Saturday, November 28, 2015


There have been many opportunities this past month to express our thanks to God for His goodness in our lives and our ministry and for His answers to our prayers. 

Last weekend we hosted a full-day seminar on spinal cord injury rehab for the staff from a private rehab clinic in Rivne, Ukraine.  In advance of the seminar, Sveta and I were quite busy for several weeks preparing and translating the material.  We were able to involve some of our therapists in the teaching and small group sessions and three of our current/former patients came to demonstrate their skills and answer questions.  Having never met the nine therapists and one doctor who came for the seminar, we were unsure if what we prepared would be what they needed or wanted.  But God really blessed the day!  They were receptive to everything we presented and said that it was a very beneficial seminar.  They were all young and several had been working for less than 6 months.  I was encouraged to see their eagerness to learn about active, functional rehab as PT in Ukraine has historically been passive.  We were also grateful that God answered our prayer to have Sergiy Bolchuk, our ministry leader, share how and why our center opened, how we use the center as a means to serve people with disabilities and to serve God, and our vision for the future with the Agape House. 

The staff from both centers

During this month our ministry also held our first "club" meeting since last spring.  Club is a time for adults with disabilities to come together, fellowship, and hear the Word of God.  We employed a completely new format for this club, creating a sports and games atmosphere.  We had an obstacle course race for the whole group and then people could choose between playing volleyball, bocce ball, or ping pong.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the afternoon.

About 35 people with disabilities came and many were accompanied by family members.  After the games, we all fellowshipped over a meal and then listened to encouragement from the Word of God.  It was a blessed time for all!

The construction at Agape House continues and we now have a projected opening day of June 19, 2016!! It is very exciting to see this vision that began developing over 6 years ago coming to reality by the grace of God!  I was there this past week to help unload 7 tons of medical equipment and supplies that were generously donated from US, so I got to witness first hand how just far the construction has come.

View from the front/side

View from the back - there are ramps at every entrance
This 3rd floor room is the future home of our rehab center

As you can see, the exterior is finished, so the guys are now working inside for the winter (with heating!).  The elevator has been installed and they are working hard on tiling all the rooms, stairwells, and hallways.  We do not have a move-in date yet, but the plan is for our rehab center to move to Agape House in late spring and for residents to move in after the official opening date in June.  Currently, our leaders are inviting people to partner with this work by equipping a residential room with furniture.  If God stirs your heart to participate in this way, please contact me via email ( and I can give you more details.  Please join us in prayer for the completion of the Agape House, finances need to construct and equip the house, construction of a road to the house, and the development of the team of people who will serve daily in the house.
Many of you have joined us in praying for more therapists, particularly males, to join our rehab team.  God graciously gave me a reminder this month that He is more than capable of answering that prayer, even when I have doubts.  To understand why I would have doubts, I will tell you that of the staff at our clinic, only Sveta and Alla have formal PT training.  And even though Alla completed the PT program at the local university, even she says her primary training came on the job at our center.  All of the other therapists who have joined our team in the past 8 years have been or are being trained on the job.  So our desire for trained Ukrainian therapists who are also dedicated Christians and want to serve in the center as part of our ministry to people with disabilities...well, by human logic we are very unlikely to find such people.  But thankfully our hope is in God to meet this need when and how He sees fit, and I was reminded recently that it is not too difficult for Him.  A few weeks ago Sveta and I attended an evangelistic concert at a local church and one young man went forward to repent at the end.  A few days later, Sveta received a call from a Christian brother who wanted to bring a young man to see our center.  It turned out to be the same young man, Pasha, who is now our brother in Christ and recently completed a PT program in Poland!  He is home assisting his family during his brother's illness and wants to see how we work and help us a few days a week.  We don't know whether or not he will ultimately going to join, but my heart was greatly encouraged to trust God for the provision of trained therapists!  Please join us in praying that we could be an encouragement to Pasha in his new walk of faith, for wisdom how best to use him at our center, and for wisdom for him to know the path God has for him in the future. 
As I said in the beginning, reflecting on this past month gives my heart many reasons to be grateful.  Looking ahead to the next month gives my heart many reasons for excited anticipation!  Next Friday I'm boarding a plane and heading home for 5 weeks.  I love my Ukrainian home, but I sure miss my Oklahoma one too!  While I am gone, our ministry will celebrate our 10-year anniversary with a special church service on Dec 6th and our club will meet again on Dec 26th.  Please join me in praying for these opportunities to again share the love of God with people with disabilities. 
I hope I get to see many of you in December!! I'm so thankful for each one of you!