Thursday, July 4, 2024

The Cost of Independence

While Americans celebrate the independence of our country today, Ukrainians continue the fight to retain their independence. The effects of this war are seen, heard and felt daily all across this country and the cost that war continues to require from the people of Ukraine is great... 

For all in Ukraine, THE COST is currently alterations of our daily lives due to hours of planned power outages. The power outages are necessary due to persistent Russian shelling of Ukrainian energy infrastructure resulting in an inadequate amount of power for the system. This month there are also planned take downs of partially functioning power stations for repairs, further limiting electricity nationwide. As a result, we all live without power up to 12-14 hours per day (in 2-4 hour increments). Thankfully, the next day's schedule is published late each evening, so we have some awareness of what to expect each day, but that does not eliminate the need to alter our lives and plans. Tasks such laundry, cooking, and bathing are not necessarily done when desired, but when power is available. Some houses and apartments are also without water when there is no electricity. Some have gas stoves for cooking, but many homes operate fully on electricity. definitely helps that it is summer because it is warm and also light late into the evening. If this continues into winter, however, it will be much more difficult to cope. 

PRAYER: Please pray for successful repairs of the energy system and protection of the power stations from further shelling. 

For some THE COST is constantly feeling the weight of uncertainty regarding army mobilization. A new law passed in May increasing the requirements for men aged 18-60 to update their information with the army and the penalties if they do not. By completing the process, however, they also increase their risk of being mobilized. Even men with legitimate reasons that previously exempted them from army service (certain disabilities or medical diagnoses, for example) have had great difficulty completing the process, basically being given the runaround. They all understand the difficulty and the risk, so it is very challenging time for men and families. By law, men have until July 16 to comply with the requirements of the new law. 

PRAYER: Please pray in particular for the men at Agape. First of all, pray for their hearts to have peace at a time filled with anxiety. Pray that they would continue to trust God's good plan for their lives. And pray, if it be the Lord's will, that they would not be mobilized by the army.

For some THE COST is financial and material. Ukrainians, as well as many people abroad, continue donating for the needs of the army and for civilians living in the de-occupied territories of Ukraine. Teams from Agape and from Fimiam Church make routine trips to the east of Ukraine to deliver aid. 

PRAYER: Please pray for continued financial provision for supplies and travel as well as safety for the men. 

For many THE COST is safety and sleep. Russian shelling in the night awakens people all across Ukraine to the sound of air alert sirens and explosions. Of course, the intensity and frequency vary based on location in Ukraine, but few are completely exempt. Although the air alert sirens can often be heard in Lutsk, we fall into the "not frequent" category for actual explosions. About 2 weeks ago, however, we were targeted and the visible and audible explosions in our night sky were Ukrainian air defense systems shooting down Russian drones. Praise the Lord the only damage was from falling debris, but it was a good reminder that we are never completely safe as long as Russia continues to attack this country. The picture below shows the missiles and drones launched at Ukraine that particular night. Lutsk is located in the upper left where the yellow lines converge. 

PRAYER: Please pray for God's protection day and night for Ukraine. Pray that air defense systems function properly and effectively to protect people, structures and cities. Pray for the provision of necessary weapons to continue this fight.

For too many THE COST is their lives or their health. This is the cost we witness most often at the Agape Rehabilitation Complex. We continually have soldiers and/or civilians injured in the war undergoing rehabilitation. Their injuries are often devastating and leave them with permanent disabilities. Here are just a few from the recent months...

Please follow these links to patient videos:

Of course, we also still have many patients undergoing rehabilitation at Agape who were not injured in the war. Our team has added 3 therapists over the past year, so we are now able to treat a larger number of patients consistently. 

PRAYER: Please pray for the patients undergoing rehabilitation. Pray that they will improve physically and meet their goals. Many of our patients are young and middle-aged men and their injuries have significantly altered their lives, how they relate to others and their ability to provide for their families. Please pray that while providing physical rehabilitation, we can also be a source of emotional and spiritual support.

I have described only a few of the costs of war in Ukraine. The price for freedom is high and it is ongoing in Ukraine. Please continue to pray for Ukraine and Ukrainians. 

If you have a desire to help support the Agape Rehabilitation Complex, please visit our website:

Pray for victory to come soon to this beautiful country! 

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