April 2019

Hello family and friends,

After a grey and dreary winter, spring has made everything green again. Sveta is planting and watering in the orchard and flowers. Her plans for our property continue to develop. My work on the house insulation and corridor will be complete before we visit America in September and October.

Speaking of our visit, we would love to connect with you. We are making plans to visit sponsors in North Carolina and Florida. Even if you are in another state and would like us to visit you, your friends, or your church, let us know. We would love to visit with you and share our stories. We hope to hear from you by July. That will help us be more organized. We are eager to hear from you!

Mark’s Moments

We began our massage therapy program in 2012 and our computer program in 2013 at the Dobromel Orphanage for Children with Disabilities. Luba, the orphanage librarian, joined the MUCH team at Dobromel to teach computer skills in 2015. I encouraged Luba to find a program to teach the children to use the keyboard. She enthusiastically did some research and found a number of programs. Choosing the best one to meet the special needs of the children, she initiated her program.

In April, Sveta and I visited the Dobromel Orphanage in northwestern Ukraine. We were eager to observe the progress that the children were making. It was a delight to see the children busy with their tasks. Each one showed us their progress with the keyboard. It was so great to see each child actively pecking the keys.

Interested to hear about more results, I asked Luba what changes she saw in the children. Also, I was eager to knowing if the teachers were seeing differences in the children’s performance in the classroom. I was very excited to hear her stories.

Working with the keyboard stimulated the lower functioning children to learn the alphabet. One child who could not read, learned to see words by syllables. Now he is working with words. Reading is not far away! The interaction between children during the computer class is also interesting. Children who are not friends are happy to help other children solve a small problem. This is a milestone for some of the children. Other teachers report that the children are more calm and focussed.

Sveta’s Journey

Recently Mark and I visited our little friends and massage therapist, Igor, in the Veleekey Lubin Orphanage. It was wonderful to hear and see how children have changed compared to last year. Anton is 10 years old. His diagnosis is autism. When we saw him on our last visit, he did not look into our eyes. He always looked away. This is one of the symptoms of autism. He would not allow anyone to touch him. He was sullen. Anton could bite other children if approached, and was protective of his own space and personal little world. He did not initiate contact with other children.

This visit, when I looked into Anton’s eyes, I was afraid that I would scare him away. With a smile on his face, he looked into our eyes without looking away. In his eyes I saw love and trust. The boy has become calm and sociable. Although he does not speak yet, he understands everything. Now he undresses himself and jumps up on a massage table with enthusiasm. Two years ago, no one could touch him. Now, he really likes massage treatments!

It was so nice to watch Igor work with children. Another child that he has been working with is Oleg. He is 11 years old. He has hemiparesis. This condition effects his left arm. Previously, he could not straighten his left arm. The muscle tone was high. Oleg could not dress independently. He could not fully raise his arm. Of course, this brought the boy great discomfort. After three courses of a ten-day massage treatment during one and a half years, his arm is working much better. The boy can dress himself, can raise his arm, bend and straighten it. This is so wonderful!

It is impossible to describe our joy when we see how the children are changing!

Living my dream,

Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our Youtube site http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta