Hello family and friends,
We have come to the end of summer in Ukraine. We anticipate that a cool autumn will appear
Sept. 1. The change of seasons are abrupt in this part of Europe.
August 24 celebrates Independence Day in Ukraine. This is their twenty-fifth year of freedom from the Soviet Union. Children who were born in freedom, after 1991, are raising a second generation of children born in freedom. It is a great privilege for me to be here, watching the process.
We have been changing the lives of children at the Marganets Orphanage for fourteen years. August brings an end to this part of the MUCH mission in Marganets. The simplest way to explain is that we are not seeing the results that we have seen over the years. The need for clothing is less, and the other goals have been met. The children have better self images, are behaving better in the classroom, and have earned the respect of the children in the community at large. Thank you for your support for these children over the years. Your contributions have changed the lives of a generation of children.
Here is a story of how two people encouraged each other to blossom their visions to help disabled children.
In 2003, I was in great need of massage therapy. After living in Ukraine for a year and a half, stress caused my neck muscles to tighten so much that I couldn’t turn my head. I was introduced to Dr. Natalya Borisovna, a massage therapist. At the time, her patients for massage therapy were adults.
After my good results, I asked her if she was interested in working with children. She had been praying for the opportunity for three years! In March of 2004, we began the MUCH Massage Therapy program with two children a month.
Twelve years later, MUCH has blossomed the massage therapy program. We provide massage therapy for at least twenty children per month. We have: two massage therapists at the Dobromel Orphanage, northwestern Ukraine, two home visit massage therapists in Chornomorsk, and one in training for home visits in the village of Molodozjnoye in south western Ukraine. There is also a vision for massage therapy at a second orphanage in northwestern Ukraine.
For twelve years, Dr. Natalya has been on a journey of her own. When she started the MUCH massage therapy clinic in 2004, she worked part time for us and part time in her private practice. A few years later, she was hired to work at Golden Angel in Odessa, giving massage to children with disabilities who came from many parts of Ukraine for treatment.
Dr. Natalya has returned to Chornomorsk, reopening her private practice of massage therapy. She has blossomed her business into a complex treatment of full body massage, hot earth wax, facial point massage, treatment for joints, therapeutic exercise, and an ice bath. This full treatment requires about two hours and forty-five minutes for a ten or fifteen day program. MUCH sponsors six of her patients. She has a team of four massage therapist, and an office manager.
Dr. Natalya helped me: physically regain relaxation of my muscles, begin a clinic for children with special needs, and train our new massage therapists. God used me to: answer her prayer to work with special needs children, encourage her to continue through sponsorship, and ask for her help to train our new therapists.
This is the successful story of how Dr. Natalya and I encouraged each other to develop our visions to help children with disabilities.
We have made a lot of friends working at the orphanage in Marganets. Our hearts were sad when we had to stop the program. The children were always waiting for our arrival. When Mark and I entered the orphanage gate they recognized us from a distance and ran to us shouting, “Mark and Sveta are here!” We had limited time to talk and play with the children. When we told them that we had other children in their city to visit, they were jealous.
Our work continues in Dobromel. Children are also waiting for us at this orphanage. They receive massage therapy and attend computer classes because of the full sponsorship of MUCH. This is a great help that is changing their lives. The children enjoy massage therapy very much. Eagerly awaiting their turn, they ask the therapist, “When are you going to give me a massage?”
Teachers are responsible to bring each child for massage, knowing the appointed time. Sometimes Paul takes a child for massage therapy and returns him/her at the end of the massage. Because the education building is across the street, sometimes the therapist will take two children. While waiting for their turn, they are happy to spend time in this magical room, running on the treadmill, playing on a massage mat, and using other exercise equipment. Some children are so interested in the procedure of massage therapy, they cannot look away from the working hands of the therapist.
We have written several times about children who came to the orphanage from a Baby House (orphanage from birth to first grade). What enormous changes have taken place in their character and health because of massage therapy mixed with the love of people who care about them!
The boy who is watching massage in the picture above came from a Baby House. When he arrived, he was wild and uncontrollable. He has been receiving massage therapy for three years. We are so happy to see the great changes that have occurred in his life during this time.
For me, this boy is a living example of how a child may change through the love of the people around him, and as the love of God unites hearts of Americans and Ukrainians! Thank you for your part in changing the lives of these children!
Living my dream,
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