Ukraine: Life-Changing Broadcasts
I am writing this article on the day the Odessa station went on the air. We are overjoyed and extremely grateful to you for helping us launch this station. We had to overcome several major challenges, from dealing with logistical and technological problems to producing new programs appropriate for Odessa.
But we always felt that you were standing with us, in prayer, and by backing this effort financially.
Also, today the war in eastern Ukraine intensified. In one day alone, in one city alone, where our broadcast is heard, there were 2,300 bomb explosions. An unknown number of people were killed, and the electricity grid was damaged; many are freezing.
Once again we are reminded that God is using FEBC to bring the Good News to people who are desperate for hope, who are afraid for the lives of their children and spouses, and who are crying for help.
I was talking to Alexey, who lives in the war zone. Alexey is a believer, but his father was not a Christian. “My Dad lived through the communist era, and then through the era of lawlessness and corruption, and now this dreadful war,” said Alexey. “It seems like life did everything to exterminate his very ability to believe. Yet as he began listening to your programs, I could see him coming back to life. The day he gave his life to Christ was one of the best days of my life,” said Alexey, shaking my hand – his firm, coal miner’s grip expressing more than words could.
What a privilege it is, friends, to be on this team with you and the Holy Spirit, as we are privileged to deliver hope to thousands of listeners, who are being resurrected to life in the midst of dying.
We also receive multiple testimonies from military officers, thanking us for our programs. One colonel told our director in eastern Ukraine, “We need your programs for two reasons – you are not political, and there is something…unexplainable about your broadcasts; your words bring hope to our soldiers.” This hardened military commander struggled to find words that would adequately describe the power of the Gospel.
Friends, I have one request: please spend at least a few minutes in prayer concerning our Ukrainian listeners who do not know Christ. Pray that the Holy Spirit will open their hearts to the Good News. Growing up in a godless environment, the vast majority of our listeners were never prayed for by anybody. Thank you.
Victor Akhterov, Director of FEBC Russian Ministries
Your opportunity to participate: $7,900 is needed to purchase additional equipment for our Kiev and Odessa studios.
God’s Calling to Join FEBC
Rev. Ulanbek Karypov
I grew up in the final years of the former Soviet Union in Kyrgyzstan. I was a teenager when Communist ideology became unpopular. Traditionally, Kyrgyz people are Muslims. However, my parents and most of my friends were not interested in religion. But that didn’t stop me; I had spiritual questions that demanded answers. Being Kyrgyz, I thought I needed to study Islam, by reading the Quran, praying, and propagating Islam to my countrymen. I wanted to get in touch with the supernatural and find purpose in life. I became “religious.”
An elderly Kyrgyz lady once told me that the only way to true salvation was through Isa (Jesus Christ). Isa forgives our sins and provides eternal life, she said. Only Isa has power over life and death. He died for us and rose again. I was convinced and I accepted Jesus as my Savior. Indeed, that was my spiritual birth.
Ever since I was young, God wired me with an audacious personality and it often got me into trouble. As a young follower of Christ, I became very outspoken about my faith. With like-minded friends we preached the Gospel and launched fellowship groups in Bishkek and other parts of Kyrgyzstan. And yet, I always felt ineffective; reaching a few, but not bringing a more significant transformation to my country. There were so many problems with my people: marital discord, alcoholism, drug abuse, abortion, domestic abuse, and much more. I was eager to make a difference. But how?
Then I thought of the power of mass media. I became a TV talk-show host, and then the head of national television in Kyrgyzstan. Unfortunately, my political and moral stands differed from those held by government officials. I was forced to leave.
In hindsight, I now see that all of this was in preparation for my involvement with FEBC in Kyrgyzstan. The meeting with Rudi Wiens in Bishkek in 2011 was divine intervention. We started our first FM station in Bishkek in May 2012, then our Issyk-Kul station in 2015, and in 2016, a third station in Toktogul. Our FM network is growing. Currently, we cover about 1/3 of Kyrgyzstan’s population via FM radio, the entire country via satellite, and all Kyrgyz-speaking people worldwide via Internet. Our programs are family-oriented, thus giving us great opportunities to share the Gospel with the people of Kyrgyzstan.
In Russia, the evangelical movement is undergoing a difficult time. The consequences of the anti-missionary law are staggering, from court-mandated confiscation of Bibles to criminal persecution of Christian rehab center leaders. Missionaries have been cast out of the country. Anti-evangelical propaganda on state TV has never been harsher.
The church, however, is not giving up. Evangelistic efforts continue, and Christians are doing everything they can to protect their right to share their faith.
FEBC is doubling their efforts to share the Good News with the people of Russia. Our goal is not to simply broadcast, but pay attention to the numbers, and engage as many non-Christian listeners as we can.
In the past 12 months, we reached more than 4 million people through our social network initiative. Almost 300,000 people downloaded our programs. 1.5 million people listened to us on our new online platforms. Overall, more than 3 million people listened to our programs.
The most important statistic for me, however, is the number of responses. Not simply “likes” – there are millions of those – but phone calls and messages where people shared their pain, told us about their newfound faith and opened up about their fears. Here are some of those responses.
“Here in our Siberian cities there are very few evangelical Christians. That’s why I tell all my non-Christian friends to listen to FEBC broadcasts. There are more than a dozen people to whom I talk to about your programs.” – Elena, 33
“I never knew anything about Jesus until I began listening to your programs. I got hooked. As far as I know, no one in my school knows anything about God, let alone have experienced God the way I have by listening to your programs online.” – Semyon, 16
“When my daughter was born, I began thinking about the meaning of life. It was then that I discovered your programs and began thinking about God. You taught me how to pray to Him, showed me to trust Him even though I am just making baby steps in my faith journey.” – Anton, 31
“Yesterday I was baptized in our church. As we were celebrating our commitment to Christ, having dinner with friends, I was thinking how wonderful the plan of God was for my life. He stirred someone’s heart to create a Christian radio station, He inspired people to finance it, and eventually I became a listener, one of many thousands. I only hope that I can become a part of His plan to save someone else.” – Zhanna, 41
Friends, in the past 12 months, we received more than 600,000 such responses. Real individuals stand behind those numbers. We praise God for every person who was moved to call or write us. Please pray that God will save them.
Your opportunity to participate: $12,500 is needed to hire two people who will help multiply our listening audience in Russia and Ukraine.
LISTENERS RESPOND TO FAMILY PROGRAMS
FEBC-Russia’s flagship family program is broadcast every day. We tackle family issues with practitioners who share their experience and Bible principles for building strong families. Here are some of the responses from our listeners; most of them know very little about Jesus:
“I am 22 years old. We were married a year and a half ago, and today there is no love between us. I am not blaming my husband for everything; I also made a lot of mistakes. I think the problem is that we are completely incompatible. As a result, I feel like I am imprisoned in this family.
“I am frightened by the thought of divorce, but I don’t love my husband. Everyone says that I am still young and I can build a new family with someone else. My problem is that I don’t know how to build a family. I began listening to FEBC just recently, and you seem to be the only source of thoughtful information about family life.
“As I listen to you, I realize that I need to change a lot in my life to move forward, and one of the things I need to change is to start thinking about God. Before I began listening to you, I never prayed to God. Maybe this is the root of my problem?”
The lack of meaningful or Bible-based material for family life is a serious problem in Russia. FEBC is helping thousands of families by providing Christ-centered practical information to listeners, most of whom are not familiar with the Bible.
When you talked about long-term caretakers, about burnout, about the way we can share the load with others and with God, I was sitting by the radio crying. For years we’ve been taking care of our daughter, and it feels like no one understands. Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear friends!”
FEBC has the only weekly program in the country that helps parents deal with their special needs children. The host of the program, Igor, is a Bible teacher and a father of a child with special needs.
“My husband has been abusing me for a long time, but he never hit me hard. Last month, he lost control and beat me as though I was his worst enemy. The worst thing was that our children saw how he hit me. Lying on the floor, in tears and in blood, I met my daughter’s eyes—I never felt more humiliated and powerless.
“We moved out for a couple of weeks, and now my husband says that we should move back together and things will be different. I am terrified of him. And I am afraid to divorce him as well. Most of all, I don’t know how to be with my daughter; how do I explain to her what happened?
In one of your recent programs you talked about abuse, and how to deal with it. Please, help me make the right decision.”
While true statistics are difficult to find, by most conservative estimates, Russian women are killed at home four times more often than women in North America. Millions suffer from daily physical abuse. While this is a multi-faceted problem, we at FEBC are helping to solve the main issue, leading men and women to Christ.
Victor P. Akhterov
FEBC Russia & Ukraine