Partners in the Gospel Bring Light to Dark Places
Have you ever prayed for someone you read about in this newsletter? Ever sent a contribution to our ministry? Then we thank you for what St. Paul called “your partnership in the gospel” (Phil 1:5).
Just as Thoughts of Faith’s supporters are partners in the work done by Gift of Life, Gift of Life partners with others to do as the letter to the Hebrews instructs: “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb 13:16).
One such partner is the Children’s Regional Clinical Hospital in Ternopil, Ukraine. For years, the hospital has supported Gift of Life’s (GoL) Medical Clinics on Wheels (MCOW) by providing low-cost housing for the huge buses which have been converted into mobile clinics. From their garage, the clinics travel to orphan homes, small towns, and churches of the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. It is also where they serve needy patients during winter. This complex is MCOW’s home base, providing essential care given to Ukrainians who need it.
This year, GoL had an opportunity to return the favor to the hospital which has blessed our work for so long. Though it is a public hospital and the main one in the region serving over 200,000 children, its resources are scarce. Annually, about 1,600 children in the region have had serious accidents that need surgery. For years funds have not been available to purchase a C-Arm X-ray machine which can show a 360-degree view of, for example, a broken arm. But C-Arm equipment is expensive—even a used unit costs more than $35,000. The head physician of the hospital, Dr. Gregory Korytskyi, mentioned to Nicholas Laper, GoL Director, the need for such a machine.
Medical Bridges is a Houston based company which recycles used medical equipment and provides it to various organizations. Gidget Swift of Medical Bridges located a refurbished C-Arm to donate to the hospital. You would think the work was done; however, a long and complicated process began. It took almost two years to sort out proper documentation satisfying all the parties, to arrange delivery from the USA to Ukraine and clearing customs, to re-launch and adapt the equipment to 220 volts / 50 Hertz and the metric system, and to work with everything in an utterly foreign language.
Funding for the shipment was provided by a ToF donor who happily paid the $2,400. The greatest day of all was not when the C-Arm arrived in Ternopil but when the hospital reinstalled the sophisticated software and declared that it did indeed work! Before then it could have been scrap metal!
The C-Arm has been in regular use at Ternopil Children’s Regional Hospital since early 2020. Dr. Gregory Korytskyi reports, “You cannot imagine how happy we are. It is not simply an X-Ray machine; it is our dream! We are very thankful to all the people involved in this project for such tremendous help and care for our little patients.” A 7-year-old girl with a broken leg became the first patient to take advantage of this equipment. Trauma doctors explained that before the C- Arm, patients had to have a regular x-ray image done prior to the surgery. After the bones were fixated by surgery, the patient, still under anesthesia, was transported to a different room for another x-ray to make sure the bones were positioned properly requiring extra work, more anesthesia, much bigger incisions. Now the C-Arm is used “on-the-fly” and surgeons can see what’s going on all the time. Praise the Lord!
Thoughts of Faith’s mission is to spread the Gospel. Along the way, we have developed supportive relationships with organizations and people (like Children’s Regional Hospital, Medical Bridges, and you!) that do what Paul encouraged: “Share with God’s people who are in need” (Rom 12:13a). We are thankful for every “partnership in the Gospel”.
Rev. Steven P. Petersen with Roman Khodzinskyi
NOTE — Rev. Steven P. Petersen located Medical Bridges for Gift of Life. Roman Khodzinskyi, Assistant to GoL’s Director, was the link between the company, shipping, customs, and the hospital.