From Darkness to Light: Bringing the Hope of Jesus to the Front Lines

by Jesse and Bria Pohle, MissionGO

In 2014, Russia invaded East Ukraine and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, claiming it as part of the Russian state along with the Ukrainian cities on their shared border. In those early years of war, the Ukrainian military lacked proper equipment, personnel, and structure to push back the invasion. Back then, Bria joined thousands of Ukrainians supplying the nascent military force with aid from all over the country and throughout the world. Slowly the aid came. As it did, the military was able to organize and, for the past six years, the war has continued in the area known as Donbass in Eastern Ukraine. Bria continues to work on the front lines with two Ukrainian pastors, Victor and Zhenia, whom she met on one of her early trips. Together, they took the gospel, along with much needed supplies, to troops serving in harm’s way. In addition, since their wedding in 2019, Bria and Jesse have traveled together to East Ukraine, combining efforts to bring the Good News of Jesus to men and women often suffering from a drawn-out conflict with little hope of conclusion. 

Though the military has provided its soldiers with basic supplies such as food, uniforms, weapons and computers, there is little extra to go around. Soldiers are often forced to build their own shelters or bathing facilities if they are away from an urban area. They rarely get fresh fruit, vegetables, or ‘luxury’ goods like chocolate or good coffee. But, when Bria and Jesse come with Victor and Zhenia, their van is full of all sorts of these goodies. This last trip they brought hundreds of watermelons!

By providing the hope of Jesus through sharing God’s Word, singing, chocolate, watermelons, and Bibles, Bria, Jesse, Victor, and Zhenia were able to forge lasting relationships with these men and women. They even handed out copies of More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell in Ukrainian!

Though Bria and Jesse cannot travel as often as they would like, they know that Victor and Zhenia travel each month to meet with military units they have built relationships with during the past eight years. It is the consistency, integrity, and devotion to these troops that have allowed these missionaries to travel to areas of risk and to military units inaccessible to other volunteers.

There are no dark places where Jesus cannot work!The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. ~Isaiah 9:2