The audio Bible in the form of a toy lamb has been a great comfort to the traumatised children of Ukraine. All photos courtesy of the Taslims.

The audio Bible in the form of a toy lamb has been a great comfort to the traumatised children of Ukraine. All photos courtesy of the Taslims.

“Bring light into the darkness and help the most broken.”

This was the mandate that Lam Bao Yan had received, which led her right into Ukraine’s war zone as millions fled in the other direction.

In Ukraine, she and her husband, Rudy Taslim, have seen all kinds of darkness and brokenness: Grandmothers sexually assaulted by soldiers. Children dying while waiting to get medical attention. Families, with their homes bombed, forced into chicken coops to find warmth from the bitter cold.

But a particularly vulnerable group they have noticed are the widows of the war. Despairing over the bleak future, these pregnant mothers, some with toddlers in tow, had wanted to abort their babies.

“They had lost their husbands and their homes. They didn’t even know how they were going to survive, much less have confidence to raise their babies,” said Bao Yan, who chanced upon a group of these mothers in Zhytomy, a former major transport hub.

One of the women whose husbands have died in the war, leaving them to care for their children alone.

She knew there was no convincing these frightened mothers to keep their babies with mere emotional arguments. They needed practical help.

“I told them, ‘If it’s about support, why don’t we support you with milk, diapers and food bags?’ My husband also told them, ‘On behalf of the unborn babies, give us a chance.’”

It takes just $30 a month to support a mother-child pair. They are now supporting 500 mothers and their children under this initiative.

Bao Yan with a new mum who is receiving help to care for her child.

On their last trip back to Ukraine, Bao Yan and Rudy got to see the fruits of their labour: the babies they had helped to save.

“Some are three months old, some are five months. They were not supposed to be here. This is life – literally life and death. We would do it again and again,” said Bao Yan.

Little lambs of hope and comfort 

This is not the only way the couple, who runs architectural firm Genesis Architects, have been bringing hope to the next generation in the war-torn country.

“He was so traumatised that he didn’t want his feet to touch the ground because the ground had been shaking from the bombs.”

While collecting items to bring into Ukraine, someone gave Bao Yan some audio Bibles. Among them were 30 in the form of a toy lamb, which plays the Bible in Ukrainian as well as children’s worship songs.

She gave some of these audio Bibles to children in the refugee shelters.

Bao Yan recounted: “One boy was from Mariupol. His parents are pastors. He is four years old and he was so traumatised that he didn’t want his feet to touch the ground because the ground had been shaking from the bombs.

“He would hold on to the lamb for hours. And he told his friends to listen to the lamb. He told them, ‘Jesus is calling to me and He says don’t be afraid.’”

Bao Yan with one of the widowed pregnant women she had helped. It was heartening for her to return to Ukraine on her last trip and see the babies already born.

She gave the rest of the toy lambs to children at orphanages and children’s hospitals. She later heard that these children, haunted by their experiences in the war, would hang on to the lambs for comfort.

“They would even sleep with the lambs, refusing to let people take it away. They have lost everything. This is not only a trauma recovery tool, it is their only toy,” said Bao Yan.

A Ukrainian child sleeping as the audio Bible lamb reads God’s Word to her.

They have gotten enough funds to sponsor 1,500 of these audio Bibles. The plan is to purchase and distribute some 3,500 more.

An urgency to share the Gospel

As both Bao Yan and Rudy have been made chaplains, they are allowed to visit the soldiers on the frontlines in Donetsk. There, the couple has felt the urgency to tell them about Jesus.

To do this, they have been distributing audio Bibles to soldiers in the form of torchlights. Apart from serving as a power bank, these torchlights also play sermons and worship songs. As a bonus, they require only solar power to be charged.

“I give the audio Bibles to the soldiers and when I come back two weeks later, many soldiers are gone – killed,” said Bao Yan.

Bao Yan and Rudy at Lyman in the Donetsk region. The area is currently under heavy firing.

She added: “These are ordinary people. They feel guilty, sinful, traumatised because of what they have to do in the war. When you tell them the blood of Jesus washes them clean, they are not condemned, they will have eternal life, it means a lot.”

They have given out about 500 of such audio Bibles and are hoping to distribute 3,000 more.

Recalling God’s commission to bring light into the darkness, the couple has also started Project Lighthouse, which supplies city care centres, hospitals, churches, refugee centres and orphanages with a generator, a heater and a satellite link.

The Taslims with one of the generators they give as part of Project Lighthouse.

With these, people from all around the area would flock to the buildings to keep warm and charge their devices. Bao Yan also provides them with one hot meal a day, as well as medical supplies.

There are now 80 such “lighthouses” in Ukraine, serving some 16,000 people every day.

“Each generator doesn’t cost that much compared to the number of lives it can impact. This kind of church planting is so cheap because with power, people keep coming,” she said.

The couple with refugees at one of the “lighthouses” where they supplied generators, food, a wooden stove and medical aid. It is now a church.

Bao Yan also feels a particular urgency to reach out to patients in the hospital with the Gospel.

“I went to the toilet and there were rows of people sitting around, including these kids. When I came out of the toilet, they were all dead. The turnover is just like that,” she said solemnly. 

This is the hospital that is now a “lighthouse” equipped with power from a generator the Taslims have provided.

As they persist in their work in Ukraine even a year after war broke out, Bao Yan and Rudy have been given residency permits in the country. With this, they can set up charities and bring in more people to help.

The couple intends to bring in more Singaporeans to help rebuild the country.

“In Isaiah 61:4, God talked about rebuilding ancient ruins and renewing ruined cities. Rebuild, renew and restore desolate cities,” shared Bao Yan.

“I think God sent me first to open the door for the body of Christ. It’s strategic. When God told me to bring light to darkness and help broken people, I thought it was metaphorical. But I have kept to my assignment.”

To support the Taslims’ work of providing emergency housing, helping vulnerable groups and distributing audio Bibles in Ukraine, visit


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About the author

Christine Leow

Christine believes there is always a story waiting to be told, which led to a career in MediaCorp News. Her idea of a perfect day involves a big mug of tea, a bigger muffin and a good book.