Marina headed for work with a light heart, her face turned up to the sunny sky. Spring had finally arrived after the long months of frigid winter, and she relished seeing the cheerful colors of the season’s first flowers.
Nearing her workplace, Marina saw some strange marks on
the ground. Moving closer, she peered at what appeared to be
ashes. Marina knew what that meant, and her blood ran cold. She
sprinted home as quickly as she could, with one thought in her
mind: “I’m going to die.”
It was April 1986, and Marina’s job was near the nuclear
power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine. The ashes she had seen were
the result of the atomic block’s catastrophic explosion, and Marina
was frighteningly aware of the effect radiation has on the
human body. Her whole life had just been turned upside down.
Miraculously, Marina survived, with no ill effects. She moved
to another city, got married, and had children. But she was constantly
haunted by the feeling that her life would soon come to
In 1998, she accidentally found a radio program about God.
Within a week, Marina and her children began eagerly waiting for
the next broadcast of a program called The Voice of Hope.
Marina requested the Bible studies that were offered on the
program, and as soon as she had completed the entire course,
she was baptized. Today, Marina and her family are enjoying a
close walk with God and are members of the Adventist church.
The fears that haunted Marina for so long have disappeared.
“Traditionally in Ukraine, people rarely attended church, but
they still considered themselves believers, usually in the Orthodox
church,” says Konstantin Halchynskyi, the new manager of
AWR Ukraine. “As a consequence of the military operations in
the east part of the country, people have started to become more
interested in spiritual things and are even starting to attend Protestant churches, becoming more active in church activities, and
requesting baptism. People are interested in politics, although
they are very disappointed in it. Their top issues are safety and
thoughts of their future.”
Adventist radio outreach is thriving. The five permanent employees
of AWR Ukraine—a manager, three presenters, and an
editor—are young and active, promising and purposeful. One or
two employees of Hope Channel Ukraine (TV) also make audio
programs for The Voice of Hope radio program.
MAJOR INVESTMENT IN NEW STATIONS
AWR has been broadcasting Ukrainian programs for 20
years, on shortwave and two large networks: Ukrainian National
Radio 1 and 2. This network encompasses cable radio, 68 ultrashortwave
transmitters, 4 medium-wave transmitters, and 108
FM stations. Together, these broadcasts reach 15 million homes.
But Adventist leaders in Ukraine have an even greater vision
for sharing the gospel through radio. When the government made
more than 30 new licenses available last year, AWR funded the
“We were hoping that the Ukraine Union Conference would
receive one license,” says AWR president Dowell Chow, “but
they were granted nine! We never expected that! There were a lot
of big players also applying, but the Lord rewarded the church’s
AWR will fund all of the equipment for the new undertaking,
and will provide financial assistance for production and operating
costs over the next five years, until the union is able to shoulder
the full costs. This investment by AWR will amount to between
$300,000 and $400,000.
People in the large capital city of Kyiv (Kiev) can hear short
weekly segments on the current national network, but this new
expansion will increase the potential audience by half a million listeners.
Small local production teams will be developed over time
in some locations, augmented by programs shared by the central
studio in Kyiv. “The church leaders in Ukraine had this dream,
and their tremendous enthusiasm speaks volumes,” Chow says.
“In some regions, radio is the only way for people to communicate
with the outside world, the only way to hear about God,”
Halchynskyi says. “Radio reaches places where we can’t even
reach with television. In the current war situation, radio is a kind
light that warms people and gives them hope.”
Shelley Nolan Freesland is Adventist World Radio Communication
director at the General Conference world headquarters.