Treasures Medical Mission to Russia - June 2005

It appears to us, our season in Voronezh has come to an end.  While sharing with Lena, one of our interpreters, about finding new places to serve, she said, "My mom is a doctor and the government just cut their budget.  She could use help." 

"Lena, you have helped us for years and never mentioned your mom." 

"You never asked," she said with a smile.

This is the hardest emotion we Texans have to learn, not everyone spills their guts to you the moment you meet them!  We laugh all the time, you have to pry information from Russians, even our friends.  You have to ask the right question, they are more than happy to answer...but you have to know the questions. 

Lena's mom works in Murom, about 2 hours southeast of Vladimir, in a small clinic housed in an apartment building.  In the region, there are 6 clinics which feed into one hospital.  These small clinics are band-aid and thermometer types.  But, alas, they had neither.  If a patient cannot make it into the clinic, the doctor goes to them.  When the illness is too much for the clinic, the patient is transported to the regional hospital.  Doctors?   House calls?  In this day and age???

We asked if we could visit.  Within 5 minutes, we were scheduled not only to see her mom, but the head of the regional hospital, as well.  When things happen this quickly in Russia, you know GOD is on the move!

It is our policy to never go empty handed on a visit. Guess what? SHOPPING!  Lena said she knew of a medical supply store we could visit.  The next morning we loaded the wagons and headed for the "medical supply" store in Vladimir.

We had a bunch of newbies with us on this trip.  Can you believe they questioned where we were taking them when we left the city, onto the semi-dirt road, past the dump, through an overgrown fence, and up to an abandoned looking warehouse.  Where is their faith?  Don't all doctors and hospitals shop in places like this?

We entered the building into one large room with small rooms to the left, right, and ahead.  The first room was the instrument sales.  We purchased blood pressure cuffs, glucose monitors, and first class stethoscopes.  The purchase only took 45 minutes, sonic speed for Russia.

We then moved to the "pharmacy", where we purchased band-aides, thermometers, antibiotics, antibiotic creams, gauze, lab coats, gloves, and much more.  We had saved some sutures for the clinic from the ones we had brought for the hospital.

While we cleaned out the pharmacy, Stephanie went into the next room.  She said it had several old Russian wardrobes filled with dirty cardboard boxes.  As the interpreters were still the pharmacy, she had to guess the contents.  She said, "Come on, Lord, let me know what to buy."  If she had peace about a box, she said she purchased one item. "That's why I came out with such an unusual mix of things."   We had vaginal speculums, forceps to hold the suture needle, scissors to cut the sutures, scissors to remove sutures, blunt end bandage cutting scissors, and much more.



Checking quality

If he only had a heart

Howard checks Lena's BP

The pharmacy

A new coat for her mom

Making the list and checking it twice

Our merry group headed for Murom

We were treated to fields of beautiful flowers. The clinic The stairs

Poor construction and damage from winter freezes

Greetings from the regional director The goodies

Dental Office

Holding room Treatment Room Baby Exam Kitchen

Exam Room

Remodeling Pharmacy Storage cabinet Lena & Mom

Our welcome meal

OK, I don't think I can eat that. What troupers!!! I think I ate a fish head!

When we asked the director what we could do for them, the only thing they asked for was stairs.  She said in the winter, the stairs are almost too dangerous to climb.  They have many elderly patients and the stairs are a hazard.  We paid for new stairs and a landing.  Construction started before we left Russia and should be completed by by mid-July.

Instead of trying to help many areas in small ways, we try to find projects where we can make changes which will last.

Ya'll come back, now!

Don has a
Hot Wheels ministry.

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