bombings in Kyiv throughout the crisis. This photo was taken outside the huge mall that was recently destroyed by missiles. His faith and courage are inspiring as he takes the opportunity to reflect on vivid life and death situations. He teaches from scripture and encourages listeners and viewers to believe the biblical promises that, for example, the LORD is with us when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23). Please pray for Sergey and all the on-air team as they reflect on the Word of God, and encourage listeners to put their trust in Jesus Christ.
Update: 18th March, 2022.
The bad news and the good news continue in this dreadful crisis. Our FEBC team have remained in the country and continue to work faithfully and sacrificially to keep the programmes on-air 24/7. They are men and women like us, with families and fears as you would expect. The sirens sound over the cities and towns at all hours of the day and night, and life is a precarious mix of survival and determination to serve the nation and keep hope alive.
Some good news: One of our FM stations that was of-air last week has been restored to broadcast again! FEBC Slavyansk 87.5FM went off air last week after a missile strike damaged something in the infrastructure at the transmitter site. We are very pleased to report that some courageous workers managed to repair the damage and restore this vital signal. Slavyansk is in the east of Ukraine and this was our first in-country station. Praise God the programmes are going out once again to the population in this eastern region. We are now back on six out of seven FM stations across the country.
First casualty: Thankfully he was not killed, but one of our broadcasters was shot this week as he returned to Kyiv in his car. Konstantine had taken a family out of the city for safety, and was attacked by Russian soldiers as he returned. His car was peppered with bullets as the pictures show. Konstantine escaped the attack but suffered shrapnel wounds to his leg. He has had surgery and will be ok. Please pray for him and many others like him, staying and serving the people, but facing serious life-threatening danger.
Konstantine has been serving with FEBC for many years and was instrumental in the establishment of our first station in the country many years ago.
Praying for real people and real miracles of escape. Over the course of this invasion we have introduced you to several of the dear friends who operate the media ministry and have done for years. Please continue to pray earnestly for Eduard, Olesia, Sergey, Eugene, Max, Victor, Inna, Inga, Igor and Emma, and Konstantine to name a few (sometimes you will see different spelling but this is because they are normally written in Ukrainian not English. We will do our best to be consistent). They all have families and friends who need our support. They are all living day to day, air raid to air raid, working hard to stay safe, warm, and fed.
When you support FEBC Ukraine you are helping them …
- to keep the programmes on-air for the nation and share God’s love in the midst of crisis;
- to repair, replace, and improvise with the equipment in temporary studios;
- to provide radios to soldiers, civilians, and sheltering families;
- to keep the telephone counselling service operating 24/7, taking endless calls, praying for and counselling anxious Ukrainians;
- to provide for the basic needs of dozens of FEBC broadcasters and staff who have fled with their families and possibly lost everything.
Latest News from Ukraine: 9th March, 2022.
The FEBC team are still in the country and have spread out from Kyiv to keep the broadcasts on-air and online from various other cities. You can see Olesia in the studio in Chernivtsy by clicking here. Others are connecting with the studio via mobile phones and devices.
The programmes are very popular as people can be informed and encouraged without leaving their shelters. Content includes simply reading the Bible and sharing the realities of God’s Word; wartime survival tips like where to find food & water, the safest hiding places, how to calm children … Listeners are extremely interested in spiritual content and help understanding God and his plan for humankind. Announcers can spend hours on-air explaining and conversing about their Christian lives. Please pray for these testimonies and their impact on the hundreds of thousands of listeners.
The needs. The team ask for prayer for safety and security. The nation is on edge and there are many guns in society. Confusion has shifted to anger for many people. Also, life has become very expensive as petrol and food prices skyrocket. We are supporting the team to broadcast and we will send extra funds shortly for basic living costs as well as broadcasting operational costs. Please use the DONATE buttons on this site to contribute. Thank you.
Latest News from Ukraine: 1st March 2022.
- Six out of seven of our FM stations across the country are still on-air. We believe the station in Shastya is down, as 80% of the town is apparently destroyed!
- We have moved the network control from studios in Kyiv to a studio in Chernivtsy in the west. See video below.
- Our FM network and our online channel RadioM continue to reach many thousands of listeners. Broadcasters are scattered but contributing by mobile and social media.
- Our freephone counselling service is still up and running. Counsellors are spread out but maintaining the vital service. They are receiving 4x the normal call numbers as the demand for help and prayer is non-stop!
- Please prayer for strength and wisdom for our counsellors. Pray for Nina the counsellor group leader. Many callers are women worried about their husbands and sons.
New video uploaded to our YouTube – “FEBC Ukraine – a courageous journey.” Follow Olesia and her family as they escape Slavyansk and drive westward to keep the broadcasts on-air. (click the video link below).
Here are several key points to pray as the invasion continues:
- for an immediate end to the invasion, shelling, violence, and all hostilities;
- for an end to this invasion immediately, and cessation of all hostilities.
- for the broadcasters’ families as they find safety and endeavour to care for their neighbours searching for hope.
- for the broadcast team to stay safe, courageous, and full of faith.
- for the counsellors to find the right words at the right time for every call.
- for listeners everywhere to hear the promises of the presence of God, and to put their trust in Jesus Christ.
- for the leaders in the region to pull back their troops now.
- Pray for PEACE. The Peace of God, beyond the peace of politicians.
The map below is a helpful picture of the multi-ethnic makeup of the nation. Please pray for the different language groups to see each other with mercy and love. They are not traditionally a divided nation, and have lived side by side for decades. The evangelical church in Ukraine has been a faithful, divers community for decades, united under communist persecution until 1990 with ‘freedom of religion.’
Breaking News – Breaking Hearts. [Thursday 24 February, 2022, NZT] As Russian military forces invade Ukraine, our team and the nation are crying out for prayers. While endeavouring to stay safe themselves and protect their families, many of the FEBC broadcasters are doing everything they can to bring news and comfort to their listeners. We are still on air. Our FM stations and our online broadcasting is delivering emergency information and hope to all, as has been the case for the last eight years.
We will post news and prayer requests and videos as they come available. Videos allow us to see the real people behind the conflict. We will not be posting war or disturbing imagery. You can see some of the FEBC broadcasters in the ‘Meet the team’ link below. Please pray for them by name. Please pray for the people, families, churches, pastors, missionaries, radio hosts, innocent children and neighbours.
May God have mercy on the nations
A Compassionate Programme
Ukraine has been suffering an ethnic and territorial crisis in the East since 2013. It has cost untold lives, marriages and homes. Unemployment, alcoholism and hopelessness have led to despair and suicide. But together with FEBC you can rescue soldiers, marriages and families from the dreadful impact of this war.
Our radio programme helps to give a family their dad back, and give a wife her husband back. Known as “Zagartovani” this regular outreach broadcast gives counsel and comfort to anyone and everyone harmed by the awful events of this crisis. It raises issues that face every person in the war zone. Together with psychologists and military chaplains, we help people through the path of social and psychological rehabilitation and return to a peaceful life.
More about Ukraine…
Our special programmes playing across our network of FM stations in Ukraine, bring healing and practical help to soldiers, their families, and others affected by the current military action.
We are so tired of war and politics. Thank you for your wonderful, real, and unique programmes.
You truly share peace with us.
Check out this video from Dr Victor Akhterov in Kiev (posted September 2018).
People are suffering and receive very little psychological and even less spiritual help. The result is hundreds of suicides, broken families, and emotional problems that carry on and hurt people for years.
When I listen to your programme, I listen alone because I don’t want my wife or son to see me crying. No one really understands what I went through when I served, but you do and you give me real hope in God.
FEBC produces special programmes to bring healing and practical help to listeners. Our team are local people and they know the situation on the ground. Meet Eugene Goltsov, the producer and host of the programme (picture below). He and his team are are moved with compassion and have the means to help many people by radio and in person. The broadcasts counsel, advise, empathise and encourage listeners. We connect listeners with local churches. Our team even follow up inquiries by visiting families, and going out to the front lines to where the soldiers are.
One commander said:
I see how effective your visits are. You probably don’t know how many suicides you have prevented through your programmes and your visits. Soldiers are hungry for hope.
Thank you for supporting people Wounded by the War.