Second Team Email
Vladimir and Suzdahl, Russia
No matter how hard we try to prepare the team for life in Russia, the hardships still take most by surprise.
Our first day was a recuperating day for the dental team and a scheduling day for everyone not needing sleep. We visited the "Baby House" to take gifts of toys and medications. After lunch, the team divided into shoppers and dentists. The shoppers "Power Shopped" for a brand new Husqvarna 365 chain saw for Barskoe. We had already purchased a new Makita drill and saber saw in Moscow. The guys in our "Friends and Families of Treasures" will be impressed, ladies just think of Dooney bags from Dillard's and you will understand.
The dental team... Dr. Sam, Dr. Gerard, Dr. John, Dr. Rick and their assistants visited their offices. They were all surprised...no, stunned. Apparently, photos of dental equipment take about 10 years off their age. We were not prepared for the antiquated circumstances. Oh, and did we forget to mention. no water in the entire region! No water for drills, no water for rinse and spit, no water for toilets. They had to learn you can do dentistry without suction. it is not easy, but it can be done. The amalgamator, the mixing device for mixing filling materials (or filling shaker-upper) works only if it wants to. Sometimes it does not want to. With true pioneering spirit, the team chose a positive outlook.
The shoppers arrived at Barskoe Gorodische to deliver the proclamation from Mayor Evelyn Lord to Director Alex and wife Tatyana, they viewed the rooms for VBS, and the rooms to be painted. Tools and gifts were presented to the orphanage. Alex had further details to the Potato Patch Miracle. Last year the crop failed after 74 days without rain. This year after 94 days without rain, they harvested the Miracle Crop! What a testimony to these folks. Alex reminded the children of Treasures' potato prayer in the field. Everyone cheered as God was given the Glory. We paused to include the children in a prayer of thanksgiving. Last spring 40 apple trees and 20 pear trees were purchased. We had to wait for fall to plant them. All 60 have taken root. We explained Jessica's vision for the reception room mural, which brings us to the only sad news (for her family), Jessica may not be returning home with us. Alex was overjoyed with her ideas. He has offered to provide her with a Russian husband, a home, and 2 pigs if she will stay. Jessica is considering her options! But take heart, we have never left a team member behind. Of course, no one has faced such a tempting offer before.
At 2:00 am, as we worked on name tags for the children, Barry's unruly luggage made its way from Moscow to Vladimir. The team was grateful, Barry could finally change his clothes!
Oct 1st and 2nd
The painters awoke with the chickens and traveled on the first van to BG. Bud, Don and Frankie fought the rain but put in a 1/2 day of laying the playrooms carpet and then a 1/2 day full of painting.
The VBS team followed in the next van to begin a 3 day Bible School for the children. Mary Ann. Barry, Melissa and co. along with our Russian friends,
had crafts, music (we are so proud of our team learning praise songs in Russian), Bible lessons, and more. As usual, plans never go as planned, but our team of professionals led a full day of fun and learning. Even if the schedule had to be adjusted to "Russian Time", the most important appointment was kept... fun and fellowship as our team became fathers and mothers to the fatherless and motherless.
The dentists, their assistants, and each translator boarded the vans with all their equipment and supplies. The first hour is best described as complete chaos. It was not long before a well organized team emerged. They hit their stride as translators became assistants, assistants became technical directors, and dentists performed as efficiently, if not as easily, as on their home court. These four men all said they saw things only described in medical books, such as children with 50 year old teeth! Children, starving for a personal touch, elbowed their way to the head of the line. Kids showed disappointment when their friends were chosen ahead of them. Have you ever known of kids fighting to get in the dentist chair?
The individual stories are too heartbreaking and detailed to elaborate on this email of rejoicing. PLEASE, PRAY FOR THESE CHILDREN, we are asking God to relieve the inevitable pain while speeding a healthy recovery, free of infection.
Billy and Stefan went on a cyber spending spree. They purchased a complete computer system for the Voronezh Children's Hospital and a modem to get Alex online. What a wonderful blessing for each institution. Communications for Treasures and our Russian partners can only get better. Added bonus, Dr. Natalia now has access to the wealth of healing knowledge she can obtain on the internet.
Donna blessed the interpreters and their wives with fabulous new stylish clothes donated by an area boutique. A highlight in their lives. Many had never had a proper dress before. They felt and looked like ladies!! Sherri assisted Donna with this delightful task!
The Bible School was a resounding success. We cannot say enough about Mary Ann and her preparation. The children loved the crafts! Each child received a new Bible and their hand made bags were filled with gifts.
At the end of the day, Barbara and Dr. Charles made apple crisps, while Howard and Losha hunted for ice cream in the beautiful village of Suzdahl. Timing is everything when there is no available freezer. Mission was accomplished, with warm apple crisps a-la-mode for everyone! This was the children's first ice cream. We made a solemn promise to Drs. Sam, Gerrard, John, and Rick: this would be Treasures "LAST" sugar treat for our little treasures. Yeah right, I see this promise being kept, rrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight!
Then, the highlight was when Bud and Barbara gave each girl a beautiful, life-size doll. It comforted our hearts to know these girls now have their very own doll to sleep with each night. A few of the 15 to 16 year old girls, returning from their dental appointment, cried thinking they had been left out. What joy when the director showed them to the locked room where their dolls were safe and sound.
The mural that Jessica painted at the Barskoe Gorodische Orphanage was stunning. She painted Director Alex and his wife Tatyana and a group of the orphans. It was adorable.... Also some animated farm animals. Much to their amazement... Jessica painted a cow just like theirs and a horse just like their horse "Chocolate". Of course... Jessica had never seen their animals!!
The children and staff loved the new playrooms. They were amazed and delighted when they came down the dark staircase to the basement rooms. There were two rooms a boys' and a girls'. The boys' room is filled with Legos, trains, trucks, cars, games, tables, Lincoln Logs, karaoke players, and shelves. The girls' newly painted white room was aglow with treasures. There is a nurturing center with dolls, prams, baby beds, clothes lines, and doll clothes. A dress up center occupies one corner of the room. Beautiful white organza curtains, accented with gold stars and braid, make for a fairy-tale dream come true. They have wedding and prom dresses to complete the Cinderella story. The opposite side of the room has a complete kitchen. Tables and chairs, tea sets, pots and pans, bake ware, and plastic food galore! We carried everything from pots and pans, burners, knobs, to real faucets. Yes, we even carried the kitchen sink from America!! The children were allowed into the playrooms 6 girls and 6 boys at a time. As they entered, they gasped with disbelief and delight. The last time they came down these stairs, it was a collapsing, decrepit, dingy cellar used for storing junk. It is now transformed into a children's wonderland any American child would be ecstatic over, much less these Russian children. Once again, it is we who received the greater blessing.
Word spread quickly through the village of the new "gold mine". Some made the trek and were allow entry after the children went to bed that night... They were astounded to see God's provision.
Oct 3rd - ... It snowed today!!!
Dr. Charles, Barry, Melissa and Losha made an early morning visit to the orphanage to check on the dental kids progress. On the way back another car hydroplaned into them. Both vehicles tumbled repeatedly down an embankment. The car was totaled and the roof crushed in. Fortunately... praise God ... Everyone is fine apart from strained muscles, cuts and bruises... We have much to be thankful for...
Gail visited the the school for the blind. Others shopped on the market place for fresh meat, fruit, vegetables, bread and treats. Then they made home visits to single mothers with children and blessed them.
The dentists continued their clinics and we are happy to report all the children are recovering from their treatments without complications or pain.
The team headed for Moscow that night. Our hotel overlooked Red Square. What an amazing sight....
The next day was spent shopping at Izmailovo Market for gifts and souvenirs and sightseeing at Red Square. A great time was had by all.
The departing dental team got to experience God's provision at the airport. Once again, the rules have changed, but once again, God made a way, stay tuned for more details.
Another day in Moscow...
Then the remaining team boarded the train for Voronezh region that night.
One of the most amazing was accomplished when an unnamed photographer left his gazillion dollar camera and bag on the manager's desk in the Rossiya baggage storage room. We hurried to catch the overnight train to Voronezh. After getting all 11 Americans and 4 Russians and tons (we do mean tons) of luggage on the train, the camera bag was missed. We called the storage room hoping it was there and not forgotten in the hotel lobby. Sure enough, it was still there...
Sidebar: Time and again, we have lost, misplaced, or forgotten items from jewelry and chemo, to tickets, cameras, etc. With so much baggage, parts, and pieces, even with best efforts, some items are over-looked. Whether in hotels or trains, the Russian staffs that find such items have always been happy to return them. One did ask for a Hershey bar for returning the chemo, we were happy to oblige. Maxim, our friend, left the train as the door was closing. He stayed in Moscow, as we headed for Voronezh. On his trip the following day, Max's seat mates (4 to a cabin) included a Muslim man, a Jewish woman, and a non-believer. Max was allowed to witness for many hours, as all were eager to listen. As it happened, one of the men, a non-believer and a chief manager of Russian soccer, was staying at our hotel. He invited Max and our team to his game that night. This train ride opened a door and Max entered. They have now formed a friendship and the man has asked to hear more. how wonderful.
Stephanie, Donna, and Howard