When Vladimir (Ulyanov) Lenin returned from political exile to lead the Russian Revolution in 1917, one of his first objectives was to seize control of all media. Lenin envisioned newspapers and radio as the primary tools for communicating Bolshevik propaganda. If he could “educate” the masses through media, he knew he would have control of their minds and souls. During the Stalin era the Soviets built a radio system with a network of transmitter towers for the sole purpose of disseminating Communist propaganda throughout the USSR. Small transistor radios were a fixture in Ukrainian homes. In schools, hospitals, prisons, and government buildings, citizens were forced to tune in to the “Voice from Moscow” with its latest glorification of the Communist system.
All a person had to do was turn a radio on—any radio, at any location—and there was the voice. They didn’t have any options. There was only one station with one channel.
News reports heralded the latest industrial development project or brilliant scientific discoveries that outshone anything the capitalist West could produce. They spoke of homeless people in New York City sleeping on the streets, but boasted that such deplorable living conditions were not seen in Russia.
What citizens did not hear was religious programming. The airwaves were silent in regards to any mention of God or the Bible.
Freedom came to Ukraine in 1987, and with it arose the first opportunities in 70 years to openly worship God. Slavik, a Ukrainian Christian, caught the vision to do something no one would have dreamed of a few short years before. If the Soviets could use radio to spread Communist and atheist ideology, he could make use of the same system to proclaim salvation through Jesus Christ. Slavik knew the odds were against him, but God was for him.
‘We want to use radio time for preaching’
For the past three years the energetic young evangelist already had been doing the unthinkable. In 1988 when Soviet Union celebrated 1,000 years of Christianity, because King Vladimir in Kiev Russia baptized in Dnieper river new believers, he asked for government to get permission for first opened crusade in his home land. Over 20,000 Ukrainians showed up and over 500 people received Christ as Savior.
His ministry branched out to include outreach to prisoners, the distribution of Bibles from Western Europe and the United States, and the startup of a children’s home.
Then Slavik contacted the president of a radio and television broadcasting company and made a 200-mile trip across the country to Kiev to present his carefully thought out vision.
“We want to use radio time for preaching,” he explained.
Persuading officials to convert the government channel into the “God channel” was not easy. To Slavik’s surprise, the president authorized the radio program under two conditions. First, Slavik could not preach against the Ukrainian government. Second, he had to apply for official recognition as a Christian radio and television company.
Remarkably the paperwork was approved, and in 1991 mission made the first radio broadcast.
At the time he operated the only licensed Christian radio and TV Company in Ukraine, and perhaps in the entire former Soviet Union.
In the early years our radio ministry received some 8,000-9,000 letters from listeners per month. People expressed thanks for the programs, some saying they accepted Christ as a result or they received an answer to prayers for physical healing or reconciliation in a strained relationship.
At one point Slavik was told the program would be canceled due to a shortage of funds. “Faith, Hope, and Love” was off the air for four weeks. After government radio station received 3,000 letters of complaint for pulling the program, the radio station owner said he would return it to the airwaves.
“He said he would work out a deal with us,” recalled Slavik. “So he gave us a lower price, and I kept preaching.”
Loyal listeners Now through 1,000 towers his radio programs are transmitted from Kiev to an area encompassing 100 million people in Ukraine, Moldova, Belorussia, Western Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, and many other countries. And the letters keep coming. Petrova from Kbmelnitskiy recently wrote: “Thank you for your programs. We are always waiting for your messages to be preached. Our neighbors come over to our house when your programs are on the air, because they do not have a radio at their house. After your programs we pray together.”
Many listeners request New Testaments. Others ask for copies of messages on CD so they can pass them along to family members and friends.
Slavik said, he was very moved by the story of one Christian couple. It was 9 p.m. that night and he was worn out after completing an evangelistic crusade, but a friend of the family pressed him to go visit the couple. “They really want to see you,” he was told.
They drove to the couple’s apartment and knocked on the door. A voice from inside asked, “Who is with you?” The friend replied, “The man you like to hear on the radio whose ministry led you to be saved.” When Slavik entered the room, he realized immediately that the husband and wife were blind.
“This is a wonderful moment to have the radio preacher come visit us,” the husband said. “We hear your voice by radio, but now you are blessing us with your presence in our home.” In addition to radio broadcasts, he proclaims the gospel through television programming that reaches over 135 nations in the former USSR, Europe, China, India, and the Middle East, parts of Africa, and North and South America. “My message is simple; I use only scripture of God” said Slavik. “I don’t promote a certain church or denomination. I preach massage of salvation, deliverance, healing broken hearts and families, I just invite people to read the Bible and follow Jesus.”
Testimony’s from Slavik radio programs
Yuriy Malchenko from Vinnitsa Greeting to you radio program Faith, Hope and Love. My wife and my self are retired seniors; we listen to your radio programs because through your programs I accepted Christ. We would listen to your programs every day. Thank you for your hard work, you have very interesting radio programs.
Lidia Marishin from L’viv Thank you very much for your great Christian radio programs which helped me understood Lord Christ as a saver and as well growing spiritually. To all my neighbors I started to witness about Lord our Christ. I would also ask them to listen to your radio program Faith, Hope and Love. Kalenik Melnik from Rivne Praise the Lord Brothers and sisters from Radio Program Faith, Hope and Love. With all the joy, I listen to your radio programs. Thank you that you are delivering the Word of God to our broken hearts. I and my wife are saved, but we also asking if you can please pray for our son are which are dying through alcohol.
Peace to you Slavik and Natasha from God. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart for your live Gospel messages, I and my wife accepted the Lord. Please pray for our children and grandchild so they would also praise His name. Oleksey Bolbot from Dnipropetrovsk Dear Slavik, we are very thankful for your wonderful programs. We remember your programs since we lived in Rivne, Ukraine. Right now we moved to Central of Ukraine and continue to joyfully listen to your programs. Ivan and Olena Redchits – Zhitomir city
Good day to you radio program Faith, Hope and Love. For a while I have been thinking to send you a thanks letter for grateful program that brings brightness to each home. Through your program I accepted Christ in my heart with my 3 children. I truly thank you for your radio pragmas that encourage me each time. Nadia Yakivna – Lugansk city