Sunday, September 25, 2016

Getting into the swing of things...

One week from tomorrow, the third and final sphere of the Agape Rehabilitation Complex will launch when we open the doors to our first residential rehab patients. As mentioned in the last post, the first sphere to open was the PT Training Center in August.  Then the second sphere to launch was rehab, which began a couple of weeks ago with patients who live locally. 

We are very excited to have some new members on our rehab team! Veeka (on the right below) is serving multiple roles.  Currently, she does housekeeping on the rehab floor, fills the secretarial roles for rehab, assists the therapists, and is learning to do occupational therapy.  She loves the Lord and is a hard worker.  I am really excited to see how God grows and uses her, especially as she gets more into a therapeutic role.  She has a disability, but is completely independent and will be a great teacher and encourager for patients.  Pasha (also on the right below) has officially moved from a part-time volunteer to full-time PT.  He studied PT in Poland and God brought him back to Ukraine and to our team.  We are so grateful for God's answer to prayer...bringing two men in two years to join our rehab team!


As you can see, the rehab room in Agape is spacious and beautiful!  We have rearranged a little and now have even more room for patients who work on ambulation.  We also have access to the weight room on the second floor. 
Earlier in September, we held a week of training for people who will serve as caregivers for residents of Agape.  Former patients and friends with disabilities lived in Agape for a week and helped us teach about all aspects of care: hygiene, transfers, pressure sores, feeding, wheelchairs, etc. 
The therapy team taught about body mechanics, transfers, and the proper use of equipment to move patients safely and efficiently. 


 A local physician taught CPR:

The residents enjoyed the freedom of using electric wheelchairs in an accessible building and the wide open outdoor spaces:


Residential care combined with rehab services is a huge new step for our team...something none of us has ever implemented.  We quickly saw many areas that hadn't been thoroughly planned for and ways we needed to improve.  So it was also a time for all of us to learn and implement processes that will help Agape run smoothly and provide the best possible care for people with disabilities. 


While we all love working at Agape, one challenge to almost everyone is that it is located in a village just outside of Lutsk.  This village is easily and quickly accessible by car, but most people don't have cars.  I was praying about the possibility of a car for some time, knowing it could be of service to many people when we started working at Agape.  Earlier in the summer, I began asking around about the possibility of buying a car: where, how, reasonable prices, who could help me, models that could hold a wheelchair and multiple people, etc.  We were introduced to one brother at church who brings cars into Ukraine from Europe and he agreed to keep an eye out.  A few months passed and he called with a mini-van with US registration that was brought to Ukraine by former missionaries. After test driving it, taking it to the mechanic, and praying about it, I bought it.  Now five of us ride to and from work together every day and often 1-2 more people join us.  What a blessing to have such a large vehicle! I am praying it will serve us well and long and I am thankful for God's provision!
A full carload!

In closing, would you please join us in praising God for:
- The staff and caregivers who are now working in Agape and the nurse who will begin work tomorrow
- New rehab team members
- A car that we can use to serve workers and people with disabilities
- The restart of rehab after the summer break
- The training week and all that we learned and have been able to change before residents arrive
Please join us in prayer for:
- Continued process implementation and maximum preparation before residential patients arrive in one week
- Wisdom to solve the problems and challenges that will continue arise in the coming months as we step into this new sphere
- Additional male and female caregivers
- The safety of both caregivers and patients - the caregivers are all still gaining experience with  providing full care for people with disabilities.
- Wisdom to select from the applicants who should be included in the second class of the PT Training Center, which is scheduled to begin in January 2017.  
- Efficiency, wisdom, and time for preparation of materials for the second session of the first class, which begins in less than 3 months. 
- For the finances needed to operate the facility and support current and future workers.
- That all of us working at Agape would radiate with the joy and love of Christ as we do our jobs.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The PT Training Center is launched!

Finally, after two years of anticipation, preparation, and translation, the PT Training Center at the Agape Rehabilitation Complex is launched! We held our first two-week session in August with eight students: five local and three from other cities in Ukraine.  Krista and I taught the lectures, Sveta did virtually all of the translation, Tanja helped with translation during small group sessions and Henry (the skeleton) never said a word, but was an excellent teacher nonetheless!

It was an exhausting and wonderful two weeks.  We enjoyed watching the students learn, grow, and gain confidence.  Our mornings were primarily spent on lectures in the classroom and then we moved to the rehab gym in the afternoon to develop and practice skills.  We gave exams on the first and last days and everyone was pleased to have passed the final exam.  In addition, we had lab activities, games and oral quizzes throughout the session to help students grasp and retain the information. God was gracious to us and answered many prayers and we are grateful to all who prayed for us and for the students. 

First day

Ready to teach!

Learning origins and insertions of muscles together

Tanja and I preparing material

Learning to take blood pressure
Transfer training lab
 Students practiced their skills on one another...

They practiced on the teachers...

They practiced on whoever was willing and free around Agape:
Roma, our driver
Raphael, our leaders' youngest son
Emelia, our cook
And then they practiced on our friends with disabilities...


Games were a hit and added some laughter to the learning process...

And small group problem-solving sessions helped bring all of the information together for the students...

We are grateful for the mercies of God that were so evident during these two weeks. Our next session with this class is scheduled for December and the first session of the second class is scheduled for January. So we've only just begun!