This testimony is from a member of the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference whose family is currently living in Ukraine. His parents, faithful Seventh-day Adventists, continue to share their faith despite the war going on around them. He wanted to remain anonymous.
Vera and Volodymyr live in a small village in the south of Ukraine, just a bit over 50 miles from the Crimea border –—a peninsula that has been occupied by Russia since 2014. The couple was still young when they discovered the Gospel and joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. From the start, they were a dynamic duo eager to share the joy they had found in Jesus. Vera and Volodymyr were the first missionaries in their village, where they were both born.
For many years, they held church services in their own home. One year they had the opportunity to purchase their neighbor’s property, which they transformed into a house of worship. The church grew to have more than 40 members, and though that number dropped after many people moved to the big cities, their ministry never stopped.
Like many people in the area, Vera and Volodymyr make a living from selling eggs, milk, and a variety of vegetables. A few months before Russia started their invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the couple used their savings to buy copies of The Desire of Ages and The Great Controversy.
It only took a few days for the Russian soldiers to reach their village. Life has changed since then. Soldiers patrol the streets. Roadblocks have been put in place. Tanks and guns are a common sight. Stores are empty and food is rationed. Despite these changes, Vera and Volodymyr’s faith has stayed the same.
In the mornings, the couple milk their cows and take the filled bottles to give out at the center of their village. They do not ask for any money, but just say, “The Lord paid us in advance; just praise His name.”
In the afternoon, Vera and Volodymyr go around the village offering prayer and Bible studies. They walk with their previously purchased copies of The Desire of Ages and The Great Controversy in hand, ready to share it with whoever needs it. Like when they first began, the missionary duo is delighted to share their hope in Jesus.
One day, two Russians soldiers carrying guns approached Vera as she was in her home. Instead, of turning away she called out to them, “Okay, boys, I brought you some books about God. Will you like to read them?” Vera and Volodymyr have previously offered these books to Russian soldiers, their courage never wavering. Though most refuse to take the books, these two soldiers each took a copy; one took The Desires Ages and the other took The Great Controversy. The story of Vera and Volodymyr, like the ongoing war, is still developing. Their son shares that it is painful for him to hear these stories being so far away and unable to help, but he also says his parents are happy to bring comfort to the people around them and happy to spread the Gospel.
Since the invasion, Vera and Volodymyr have distributed more than 300 books. The couple only has one plea to church members around the world: Do not hesitate to share the Good News.
Kentucky-Tennessee | May 2022