Treasures of the Heart

Providing Humanitarian Aid for Orphans, Sick Children, and Children in Need.
Russia, Republic of Georgia, Sri Lanka, India, and Haiti

Contact Us:  (409) 898-1937
Email Updates - 2009
An amazing story of God reaching
across an ocean to save children.

by Howard Barlow
Father, blind seeing eyes!

Dr. Natalia emailed Stephanie, in December of 2000, and told her how she needed Procarbazine, the drug used to treat her patients, children, with Hodgkin's Disease. This is a cancer Dr. Natalia sees frequently, as her children's hospital is in southern Russia, near Chernobyl, Ukraine, site of the world's worst radiation disaster. There was an unusual problem, though. The manufacturer, Roche, of Switzerland, had sold out to Sigma Tau, in Italy. Though Dr. Natalia usually received the drug through Germany, with Roche out of production, there was none in all of Europe. Sigma Tau was getting ready for production, but they didn't expect it to be available for four months. That meant April before the children would have this chemotherapy they needed so desperately. However, there was Procarbazine, now known as Matulane, in the US.

When children are dying, and nothing can be done about it, something must be done. Satan had thrown down the gauntlet. Stephanie and Donna picked it up. They began making plans. Stephanie called Sigma Tau's corporate office in Italy to explain the circumstances. Sigma Tau agreed this was not an acceptable situation and contacted their USA branch immediately. After several days, Carrie Tuttle with the USA branch of Sigma Tau offered the drugs to Treasures at no cost. This was to be no small gift, on their part. They would get it to us, if we could get it into Russia. They could not get it in legally, because there was a glitch.

There are always glitches. Since the name had been changed to Matulane, Procarbazine no longer existed. The Russian government approved of Procarbazine, but not Matulane, it would be an illegal drug there, as its name did not appear on their approved lists. How could we get it to the doctor, and the children? The only way would be for someone to carry it in on their person. Remember though, our God reigns.

Donna, Stephanie, Pastor Monty, and I were planning a trip to Russia and Georgia in March. But, the kids couldn't wait until March. We didn't know how we would get it there early, we just needed the drugs, the travel plans were up to God.

During this time, Stefan, our 23 year old son, called Stephanie for help getting a visa to return to Russia to see a friend. "Would you be willing to carry a chemo drug into Russia with you? It's not exactly legal, but children need it, and they can't wait for us in March." She went on to explain the Doctor's letter, and the circumstances, to him. Stefan said he would take it. As it turned out, this would cause him to miss contact with his friend by two weeks. He would incur extra expenses, and time, but he would not consider missing the opportunity to carry the drugs. What a coincidence, or was God designing a plan?

Donna got busy trying to find an inexpensive, last minute airfare to Moscow. If you travel by air, you know there is no such thing as "inexpensive, last minute" airfare. She had done well finding a $575 fare for our trip in March, as they are usually over $1100. But God's children had a need and He had a willing servant. So He started arranging airfares, at least one, $450, roundtrip, Dallas to Moscow. Stefan had wanted to leave on Friday, February 1st, but the constraints of Lufthansa's travel specials wouldn't allow it. He would have to leave on Saturday, February 2nd, instead.

In one of our planning meetings, Pastor Monty was telling us about a missionary, Brother Andrew, and how he smuggled Bibles into former Soviet bloc countries. Brother Andrew would fill duffle bags with his illegal contraband, and set about the Lord's business. Once, as he exited the train, customs officials were searching everything and everyone. As they approached him, knowing prison awaited him if caught, he started praying, "Father, you have made blind eyes see, now make seeing eyes blind." Upon finishing a search on the person next to him, the official turned and walked past Andrew, and proceeded to thoroughly inspect the next person. He never saw Andrew, it was as though he was blind. Once again, our God reigns.

One problem solved, but too much time was ticking by. Now we needed the drugs. Carrie Tuttle with Sigma Tau told Stephanie they would send them that week. Everyone was excited, everyone was nervous, including Dr. Natalia. She couldn't believe what was going on in the US. She was excited, but she was worried about Stefan and customs. In fact, she was hesitant, and strongly advised against his trip. Being a former communist, turned Christian, she knew the possibilities. She continued to worry.

A week went by, no drugs. Another week went by. Do we need to worry about getting it after all? By now it's Monday, Jan. 28th. Stephanie makes another call to Sigma Tau. "I'll get back to you", was the reply. Sigma Tau calls back. "It's going out today." Tuesday, Wednesday, no UPS truck to be seen. More phone calls, "His plane is on Saturday. He can't go without the drugs." Had God changed His plan? Thursday on the phone Carrie Tuttle said, "I am so sorry. I will handle this myself. I will take it to UPS and overnight it, now." Friday morning, 10:00a.m., the brown truck rolls in. Success! There were three bottles of pills, about the size of aspirin bottles. 300 doses of chemotherapy is no small dollar amount. 300 doses of chemo is no small thing, ask the kids waiting for it. Stefan was to take in one bottle on his trip. Donna and Stephanie would take one each with them, in March.

If you haven't noticed yet, we serve the God of "coincidences". God knew Satan would fight all the way. He knew the drugs would be delayed until Friday. He knew Stefan's flight would cause him to leave before the drugs would arrive. Now Stefan knew why his flight had been delayed until Saturday.

Saturday morning, with tears in our eyes, after praying Brother Andrew's prayer over our son, we said goodbye to Stefan as he walked down the Lufthansa ramp. We were sending our "baby" to Russia, alone, to face the customs gate, drugs in hand. As we swelled with pride, we worried. But why be so foolish? We reminded each other, Stefan wasn't traveling alone, our God reigns.

Inching closer, carrying one bag, shuffling another along the floor with his foot, he couldn't help being concerned. There he was, glaring at him, the Russian customs officer standing at the all-seeing x-ray machine, complete with a countertop to empty your pockets on. "What are you trying to bring into my country?" was on his face, to everyone that dared venture forth. "What if he finds it? What are my chances of being caught? I know I don't want to go to prison in Russia. Will he understand why I'm doing this? Will he care?" All the while, our God reigns.

"The Black Hole of Russia" loomed, as he placed his bags on the conveyor belt. Stefan handed over his passport. The Russian official placed his stamp, as he turned his back to the screen to speak to Russian travelers. The bag was through, the passport was stamped, the seeing eyes were blind. Stefan picked up his bags, and disappeared into the snow.

She couldn't believe it, even though she had been told to expect it. Dr. Natalia beamed with excitement as Stefan and Vitaly, straight from their 12-hour train ride, entered her office. No searches, no prisons! He was here! The Matulane was here! It was a time of rejoicing! The Hand of God had once again pierced the hopelessness of the impossible. There were 100 Matulane pills in Europe; Dr. Natalia was holding them in her hand. Remember, OUR GOD REIGNS!

Stefan was present when Dr. Natalia began her task of dispensing the medicine to the children. What a humbling experience he had standing there; knowing God had trusted him with such a plan for these dying children. Was it any wonder he walked through? After all, we know Who the medicine was really for.

Matt.25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

Matt.25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.

Stefan was reminded of God's provision when he arrived in Samara, Russia, as he continued on his journey. Even though Samara is a university town, with many American students, he was searched 3 times between the plane and the exit gate. The events at the gate in Moscow were no accident. His Intercessor was waiting.

UPDATE: October 2002
The young girl in the photo on the right was given the first dose of Matulane Stefan delivered.
Praise God, two years later, she is still in remission.

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