Wow, it’s been a really long time since my last post and far too much has happened to share it all, but I’ll do my best to hit the highlights and then post more frequently in the future. I had a wonderful time in the US for the months of October through March. I got to spend precious time with family and friends, visit with many people who support me and the ministry, share about our ministry with new individuals and groups, work part-time, attend continuing education, purchase supplies for our ministry, and simply rest. It was so relaxing and freeing to be surrounded by English 100% of the time: to always understand what is being said to me and around me, to converse freely – even with strangers, to not have to fight for language comprehension during a sermon or miss a few sentences because someone walked down the aisle and I took my total focus off the preacher, to have instant comprehension of what I read in a store or while driving, to be able to express myself in both simple and deep conversations without sounding like a small child, to be able to keep up with all the cross conversations that happen when a group of people are gathered together. Those are all struggling points for me in Ukraine and the ease of communication I found while in the US was not only a breath of fresh air, but also gave me a renewed motivation to push on in learning Ukrainian, to strive for the ability to understand and be understood in Ukraine. By God’s grace, I see progress in this area, so thank you to those who have prayed in the past and continue to pray.
I returned to Ukraine during the first week of April and was welcomed by many of my closest Ukrainian friends when my bus arrived in Lutsk!
Shortly after my arrival we held the first session for the third group of students at our PT Training Center. Eight students from six different cities in Ukraine were in attendance. As a whole, this was the best group of students as far as learning the pre-session material for the first day. They continued to be eager to learn throughout our session and we look forward to welcoming them back for the second session in August.
Opening our session in prayer
Pasha participated in teaching again
Sveta was present to translate and also help with teaching.
The students often studied late into the night with Henry
The Agape Rehabilitation Complex continues to be full of patients. We are so grateful that people are beginning to seek rehab sooner rather than later after surgeries, strokes or injuries as it often gives them greater potential to progress. Not long ago a local neurosurgeon called Sveta to request rehabilitation for a man who had received a spinal cord injury just days prior in a diving accident. He had undergone surgery the day before and the surgeon actually asked Sveta to first come to the hospital to educate the staff and the family and then to accept him to Agape as soon as possible. So many secondary problems that patients with spinal cord injury often encounter here in Ukraine can be prevented by early education, but we rarely have the opportunity to give it. This was that rare opportunity and that man is now receiving the early rehabilitation he needs. Praise the Lord! And we are also considering how to propose providing further education for the hospital staff.
Life outside of work has also been busy since my return. While I was in the US, Sveta moved into her new house in the village of Boratyn. So we now live directly behind Agape and have an extremely short commute to work.
Agape – taken from our driveway.
Our house is the gray one left of center – taken from AgapeLife in the village is a bit different.
The closest store is a 20-minute walk and carries only some essentials. Going to and from Lutsk requires planning according to the bus schedule.
Walking home after a trip to Lutsk for groceries.
My running routes have become very limited since we have few paved roads in our immediate region. I sometimes run the dirt paths and roads through and near the forest, but they can be a bit treacherous and isolating.
Sveta walked in the vicinity of my first run so we could explore the area together, but she hasn’t joined me since!
While there may be less convenience living in a village, there are also some wonderful aspects that we love! We have the possibility to be outside at any time – to sit on the back porch and enjoy the quiet or to take walks along the train tracks or through the nearby forest.
Hanging out on the back porch on a Sunday afternoon!
We also get to take in the beautiful nature around us and I can tell you that the skies over Ukraine in summer do not disappoint! The heavens declare the glory of God!
An obvious difference between apartment life and life in a house is that we now have yard work. Actually we just have weeds but they too must be controlled to some extent. Since we have nowhere to store a lawnmower yet, we recently borrowed tools from Agape to “cut” our high weeds. Then one of the men from Agape brought over the lawnmower and mowed it shorter for us. So now not only do I know the difference between a sickle and a scythe, I have successfully used them both.
And best of all, we now have a place that is fully accessible to all of our friends! No more steps or narrow elevators that sometimes get turned off or break. We have ramps to the front and back doors and a wide open floor plan. We look forward to the opportunity to host more and more of our friends in this home!
Other adventures this spring included spending an afternoon at a tulip festival at a nearby nursery. I particularly enjoyed this since tulips are my favorite flower!
My mom came for a 5-week visit and we thoroughly enjoyed having her!!! In addition to our days spent at Agape, we managed a weekend getaway to Lublin, Poland, a Sunday with friends at their church and home in the village, meals with local friends, and some adventures around Lutsk:
Sveta and I lived with Lyuda (red jacket) years ago before she married and before we moved to the US.
Dinner with friends in LutskSveta’s mom came for a weekend too!
Lunch break at AgapeLutsk train station – mom and I were headed to the Kyiv airportAnd for the final bit of news, we are blessed to now own a car! I had the opportunity to travel to Germany last weekend to shop for a car. Three men graciously assisted me with transportation, lodging, and the selection and purchase of a car. The importation process was completed last night and we are officially legal to hit the streets. The car is a 2013 Skoda Fabia and we are SO blessed to have it. We will easily be able to put 1-2 wheelchairs in the back when transporting our friends with disabilities. We hope that this car will not only serve our needs, but open up further opportunities for us to serve others. Thank you to those who supported and prayed for the purchase of this car! We are so thankful for God’s provision!
On Thursday, we head to camp for adults with disabilities which runs until July 20. Then camp for families of children with disabilities will run July 22-28. Please join us in prayer for these camps. This time of year is always a highlight for many of us, but we want it to be so much more than just fun for those who attend. Many of them are not believers and we are praying for their repentance above all else, so please join us. More to come when we return from camp!
Carrie at 10:26 AM