Treasures Medical Mission to Russia -
Well, another one is in the memory bank.
Our trip to Russia, via Amsterdam, was phenomenal, interesting,
informative, and rewarding. What more can we say? Oh, yeah, and a real
What’s so important in Amsterdam? Medical equipment. FREE medical
equipment. Last Christmas, while we were still in Russia, Mark Nijkamp, a
hospital supply person from Almelo, Netherlands, “stumbled” across
Treasures’ web site. Seeing we had need of certain pieces of medical
equipment, he contacted us to offer help.
Now, ain’t that something? We get a request in Texas, from a hospital in
Russia, and the equipment needed is in storage in Amsterdam. Some would
say, “What a coincidence!” We say, “That’s just like God. He had the
answer, before the request was known.”
All we needed to do was ride the train from our fun trip in Germany, to
Amsterdam. That’s all. Rather simple, huh? Ya think?
On the German trains, we were able to visit with fellow travelers. We met
a couple of young guys from Florida, as well as English speakers from
Hans, Dr. Sam, and I managed to get all the “stuff” on the trains, but
that was an adventure. We marveled as passengers on the trains would carry
our luggage from one train to the next and rush back to their own. God
softens hearts as we step out in faith. People from all over the world,
including two young girls from Argentina and the Florida boys, helped us.
One particularly difficult transfer happened when the train we planned to
take to Amsterdam was full. It was a national holiday in Germany and
everyone was traveling. After we got on our train in Munich, the conductor
told us we absolutely could not continue on this train beyond Frankfurt.
“Anyway,” she said, “you cannot take the connecting train to Amsterdam, as
it is already overbooked. I don’t know how you will get there. Good luck,”
she said. Yeah, well she didn’t know who she was talking to. “You talkin’
She did research the best chance we would have to get seats to Amsterdam.
We would have to run from our train to the next one in three minutes.
Picture nine people, two of them not able to lift luggage, a seven year
old boy, and eighteen pieces of luggage, with three minutes to depart one
train, find the platform, and board the correct car…yeah, right. I see
We knew our train would be a couple of minutes late getting to the
station. Can you say, “tension”? Sure enough, we were late. The other
train, which happened to use the platform adjacent to ours, was nowhere in
sight. Now, ain’t this great? Wait a minute… The other train was “later”
than ours. This really doesn’t happen with European trains. Hmmm…
We told you about our “Train Angel” in Prague, the one that said, “First
Class this way.” Small world, another one appeared from NOWHERE. “First
Class?” He began running our luggage to the place we were to board our
car. By the time the train arrived, he had us all ready to board. As if
that wasn’t enough, he helped pass the luggage to us through the train
door. Can you say, “Gooood tip”?
So, we were all saddled up and on our way to Amsterdam. No problems this
This is the train we wouldn’t be able to get on, remember? Turns out, this
is the exact train we would have boarded in Cologne, had we been able to
continue on the first one. So, we “pre-boarded” our intended train miles
ahead. Guess what? This over-booked, no room at the inn train was less
than half full, a-a-a-l-l-l the way to Amsterdam. Is God good, or what?
We search, plan, organize, and pray. When our searching, planning, and
organizing lets us down…praying steps up to meet our needs. God is always
faithful to send the instruments needed to achieve His mission.
We made it to Amsterdam where Mark donated a Neuropack MEB 5304K (EEG
machine), three IVAC Volumetric infusion pumps, Auto syringe (new in the
box), and a Dia-thermocoagulator (used to cut through the skin while
sealing off the blood vessels as you go during surgery). Everything has an
English manual and every possible spare part. Mark went the extra 125
miles to deliver it to our hotel. Whatta guy!
It is truly a small world; Mark got married while we were in Russia and
honeymooned in the United States!
Trains. Some days trains are really fun, other days trains are really not
fun. On a good day, making connections and getting luggage on a train is
quite a task. Now, we’ve added a roller cart that will barely, or in some
cases, almost, fit through the doors. At times, the connections between
trains were 3 to 5 minutes from one platform to another, down the stairs,
through the hall, then up more stairs.
The train from Amsterdam to Berlin was almost empty, affording our luggage
and machines a private compartment to themselves.
a huge compartment with 10 seats and 3 tables for the journey. We spent
two days in Berlin, seeing the sites and visiting Check Point Charlie.
The next challenge, Dr. Sam and Gail were leaving us and returning to the
USA. We were down to 2 “porters”, 4 women, and a child…PLUS 12 pieces of
luggage and 200 pounds of medical equipment.
The next miracle came by way of a ramp! Out of nine train stations we
this was the only one we ever encountered that had a ramp. Donna was able
to push the EEG trolley to the platform.
After the train, on a 28 hour trip to Moscow, left the station, we asked a
silly question, “Where is the dining car?” “Nyet,” she said, shaking her
head. Oh, this will be fun. 28 hours, no dining car. Always plan ahead.
Buy bags of chips and candy bars. You will be ready for anything.
Actually, we ended up picking up a dining car at a later stop.
We had a terrific time as we traveled through Germany, Poland, Belarus,
and into Russia.
Unlike previous experiences, this train crew was very helpful in so many
ways. But, they did laugh at us as we would get off the train when we
stopped in each country, just to step on the platform. That way we can say
we were in the country. By touching the ground, we can add a pin to our
map of travels.
In Warsaw, we had about 5 minutes before departure. I say, “An opportunity
missed is…well, an opportunity missed.” I bent my eye-ball around the side
of the train. Hallelujah! A kiosk! Open ! With COLD (a relatively unknown
in Europe) Coke! I ran down the platform and got all the cold Cokes I
could carry. It is interesting to see how tiny luxuries become
“necessities”, when you travel.
I offered the man and lady conductors a Coke, as I stepped back on the
train. They were too busy laughing at the crazy Americans to take one.
They graciously declined.
Back onboard, I learned something. When, with a group of Americans in
Europe, one has an armload of cold Cokes, one wields great and unusual
powers. Did you know you can make American adults sit up and beg like a
Cocker Spaniel? Ahhh, power! But, I digress…
The most interesting occurrence on the Berlin to Moscow trip came at about
2 a.m., as our train entered a barn in Poland. Kinda like those, “Well,
the spaceship came from ova thar an jest lifted ma truck up off’n the
ground,” they lifted the train, removed the European wheels, and replaced
them with Russian gauge wheels. There was a lot of banging and clanging,
but it was all done pretty smoothly. Tanya slept through the whole thing,
but what’s new about that?
Donna, Stephanie, Richard, Tanya, Jean, Hans, and I arrived in Moscow on
June 3, with Don, Travis, Angela, Kristen, Myra, and Karen arriving on the
The Neuropack MEB 5304K's
Excellent Adventure to Moscow and
onward to the Vladimir Children's Hospital!
Click to view -The mission begins>>