Sunday, January 15, 2023

New Year, Same War

While the war in Ukraine may not often be headline news where you are, let me tell you that it indeed still rages on. Soldiers die fighting, are injured or are declared missing in action, civilians are injured and killed, families are separated, homes are destroyed, electricity and heat and water are cut off for hours or days or weeks, students attempt to learn by flashlight in basements during air alerts, and the list goes on and on. While, by God's grace, we do continue to live in safety here in the western part of Ukraine, we are not untouched by the effects of war and our prayers are continually for Ukraine's victory in the war to come soon.

Collection of Russian missiles and rocket that have been launched at one of Ukraine's major cities

Children and adults suffer from the consequences of Russian shelling

School continues by flashlight in basements when necessary 

Destruction, massive destruction

Below is a picture of one of the power stations struck by a Russian missile on Saturday. One look at the devastation reveals why Ukrainians are living with power outages. Russia has been very intentional with targeting these stations. Our soldiers have successfully destroyed many of the Russian missiles that were launched, but some do get through and the destruction can have wide-reaching and long-lasting consequences. 

Yesterday's missile strikes across Ukraine resulted in a major hit on a multi-story apartment building in the city of Dnipro. One entire section of apartments was destroyed with 30 people killed and another 75 injured (as of this moment). More than 30 people are still missing. Search and rescue efforts continue. Please take a moment to look closely at each of these pictures (below) and consider what Russia has brought with its invasion of Ukraine...nothing but death and destruction...

Aerial view of the damaged apartment building

The residents of this apartment may have even had lunch in this kitchen just hours before the strike

Looking closely at the center of this picture, you will see a red blanket covering a girl sitting in a destroyed apartment waiting for rescuers to reach her. 

Stranded residents used flashlights to alert rescuers of their location

Cranes were used to rescue residents

Rescue and recovery is still taking place amidst the rubble

Our work at Agape continues even as these devastating events occur across Ukraine. Here is a portion of the story of one patient who recently spent a month at Agape. 

Oleksandr and his wife were injured during the summer in an explosion in the city of Bakhmut. As you can see, his injuries resulted in a double amputation as well as hearing and memory loss. His wife has spent the past 5 months in the hospital due to her injuries and is still awaiting a hip replacement before she can begin rehabilitation. His daughter's home was destroyed and she now lives with her small children in a preschool in a city nearby Lutsk. Oleksandr's son died in a car accident 2 weeks before the Russian invasion and his daughter-in-law has also had to flee her home with their small child. This family has been traumatized in countless ways by this war and they represent thousands of families suffering at the hands of the Russians. Please pray for Oleksandr, his family, and the many other families who have lost their homes and been injured and displaced by this war. 
At Agape, we seek to provide professional, individualized rehabilitation to each person who comes to our facility. Along side that, we seek opportunities to speak with them about the love of God and their need for a Savior. God graciously gives us those opportunities both one-on-one during our sessions and in larger settings such as morning devotionals. Please pray we will be faithful to seize these opportunities to point people to the One True Hope. 

A little fun during a PT treatment session

A wounded soldier working on walking again

An outing with my patient to a nearby bakery during our recent treatment session

A small team from Agape was able to make two trips over the past month to the de-occupied region of Kherson, delivering presents for children, medical supplies, and food to people in need. The people in the regions they visited constantly live without heat and electricity and state that they are surviving only because of the work of volunteers. Agape would like to partner with Fimiam Church to continue making these trips as the need truly is great. Please join us in praying for the necessary finances and supplies for these trips and the wisdom to know when and where to go. Below are a few pictures from the recent trips. 

Christmas was officially celebrated only on December 25 by many, if not most, Ukrainians this year. The previously celebrated date of January 7 has connections with the Soviet Union era and is no longer recognized by many Ukrainians. My home group came over after church for food, fellowship and fun together. It was a blessed day! 

I got to spend the three days after Christmas in the village with friends, mostly playing games and relaxing!

And last week we hosted our team of therapists for our annual Christmas party. Even Vadim was in Ukraine at the time and able to come (he and his family are currently living and working in Poland). Katya also got to come as she has returned to Ukraine from the Netherlands and will begin working again at Agape in a couple of weeks! So thankful for time spent with these dear friends who are now family!

We tried to reenact last year's picture but we are still missing three people

Please also join us in praying for Zhanna, our head chef at Agape. Her son was serving in the army on the front lines and has been declared missing. Several members of his team say he was killed but no body has been recovered so that is not official. Please pray for Zhanna is this obviously difficult time of waiting, that God would be her refuge and strength!

I trust and pray you all had a blessed holiday season and that the coming year will be filled with God's blessings in your lives. Thank you to all who pray for us and support us. If you would like to donate to the needs of Agape, please visit and click "Donate."

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