Monday, May 18, 2020

Moving forward!!!

Like most, if not all, of you we have started to see an easing of the quarantine restrictions here in Ukraine! Although we are still only in the first phase, we are extremely grateful for the changes. We are also thankful for God's mercy that the situation in Ukraine with COVID-19 did not look like some of the other European countries (over 18,000 cases, 514 deaths) It is definitely an answer to prayer.

Here's a quick rundown of some of our quarantine activities:

- An early morning rise to catch a beautiful sunrise by the river in our village

- Lots walks and runs, finding new paths and witnessing more and more of God's beauty in His creation. Spring in Ukraine is truly beautiful!!

- Planting a garden (sorry, no pictures)

- Road trip to bring one of our therapists back to Lutsk (no public transportation) and stopping to get cool, spring water!

- Two drive-in church services at Fimiam, including on Easter. For those without cars, live-streaming was still available. It was great to people, even if only from the car.

- As the restrictions have eased here, we have hosted and visited friends more and more. SO good to see and fellowship with friends again.

My home church gathered yesterday to grill out!

- And we completed a 2-week session with the 4th class of the PT Training Center! The first week was conducted via Zoom and after a 2-week break we all gathered at Agape for the second week. We finished the session with 7 students and they did great, despite the unusual format. 

Veeka, one of our OTs, participated in the teaching 
With no residents at Agape, we used anyone we could find in the building to give our students more practice. Olya now tells everyone how she "donated her body to science!"
Lunch breaks were spent driving electric wheelchairs since they have gone unused for almost 2 months. 

Now it's time to move forward from the strict quarantine and Agape has a plan! Starting May 25, Agape will reopen with a temporary new format. We will be treating patients on an outpatient basis, so there will be no residents and fewer employees in the building. Only patients who live nearby and can provide their own transportation or choose to use ours will come and go each day. Of course, this means that not all patients on the waiting list will be given the opportunity to have rehabilitation in the beginning, but it's a start and we hope it will not be a lengthy period. We have been praying for wisdom to know how and when Agape can reopen and I believe this is an answer to that prayer! Please continue to pray with us that God would protect all who come through Agape in the coming weeks and that we would be discerning to know when we can return to our standard operating procedures. 

Please also continue to pray with us for the financial needs of Agape. Being closed for 2 months naturally means we have generated no income and with 50+ employees this has a huge impact on many, many lives. There is a desire to increase the salaries of all of our employees, but at this time there is a particular need to do so for our therapists. We have a great therapy team right now! They have learned so much and gained invaluable experience over the past few years together at Agape. Losing any one of them would have a huge impact on our department and Agape as a whole. Unfortunately, in order to keep the cost of rehabilitation as affordable as possible for patients, Agape cannot continually raise the salaries of our employees. It is truly a difficult situation. 

I consider each of our employees to be a domestic missionary. I witness frequent, often daily, conversations in our rehab gym about God or the Bible. God uses our therapists not only to impact patients physically, but also spiritually. I understand this is a difficult time financially for many people, but if you believe God is leading you to help support one of these Ukrainian missionaries, please contact me ( and we will discuss how that is possible. Even a small amount can have a huge impact since their salaries are roughly $300-475/month. If you cannot or do not feel you should give financially, please pray with us that God would provide this need and continue to provide for Agape and all of its employees in the future. Thank you to all who stand with us in prayer! May your life join the heavens in testifying of God!

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." 
Ps 19:1