But, we did our best to enjoy the fall days. We spent one day at a campground just outside Lutsk with many of our friends with disabilities, enjoying fellowship and shish kabobs.
And Sveta and I went to a nearby park on a Saturday afternoon to walk and read.
Sunday after church
I have always loved nature and while watching the changing of the seasons this year I have been reminded again that our God is the Creator and Controller of all. Not only of nature but of lives and hearts. Meet Volodimir (and his sweet little wife in the background!)...
In mid-September, Artem came from another city to spend a month receiving rehabilitation for his progressive muscular disease. He had met Alla, one of our therapists, at a Christian conference earlier in the summer and wanted to come and receive rehab. Not long before he left home his dad, Volodimir, had a stroke. After Artem had been with us a few days, he mentioned his dad and asked if he could come sometime for rehab. We told him the time is now and his parents made arrangements and came. Volodimir has received rehab 5 days a week since his arrival 3 weeks ago and his progress has been tremendous. He has gone from not being able to stand to walking with help from one person and climbing stairs. And he is slowly improving his voluntary control of his arm. He, his wife, and their son are pleased with his progress, as are we! While other patients with stroke have come to our center for rehab, none have come this soon after their stroke. Typically when they are discharged from the hospital they just go home. We are only contacted months to years after their stroke and our progress is usually very limited. Working with Volodimir has been a good learning opportunity for our therapists, particularly for Alla who has been his primary therapist.
Top of the stairs with his therapist, Alla
And while we are excited for the physical changes in Volodimir, we are absolutely thrilled to witness God's work in him spiritually. Artem and his mother, who are believers, have been praying for Volodimir for a long time, but he wanted nothing to do with God or church. However, since they live in the spare room at our rehab center which is on the church grounds, he has spent much time around the people of God and has attended church services and small groups. And at the close of last Sunday's service he repented!! What a blessing from a gracious God to change this man's life! And what an encouragement to our team...we reminded ourselves that it is why we do what we do. Please pray for Volodimir's spiritual growth and for continued physical progress during the remainder of his rehabilitation.
Our rehab team: me, Katya, Sveta, Alla, Ira, and Vadim
To give an update on the prayer requests from the last post: we are still seeking a wheelchair for Mark, Katya now attends church almost every Sunday at Fimiam, and Igor received a wheelchair from social services before he went home. Thank you for praying!
Please also be in prayer for a trip that I will be taking this week with my friend Tanja, who is a quadriplegic. We are traveling by way of buses, planes, and cars through Poland, Germany, and ultimately to Switzerland for a working conference this weekend. The work groups are composed of people throughout Europe and we will be working on different topics related to the successful integration of people with spinal cord injuries. My group is discussing mobility aids and assistive devices. Since locating the needed equipment for our patients is one of our biggest barriers to increasing their independence, I am excited to meet people from other European countries and possibly have some contacts for our future needs. And I am praying that as I share about the work here, God would open people's hearts to the gospel. Please pray for both of us, for our travels, and for our contribution and witness at the conference.
What a privilege we all have to serve a great God who changes the seasons and changes lives!