"…to the praise of the glory of His grace…" Ephesians 1:6

Reflections, Rest, and Restart

Last month marked a year since my arrival in Lutsk, Ukraine as a full-time missionary, so I spent some time trying to reflect and analyze the year from a variety of aspects.  I looked back at previous blog posts, scanned through pictures, and read letters.  I spent some time in thought about the events of the year and the lessons I have learned.  Instead of documenting all of my conclusions in detail, I will simply say that through all of the ups and downs I am thankful for a faithful God who has provided for my needs and the needs of our ministry.  From wheelchairs for kids like Mark and Polina, to the finances needed to conduct camps and continue construction at the Agape House, to steadying my heart through His Word and the encouragement of others during periods of loneliness and difficulty, to granting me understanding and retention in my Ukrainian studies, to using members of His body to support the work and my presence here through generous financial contributions…the list goes on and on.  As I look ahead to the next year and whatever it may hold, I am grateful that I can look back on the past year and be reminded that nothing is outside the watchful eye and controlling hand of our faithful God. 

So what have we been up to here since camps? Well, our rehab center remains closed and everyone in our ministry has vacation in August, so I filled my time with a trip to the Carpathian Mountains, trips to Kiev, and some relaxation here in Lutsk.  Krista was able to stay after camps ended, so we seized the opportunity to go to the mountains together.  We enjoyed 4 days of hiking and relaxing, taking in the beautiful scenery and fellowshipping together. 

We had one day all together in Kiev!

For Ukraine’s Independence Day, we went to the center of the city to participate in the various events.  One annual tradition in Lutsk is a “Flower Holiday” in the park, where different organizations enter their flower creations in a competition.  They were unique, detailed, and beautiful!

Our rehab center reopened toward the end of August and is now back in full swing with lots of new patients.  Please join us in prayer for additional staff at our rehab center.  We have more and more patients, but less and less staff.  We also need wisdom for how to best organize the work load with our current staff and their various levels of education and training.  I continue to work primarily on the PT training center preparation and my Ukrainian language studies, while assisting at the rehab center on a part-time basis. We are praying for God’s provision of qualified physical therapists to join our team and that we can be ready to open the PT training center some time next year.
In the last bit of news for this post, I got to travel last week to Switzerland with my friend Tanja, who is a quadriplegic.  We participated in the our second and final working conference as part of a European Spinal Cord Injury Federation project we joined last year.  In addition to doing the work of our groups, we had opportunities to share with individuals from other countries about how people with spinal cord injury live in Ukraine and about our ministry and rehab center.  We were able to further develop some contacts and are hopeful that some of our new friends will partner with our ministry.  One man in particular suggested that he can gather used wheelchairs and bring them to us.  Obtaining an appropriate wheelchair in Ukraine can be very difficult and sometimes impossible, so we are always grateful to have wheelchairs at our disposal to distribute to those in need.  After the conference, Tanja and I were blessed to enjoy a couple of days of sightseeing in Zurich before heading back to Ukraine.  

That’s it for now! I hope and pray that all of you are doing well and also having opportunities to testify of the faithfulness of God in your lives!

via: Reflections, Rest, and Restart“>Advancing with a Limp