Stories in the Missional Journey of Bruce & Deborah Crowe

To catch a thief.

The last thing I want to write about is this.  The wounds are fresh.  However, in keeping with the past 7yrs and our blog journey in Ukraine, I need to keep it real and jot things down.

A couple weeks ago we noticed Deb’s laptop was missing.  We eventually came to terms with the fact that it was stolen from our kids school room which leads to our deck.  We have so many neighbor kids wandering about, we figured it was one of them.  However we remember an odd thing around this time, our power went out in our house around 3am.   That’s not entirely strange here, but the fact that we had to manually power the house back up at the breaker is strange, usually the whole town or neighborhood just goes off/on without having to touch the breaker box.

Deb grieved about it, she loved her little macbook air.  Fast forward to this past Sunday morning, I awoke to a house without power.  I was racing to go to Kiev for church, so I didn’t think much about it.  It wasn’t until I saw the breaker box was manually shut off again that my mind began swarming with bad thoughts.   I immediately checked the outside door to the basement, locked, good.   Noah then remarked how he had shut the balcony window the morning because it was too cold – ouch.  Not good.  We have generally been inconsistence with our windows and door lockings – we know better, but who in their right mind would come into our house with all of us actually there?

The first thing I noticed was my wallet.  It was in the same place I left it at night, but completely empty.  We don’t use banks here, and almost always have a lot of cash on hand between Cafe and personal needs daily.  I had just returned from the bank for costly vehicle fixes, and had an unordinary amount of US and HRV on hand, over $700!  It pains me to write that, it’s a lot of money to us, and for the Ukrainian friends more than 2 months wage.   Thankfully all my credit cards, and drivers license were not taken.

Then we noticed our older macbook (a hand me down from our texas business) was missing the power adapter.  This is very strange because the batter doesn’t work in it, and requires the adapter.  Tucker had been using it the night before.  The thief we think had returned for the macbook air power supply, grabbed the wrong cord.

We then noticed today my Canon t3i is gone, it was also in the kitchen area.  The bad and adapter was left, and extra lens.  I loved that camera.  Now I feel Deb’s pain.

For those of you that have had things pinched, you know how this works.  You immediately begin assuming more things were taken, but you have no idea how to actually look for those things – out of sight, out of mind.  It’s not until through the course of every day life you begin to realize the extent of the crime – sometimes it’s not for months.  I have bought so many gas cans.

What really hurts, is the betrayal of your fellow man.  The fact that someone came into your personal property, right into your home where your children lay asleep – and snooped about – something fierce wells up inside that is uncommon.  I’m discouraged by the loss of property, but that’s nothing new here for us – we’ve had 4-5 bikes, phones, scooters, toys, all kinds of small and large things taken in our 7yrs. I was doing the math yesterday and between some bad property deals and items from our property, we’ve lost about $2k per year.   I know other missionaries in other countries where that is chump change compared to their losses.  Only once have we, that we know of, had an intruder – and the previous time it was only a small 12yr old kid.   This could be a kid as well, or a few teenagers, we don’t know – but I feel like someone has crossed a serious line, and I am doing all I can to seek justice and wising up to our home security neglect.

This time I have included the police, and worked through their channels.  A few years ago I wouldn’t have done this, and didn’t when things went missing.   The government is trying to change, there is an improved civic pride (albeit slowly improving), and I figured if anything, we’d get to know better the different police and investigators.  One of them is interested in English nights.  They came to our house, reviewed and took fingerprints (probably most of my kids, but we do have a few solid spots they touched).  I also went to some of our previous ‘contacts’ within the Rz Jr. KGB, some reformed bad teens that have stolen from us in the past, but have become allies.  Their names are protected, they are undercover and work for rewards!

The more I investigate myself, the more information I’m finding out about crime in our town and others close by.  The inspectors who came last night, were on their 5th crime scene of the day!  They said crime has increased at least double from the same time as last year.  I wrote about this last year, as a real concern as people legitimately go hungry, struggle to survive – I don’t give excuse to what these guys do, but many people are desperate, and that desperations is increasing – it will increase here in Ukraine until the economy gets some legs, the warring with Russia is resolved to a greater degree – I think this winter is going to be the most difficult winter for a majority of ‘regular’ Ukrainians in a long, long time.  I think this is part of the political plan, to bring a nation to it’s knees, to concessions that have been long established – when people turn on each other, when the strong are forced to rule the week for their own protection – insurrection, riots, instability.

Anyway, enough pondering.  Deb returns tomorrow, we are so excited to see them all back.  We will be dumping our two oldest on an island for a week with 100 other believers as the annual Camp 120 resumes.  We’re hoping to be able to do something fun with the rest of the crew.  After a couple weeks minus Deb, I’m ready to take her on our own island, some deserted remote place – as long as it has AC.




1 Comment

  1. Tim Schwab

    Sorry that this happened to your family Bruce.I had corn stand there over winter and the amount of corn they steal is amazing.They picked off by hand 60feet all the way around the fields.Keep up the great effort and we pray for your family and ministry.

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