If you don’t live in the war zone or if you don’t have a personal story or other connection to the war, it may become a mundane line item in the news. That’s why it is so important to remember the stories and the people whose lives have forever been affected and changed by this terrible war. This is why I share one of these stories with you, as a reminder that the war in Ukraine continues.
I am going to share a story of Oleksandr and Viktoria, a regular family from Zolotonosha. Despite their age, they are newlyweds and have only been married for a few years. In their first year together, Viktoria was diagnosed with cancer. Together, they succeeded to overcome this challenge. When the war started, Oleksandr volunteered for the army. He is over fifty and remarked that it was the duty of his generation to go before the younger men, so they could bring up their kids and rebuild Ukraine after victory. I have never met Oleksandr, but Viktoria describes him as a naive optimist with the strongest desire to live. They have many dreams, planned to travel around Europe and go hiking in the Carpathian Mountains. Unfortunately, the war changed everything. Oleksandr’s unit received heavy artillery fire. For almost four weeks Viktoria could not reach him or find any information about his whereabouts. After weeks of searching, she discovered Oleksandr in a military hospital in Dnipro. He was in an induced coma, with critical wounds to his head, heart, and the entire body. Both of his legs had been amputated along with three fingers on one hand. Viktoria and Oleksandr haven’t lost hope but have a very difficult journey and life ahead.
We cannot help everyone who needs help, but we can use our strengths and expertise to help those we can. For years, starting in 1992, Shepherd’s Foundation has organized medical missions to Ukraine and today, we are once again building on this expertise. Marty Wade, Chair of the Shepherd’s Foundation Board, is currently crossing the border from Poland into Ukraine. Together with our new partners – Greg and Matt, Marty is here to drive our new prosthetics initiative. November 8 through 13 we will be travelling across Ukraine to work with the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the Christian Medical Association, and others to pave the way to provide hope and new limbs to hundreds of soldiers and injured individuals.
Please keep Marty, Greg, Matt, and our team in your prayers! More updates to follow.