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
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
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.