While in Uzhgorod, we have been:
– Doing rehab with Vasya (our former patient) for a couple of hours each day (we are currently staying in his house where he no longer lives). His wife, Maria, is super busy as they are hosting many refugees as well as continuing their work with girls who have aged out of the orphanage. Our time with Vasya allows Maria to focus her attention and efforts on the needs of those living in their facility, knowing her husband is cared for and active.
– Volunteering at the large operation taking place in Uzhgorod to feed refugees, both those living here and those waiting in lines at borders and checkpoints. It’s amazing to see the scope of the work and to assist even in small ways, such as washing dishes or making sandwiches.
– Traveling to pharmacies to collect medications requested by Agape. Yesterday we were asked to buy as much seizure medication as we could find. Many children with disabilities who are coming through Agape as refugees are in low supply and the local pharmacies are also out. Unfortunately, that is almost the case in Uzhgorod as well, but we were able to find a few boxes to purchase and will continue to search. Today we received another long list of medications to purchase, so we will set out tomorrow to work on finding them, Lord-willing. Money received from your donations is giving us the possibility to meet these needs for medications. So again, thank you! Please pray that we will be able to locate all the medications on the list and in the quantities requested.
On Saturday morning, Sveta, her mom and I set out for Hungary. God blessed the trip and we were able to cross the border in 1.5 hours and make our way to Budapest where Stacy, our new friend, was waiting to welcome us. She is the acquaintance of a friend of a friend – I think! She took me in for 4 nights and helped me accomplish many tasks! Sveta and her mom flew to Berlin on Sunday so her mom could live with her brother. While waiting for Sveta to return, Stacy and I set about understanding how we could receive cash from America. The process had several bumps along the way, but in the end we made it back to Ukraine with much cash from donations in America and Europe. So thanks again to all of you!
We plan to repeat this trip early next week to retrieve more cash, Lord-willing. Then we will determine how best to get this cash back to Agape. Using the traditional method of transferring to a bank account here is still not a good idea according to our Agape accountant, so we are maximizing our means of obtaining cash. Please pray with us that the current avenues do not close for us and that if they do we will be able find alternate means quickly to continue to receive cash.
Agape and our ministry have also been very active. The third group of people with disabilities to be evacuated to Europe left Agape this morning. We are thankful that the first two groups are now settled in various locations in Germany. All of the groups include children and adults with disabilities, some of their family members, and additional caregivers from our team as needed. Many different organizations throughout Europe are willing and able to assist in evacuating people with disabilities and providing them with housing and care. People are being so generous with their time, energy and resources. God is truly using His people all over the world.
The plan, of course, is to continue these evacuations, so please join us in prayer for the planning, coordinating, and transporting of these groups. And then pray for them as they settle in foreign countries where they cannot speak the language. Pray they will have access to translators to be able to communicate and also for the necessary medical care. Several of those who have already evacuated have pressure sores that require specialized medical attention. This is being sought with some of our German partners. Please pray the right medical personnel can be found. God knows the needs of each of these people evacuated, both those with and without disabilities. Please pray they will know God’s nearness even in a new, foreign place and thank God with us that they are now out of a country at war. Please pray that many more will be able to be quickly evacuated to safety as well.
Agape has also been busy hosting refugees who are traveling toward the Polish border. Large groups have come through and even our rehab gym has been turned into overflow sleeping quarters. Agape employees as well as volunteers who are still in the Lutsk area have been working to feed refugees, keep the facility clean, receive and distribute humanitarian supplies, and perform so many other tasks. Please pray for sustaining strength as many of them are unable to go home for days at a time do to the constant work. Please pray for the continued provisions (food, medication, etc) necessary to care for the continual flow of refugees.
I want to close with two “contrasting” pictures from Budapest of the Hungarian parliament building. In the daytime, this building does not particularly stand out amidst the surroundings, other than due to its sheer size. But at night? Against the backdrop of darkness, this same building absolutely shines in splendor and cannot be missed!