Well, fall came…and it left already. We have had cold temperatures for weeks, the leaves have all fallen, and yesterday we are had our first wet snow. The sun now sets before 5:00 and life takes on a different feel as we say good-bye to fall and settle into these winter days.
For our ministry team, October brought sorrow as well as rejoicing. We were reminded of the brevity of life as grieved over the death of a dear brother in Christ in a car accident. Sergiy Ivashko was the driver for our ministry when I first came to live in Lutsk off and on in 2008-2010. We spent many hours with him in those years and he became a dear friend. He spoke Russian and I had not even begun to study Ukrainian, yet somehow we communicated and had many laughs along the way. He moved on to opening his own business and we saw much less of him in the last few years, but the bond of friendship remained. He always had a smile on his face, never failed to put a smile on ours, gave generously whether he had much or little, and was a testimony to all of the power of God to change a life – transforming him from a man addicted to drugs to a man who wholeheartedly served His Savior. We miss him, rejoice to know he is in heaven, and pray for God’s provision for his wife and two small children.
The beginning of October also brought cause for rejoicing as the first residential rehab patients came to Agape. In addition to these inpatients, our therapists continue to treat the children and adults who come for rehab on an outpatient basis 2-3 times a week. Residential patients receives 3 hours of therapy per day, so we slowly added patients throughout the month as we learned how best to work the schedule. Currently, we are up to four residential patients with more scheduled to come in the next 2-3 weeks.
Vanya will return home at the end of this week after five weeks of inpatient rehabilitation. He has paraplegia due to a spinal cord injury he sustained this past summer. He arrived at our facility completely dependent on his family in all spheres. He has worked hard with Vadim and Vanya (our therapists) and has now gained complete independence in his mobility and self-care. He has even begun to think of work possibilities when he returns to his village home. During his time at Agape, he has also attended some church services and home groups and his therapists have conversed with him about spiritual matters. He has been open, interested, and inquisitive and we are praying for his repentance.
One sweet lady was so disappointed when she had to go home early due to uncontrolled blood pressure. We have a nurse on staff at Agape, but not a physician so we could not provide the medical care she needed and had to send her home. We were glad when she recently notified us that her blood pressure is now stable and she is able to return soon to continue her rehabilitation. Please pray for our nurse as she oversees the medical needs of our patients and for a physician who would partner with us.
The cycle of patients coming and going continues. As a team, we pray daily for our patients and for wisdom in determining how to manage their care. Some patients are with us only a few weeks and others for more than a year. For various reasons, the four patients below have all completed their rehabilitation. Our hearts rejoice with them over their progress and ache with them over their unachieved goals. Please continue to pray for our therapists as they assess new patients, plan and conduct treatment sessions, converse with patients and their family members, and make difficult decisions about the termination of rehab.
All of our therapists continue to work with children, but the waiting list of children needing rehab is long and continues to grow. Please pray with us for additional therapists with a desire to work with children. We are even dreaming of having a therapist devoted solely to pediatric rehab. The need is great, but we know that God is able to provide!
I mentioned our growing rehab team in the last blog post. Unfortunately, we recently learned that Vanya (above) is moving to a new job after this week. He has been with us for about a year and a half, initially as a volunteer, then as an assistant, and currently as a growing therapist as he was progressing through our PT Training Center program. It is with great sadness that we see him go. Our patient caseload is growing and qualified therapists are very difficult to find, so we are praying for God’s provision in this area and for His blessing on Vanya’s life.
We have seen God’s faithfulness to us in so many ways over the past weeks and we pray for His continued provision in our lives and the lives of our patients. Please join us in prayer for:
– New therapists to join our team
– Students in the PT Training Center program: The next session for the first class of students is in December and the second class begins in January. Please pray for them as they study at home now – for their understanding and retention of the material.
– Finances for rehab equipment needs: For several months we have been praying specifically for the finances to purchase a treadmill and a LiteGait (a specialized device that supports the patient while the therapists facilitate proper gait). Since we now have more and more patients coming to our center with whom we are working on gait, we see the need growing in this area. Please join us in praying for the needed finances (it is certainly not cheap equipment) as well as the logistics of getting it through customs if we are able to purchase it in the future.
– Healing for our leaders, Sergiy and Natasha Bolchuk: Natasha recently broke her lower leg and Sergiy quickly injured his back by picking her up repeatedly. They are both improving, but progress is slow and they are homebound in the meantime.
– A car: For reasons not related to me, the car I mentioned in a previous post was not sold to me. It is still in my possession, but the new owners will come for it soon. There is a definite need to transport workers to and from Agape daily, so we are praying about another car. It’s not a simple process in a foreign country – I need assistance but don’t know to whom to turn. So for now we are praying and asking God for wisdom and for His provision.
Thank you for standing with us in prayer! May God bless you all!