Ukrainian language Bible with TWR360 connect card. Bibles are placed inside personal hygiene bags donated by many local (Wake County) medical offices. Thousands of these are distributed to individuals once they arrive in Ukraine.
ANGIER, North Carolina – An unmarked warehouse in this town of 5,703 people contains a ministry that has touched people in 104 countries with badly needed supplies and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The warehouse is a 40-minute drive from the U.S. offices of TWR in Cary, North Carolina, with its global ministry of proclaiming Jesus Christ through media so that lasting fruit is produced.
Although they share the same eternal purpose the two ministries had no link between them until late 2022. Through that connection, both ministries are touching lives in war-torn Ukraine with the message of hope.
Joeth Strickland founded the ministry now known as Crossing All Borders with her husband, Ashley, in 1984 out of a couple of spare rooms in a church. A Sunday school class wanted to ship items to missionaries that they knew and Joeth was willing to figure out the logistics of how they could.
The ministry now occupies 17,000 square feet of warehouse space. On a recent weekday, it was packed with shrink-wrapped goods, tubs filled with hygiene items, boxes of lice shampoo and much more. A handful of volunteers, ranging in age from senior citizens to a young boy, sorted items and distributed them to the right places. Volunteer Raymond Moore was running a forklift, moving pallets of goods into tighter quarters to create space for still more pallets.
Connecting With TWR
Joeth, whose husband passed away in 2021, learned in 2022 about Perspectives, a course that prepares believers for cross-cultural ministry. Although she had been doing cross-cultural ministry for 38 years, she decided to take the class.
Among the presenters were Harry and Eileen Bettig, TWR missionaries. Their talk included TWR360, which presents Christian programming online in more than 140 languages. They shared about business-sized cards available for many of the TWR360 languages, including Ukrainian. The card includes a QR code that links the individual directly to the site in his or her own language.
Joeth approached the Bettigs as soon as the session was over, sensing an opportunity. Shortly after the war broke out in Ukraine Crossing All Borders began sending supplies to Ukraine, working in collaboration with a Ukrainian pastor in North Carolina and a church in Ohio. They filled a 40-foot-by-10-foot-by-10-foot container with medical supplies, hygiene kits and other goods. Scripture would be included in the hygiene kits.
“The whole purpose is to share the Gospel,” Joeth said in an interview. “The main place the Gospel is shared is when we make hygiene kits.”
She saw the TWR360 cards as a chance to enhance that outreach.
“You know, I’ve been to several countries,” Joeth said. “And it’s amazing how you can be out in the middle of nowhere, but somebody’s holding a phone. So, phones seem to be pretty universal now. So, the thing that Trans World Radio has come up with – this QR code – is just genius. And it just creates an opportunity for the gospel to go so much farther.”
The Bettigs reached out to TWR colleague Tom Streeter, who arranged for 2,000 of the cards to be sent to Crossing All Borders.
About a dozen volunteers gathered at the warehouse on the 8th September, to pack the 38th container bound for Ukraine. Four children, adopted from Ukraine, were among the volunteers, packing hygiene kits that would go to their homeland. TWR360 cards were also included with the kits as Crossing All Borders continues to supply life-giving connections to the recipients in Ukraine.
“[It] was encouraging to see [TWR360] cards that were printed in this office in the hands of soldiers in Ukraine,” Harry Bettig said. “I know that digital ministry, internet media players and podcasts are still happening in Ukraine. With the war going on, it’s become a very major way to get information.”
The response to need in Ukraine is especially poignant for Harry. Both of his parents were born in Ukraine, and his father worked for TWR’s Russian Department. His father loved both countries and their people, Harry said.
So, it’s all the more remarkable that it was the Bettigs who answered the call to speak in a Perspectives class that Joeth Strickland attended. The result echoed all the way to Ukraine.
“It feels encouraging to see two organisations come together,” Harry said. “One has the content, the other has the delivery means … and we’re both located here in North Carolina.”