Report from the Field: Ukraine (October 2023)

NLM Staff Tyler Rhodes (right)
NLM Staff Tyler Rhodes (right)

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, New Life Ministries has printed and delivered a total of 470,000 Ukrainian Bibles to the people of Ukraine. These Bibles are being distributed by our mission partners in and around Ukraine – the Ukrainian Bible Society and New Life Ministries Norway.

In October of this year, our staff visited mission partners distributing Bibles in Ukraine.
We asked our staff member, Tyler Rhodes, who visited Ukraine, to report on the delivery of Bibles and relief supplies to Ukraine. Please read!

Report from the Field: Ukraine

Bible Delivery

From the airport to Ukraine by vanAs I waited outside Rzeszow Airport, I watched as a small fleet of vans with Humanitarian Aid signs on the side drove up and stopped in front of me. This was the start of a 3-day trip into Ukraine. Packed in the vans were warm winter clothes, anti-bacterial liquid, white boards for a school, and New Testaments (27,100 copies in total). I hopped into one of the vans and we took off for the Ukrainian border.

border of ukraineWe reached the border mid-afternoon and were able to get through in a couple hours after declaring the cargo. After getting all five vans cleared through the customs, we made our way to the place where we would drop off the relief goods – a building being built that will be a new church just outside of the city of Lviv.

With 9 Norwegians, 1 American, and 5 Ukrainians, we unloaded everything from the vans into a storage room in the church, passing heavy boxes from one to another in a line from the vans to the storage.

During a brief lull in the unloading, a few from our team was able to hear from one of the Ukrainian church members about their experience so far in using the relief goods to supply other churches and groups in Ukraine.
She recounted a time last year during the winter when the church received a generator and Bibles, and she distinctly remembered the pastor stating, “thank you for the Bibles!” It really emphasized how much the Bible is needed and wanted in Ukraine, even more than something as important as a generator in the winter.

Roman translated mangaThat evening, we were able to have dinner with our host, Pastor Volodja, and his son Roman, who translated the Manga Messiah into Ukrainian. I had the opportunity to give him one of the first copies freshly printed.

The Situation in Ukraine

The next day, the pastor of the church, Pastor Volodja, showed us around in Lviv, a city of over 700,000 people before the war started.
What probably struck me the most about Lviv was how normal life seemed there. Walking around, you would see plenty of people enjoying their day, and even the night before, we saw young people gathered in the public square, dancing and singing. The only physical reminders that this is indeed a country at war seemed to be the large sandbags stacked against buildings that had window wells into the basements of the buildings. This was to help protect people sheltering from missile strikes, as most people who are hurt and killed are usually not from the missiles themselves, but rather the broken pieces falling from the buildings that are hit by the attacks.

Church of the Holy EucharistDuring our brief tour, we visited the Church of the Holy Eucharist in the Old Town of Lviv. There we learned that in the Soviet Union times, the church was changed into a museum of religion and atheism, and they had 1 Bible, which the Soviets declared would be the last Bible in the Soviet Union. We are grateful that that is not at all the reality now, and Ukraine has many Bibles (and needs more!).

One of the last stops we made was a cemetery for the war dead. It was a somber moment as we walked through the large plot of land filled with graves of soldiers from Lviv who died in the fight against Russia’s invasion. As we were leaving, we could see an older lady sitting next to one grave, weeping as she gazed at the picture of her son who had fallen in battle. Pastor Volodja and a few of us asked if we could pray for her and her family and we did. So many people in Ukraine need prayers as they face this unthinkable reality of losing family members this war.

war cemetery

Spiritual and Practical Support

Over the course of this year, in collaboration with our Norway partners, New Life Ministries in Japan has printed and sent nearly half a million Bibles and New Testaments to Ukraine. During our visit, we were able to visit one of the direct recipients of these materials – the Ukrainian Bible Society. At their warehouse in Lviv, we arrived just as they were unloading a truck of Bibles from Japan. It was great to see these in the place they were meant for. From here, they will be shipped all over Ukraine to those who are desperately in need of God’s precious Word.
Members of the Ukrainian Bible Society hold the Bible that just arrived.

Schools in LvivAlthough we were visiting on a Saturday, we had the opportunity to visit a school and meet the Christian principal as well as another believer who is an administrator over all schools in Lviv. We were able to provide them with white boards to use in their school and also gifted them Bibles and some of the first copies of the Manga Messiah in Ukrainian. We were given the opportunity to see how they teach and how they are meeting the needs of their students in the midst of war, with shelter areas arranged also into classrooms so the kids can still learn when they are sheltering during air raid sirens.


testimony in churchOn our last day in Ukraine, I had the privilege to share about New Life Ministries at Pastor Volodja’s church. It was a blessing to share about our work and present them with the Bibles and Manga we had brought.

Right after the service, I was approached by an older gentleman in the church, asking for a copy of the Manga Messiah I had shown. It was a pleasure to be able to give one to him in his heart language. We pray that both the New Testaments we have sent and the Bibles and Manga that will also soon be delivered, will be an immense blessing not only for this church but for so many people across the country of Ukraine.

Before heading back to the border to Poland, we loaded up Pastor Volodja’s van with New Testaments, as the next day he would be taking them to a pastors’ gathering in Kyiv. As I write this report, I have since heard from him that they have sent over 9,000 copies of New Testaments already all over Ukraine, and I received some photos of pastors who had received some of these New Testaments we brought.

Ukrainian people receiving Bibles

A Personal Prayer Request

For me, it was a blessing to see where the Bibles we print go, directly into the hands of those who truly need it. It was encouraging to meet Ukrainian Christian brothers and sisters enduring the reality of war, remaining strong in the Lord. While Lviv is not on the front lines, many people we met know someone who is fighting on the front lines in eastern Ukraine. During our visit, I had a young Ukrainian student named Dan helping to translate for me. As we talked, I learned that his two older brothers are on the front lines, fighting in Bakhmut, an area that has been one of the hottest spots for the war, especially this year. One brother is known to be alive, while the other is currently MIA (missing in action) since March. Needless to say, it is an extremely tough situation.

Photo right: Dan, left: at the church in Lviv

Please pray for Dan and his family – it is truly impossible to understand what they must be going through, yet as fellow believers we know that if one part of the Body is hurting, the whole Body is hurting (1 Corinthians 12:26). As you pray for peace in Ukraine, please remember this brother and his family. His situation is like so many others in this horrible war.

Please continue to pray for Ukraine, over a year and a half since the start of the war, there is still a great need, both physically and spiritually.


Please remember and pray for Ukraine

I am grateful to be able to see that the Bible is actually being delivered to the people of Ukraine. At the same time, I felt the harsh reality that even now, local people are losing their beloved family and friends. We are grateful that we are able to carry out this work through your prayers and support.

New Life Ministries has covered the cost of JPY 26 million, which accounts for 60,000 copies.
The remaining cost needed is JPY 18,756,000(As of November 15th). Bibles have already been shipped, but we are still seeking support for this cost. Please remember us in your prayer and support us financially.


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New Life Ministries is a non-denominational Christian ministry committed to serving the Lord by printing and sending Bibles and Gospel literature to Japan and the rest of the world, in each people group’s heart language.
Beginning in 1954, under the name New Life League, the ministry reached out to children, provided Gospel literature, and did evangelism through radio broadcast.
Later on, the work shifted more to the collection and printing of Gospel literature as the main focus.
Throughout history, there has always been a call for the supply of Bibles, and New Life Ministries has continued to do all that it can to meet the demand. Our purpose is to see Japan changed for Jesus, and that the whole world be filled with His precious Word.

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