Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Looking Back Part 6: Cage and Birthdays

This is Part 6 of the Looking Back series, previous parts are Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Two years ago yesterday (Tuesday) was a Saturday, and a very hard day for all of us. It was the day we visited the cage. And no, we were not at a zoo, we were at the institution. The cage is where they kept the men they considered to be dangerous. They sat in a shed with tin on 2 1/2 sides, and bars on the rest. Yes, bars, like at a zoo.

They sit there all. day. long. All. year. round. (They have a little less time outside during the winter, but still.) They eat inside, and sleep inside, but otherwise they sit there all. day. long. Doing nothing. Nothing to look at. Nothing to do. Nothing.

And that is life for these 50 men. Men who are "dangerous" and "insane". Well I think that sitting there doing nothing for a good chunk of my life would make me "dangerous" and "insane" too. But do they look "dangerous" and "insane" to you???

After walking past the cage every day, we had decided that we were going to spend a day in there with them, doing our "camp" of games, crafts, and ridiculous skits with them. So we did. :)
A skit we did. Which was about a fire, and a EMT, which probably made zero sense to those guys. It probably just entertained them how ridiculous it was. ;)
Pretty Baby!
Game Time
It's kind of hard to see the writing on the balloon, but it has Russian on the top, then is says No. 8, and below that "Doktor" Watson. The man who wrote this knew 4 languages - Russian, English, French, and Spanish. Why was he in the institution you ask?? Because he was in a car accident, and his family didn't want to pay for the surgery he needed, so they took all his stuff and sent him to the institution!! :(
And sadly, how he got there is not an isolated case.
This is a bad picture of him, but this man had Epilepsy. Which is what all the blue stuff on his head is - cuts and bruises from his seizures. He had several a day. We all prayed over him this day we were in the cage, and when we talked to him the end of the next week before we left, and he had not had another seizure since!! Praise God!!! Thank you Jesus for healing him!! Miracles, you gotta love them! :)
We taped their pictures they decorated with their name in English and Russian up on the wall

Still a daddy, even in Ukraine (wait a minute... he actually became daddy to two more while in Ukraine on other trips!)

A couple more things about the cage that I want to put out there to help you understand some things:

-- As for our personal safety, we were not concerned about that. At all. While these men were supposedly "dangerous", they might have been at one point, but were definitely not when we were there. And none of us (including me) felt unsafe at any point while we were there. I wouldn't have gone in by myself, but I don't think any of us would have. But I never felt threatened or nervous. In fact the only place my whole trip where I did feel unsafe was in the Germany airport... Frankfurt, I think.

-- Max says this is the only place in Ukraine where they have a cage with bars. And it is illegal for them to do this. The government could find out about it and do something about it if they did their homework, but they don't care. Whatsoever. Yes, we could file a complaint, but what would it do? Nothing.

If you haven't been there or had any experience with the government/authorities, you probably wouldn't understand this. You might think we are just being lazy and don't feel like doing anything about it. Not the case. If there was something we could do, us or Max would do it to get them out of there.

But Ukraine is not America, and doesn't work like America. It's not as easy to fix things there like it is here. And that doesn't just go for this situation, but many other things that happen there.


We only spent the morning at the institution, and the rest of the day we spent at the open market and Chelantanos (the pizza place). It was also Marge's birthday!
Our cooks and Marge with her flowers from them
Brooke (right) and I on the way to the market
**Interesting Ukrainian fact - Another thing you will totally get if you've been to Ukraine and seen it (no worries, no pictures of it) is the "changing rooms" in the market. Which are not changing rooms at all. LOL Basically, if you want to try something like a shirt on, take it off the hanger or rack, take off your shirt just standing there in the open, and try the new one on. Seriously. One lady did it when we were in the market, and dad turned away and told me to tell him when she was done. ;)

When we were back in Kiev at the end of the trip walking thru the mile-long-market I wanted to get a Ukrainian shirt. So I found a design I liked and was holding up several different sizes on me to see which one looked like it would fit best (all the sizes were European sizes so I didn't know). The seller, speaking no English, motions for me to take off my shirt. Um... no thanks. LOL I quickly said "Nyet Nyet" (No no) and proceeded to pick out the one I thought was best. ;)
The Open Market
If you've been to Ukraine, this looks familiar, no? ;)
Interesting shirt... very Ukrainian! ;)
Wild pants... lol
At  Chelantanos - J Brian the duck(??)
The Birthday Girl! :)
Tim, Roma, and Alice
Marni :)
Two years ago today (Weds) was a Sunday, and we went to Pastor Galina's church. Pastor Galina is Gregory's wife. Gregory's church (1200+ a Sunday) is the mother church, and Galina's which is across town is the second largest of about 600 a Sunday. No surprises this time. :) But it was Pastor Galina's birthday, so the church was all decorated!
Is this not the most AWESOME balloon decoration ever?
(Sorry Baby Cakes and Sparky, you're still pretty awesome too! :P)

J Brian preaching with Yulia translating
In the afternoon, before the evening service there was a youth service. Tim, Brooke, and I went to it. All I remember is: 
  1. It was SOOOO LOUD, that it left my ears ringing.
  2. They played a Barlow Girl song
  3. I went into the bathroom looking for Brooke before we left, and since it seemed empty except for one stall (no Turkish toilets here people!), I asked (in English of course) if Brooke was in here. I freaked out when someone answered in English, "No, it's just me." I left the bathroom and waited discreetly near the door to see who it was, it was just one of the Yulias. :)
Back at Pastor Gregory's church for the evening service - the Worship
I have to say, that I like the worship at Galina's church much better, but both were still so amazing you can't really compare. :)
Dad and Alice went out to a country church on Sunday night with another one of the Yulias (there were 3 or 4!) to translate
Dad, the Pastor, his wife, his daughter, and Alice
The gifts the church gave them - Goat's milk, eggs, and a coconut. :)
I was REALLY wanting to try some of the goats milk (it was cold, ok?) but it got left out and was spoiled by the next morning. :(
Sorry for the ultra long post. I think that sums up Part 6! Thanks for reading!


  1. WOW I have really enjoyed reading all about your mission trip. It breaks my heart though to see how people are treated, I pray some day everyone on this earth will be treated the way God wants them to be!

  2. You are such an awesome person. Love ya!!


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