Author Archives: Mark Koehler

September 2020

Hello family and friends,

Here is the latest quarterly contribution update from AmazonSmile because of your purchases! This is the easiest way that you can contribute to MUCH. When you shop Amazon, make it Amazon Smile.

MUCH received $66.87 last quarter from AmazonSmile. MUCH has received $1,002.32 from AmazonSmile to date.

If you are not shopping AmazonSmile, you can begin  here and choose Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope as the charity that you want AmazonSmile to donate to. You can learn more about this program on this site. 

On June 8 we began a project that would test our patience and build our character. We planned to have the roof removed and add a second floor. As of September 21, the beltway is curing and the wood is being treated with fungicide and fire retardant. 

The roof work will begin next week. Our workers are busy every day. The exchange rate is 28 UAH for every dollar. The cost of living is such that our project is affordable, but still expensive for us. Our personal savings is going a long way on this project.

With fifteen inch thick walls, the inside of the second floor is a little less than eighteen by thirty feet.  

With the exception of the bathroom, the second floor will be one large room. As a multipurpose room, it will house guests, serve as a conference room, small group meeting room, and a room for prayer and healing.

Sveta and I look forward to the day when the windows and doors will be in, the walls will be stuccoed and the first floor corridor complete inside and out.

Mark’s Moments

Before COVID-19 entered Ukraine, I was invited to visit International Messengers. This mission team uses English to draw young people. The director, Caleb, an America missionary, was going to be out of town that Friday. I was asked to come as a native English speaker. It was here that Sveta and I met Dasha, a Ukrainian missionary with International Messengers.

Recently, Dasha visited us in our home from the North side of Mykolaiv. It took about a forty-five minute bus ride and thirty minutes walking. We spent the day talking about missions, her life as a missionary, and the outreach that she does with International Messengers. The discussion finally arrived at a common ground location of our two organizations.

Dasha was looking for opportunities for some of her girls to reach out to help meet the needs of others. It did not take long for me to connect the needs of MUCH children with Dasha’s girls. MUCH children have a very limited social life. Dasha’s girls needed to care for others.

She talked to her girls, Sveta talked with two MUCH massage therapists on Dasha’s side of Mykolaiv, and everyone was in agreement. The children and their parents were ecstatic! As we partner with Dasha, we are eager to see the results.


Sveta’s Journey

The Transition Home in Marganets has no days off or vacations. Children are moved here all year round. New ones come, some are assigned to families. Some children are returned to their old families, other children are returned from their new families. All of the children dream of becoming a part of a family that will accept and love them.

Here is Maria’s story. Her mother led an immoral lifestyle. She often forgot to pick up her daughter from school and teachers could not find her mother for weeks, so Maria was brought to the Transition Home many times. Maria’s mother was given several opportunities to fix her life, but everything remains the same. As a result, she was deprived of her parental rights and the Transition Home director began to prepare a new family for Maria. This summer, one family took Maria into their lives, but for some reason, two weeks later, they returned Maria to the Transition Home.

Maria continues to dream of living in a family where she is needed. Albina,  the massage therapist, encourages her and helps her to believe that one day she will be in a family. The girl has scoliosis. After the second ten-day course of massage therapy her posture has become much straighter.

Many children pass through the hands and heart of Albina. Since the beginning of this year, 44 children have received massage therapy by Albina, some of them for 2 or 3 courses of ten-day massage. Most of the children who enter the Transition Home do not have physical disabilities. Their pain is in their hearts, wounded souls, with many feeling useless and lonely. Albina brings portions of healing and hope through her interaction with them. We see an amazing value in the outcome from massage therapy for these children! We are constantly seeing very positive results.

Six-year-old Dima was also taken away from his mother, who leads an immoral lifestyle. He lived in the village. His mental development corresponds to the age of a two-year-old child. He does not understand what adults say to him. Dima is hyperactive, and his reaction to massage movements was very violent. It was not easy for Albina to work with this boy. But the results were noticeable. After a ten-day course of massage, Dima began to pronounce some words, and he became somewhat more calm.

How necessary love is for children to correctly develop in all areas of their lives, and then give love to others from themselves!
Living my dream,



Please consider donating to MUCH to help children with emotional problems and those with disabilities improve their quality of life.

Please Donate

Blessings of love and healing,
 Mark and Sveta

March 2018

Hello family and friends,

Southern Ukraine received a thin layer of yellow snow. It was tested and determined to be sand and clay particles from Northern Africa. On March 24, we woke up to fresh white snow. We anticipate warm spring weather next week.

Step by step, life in Ukraine is improving. New businesses pop up here and there. The tech products, gadgets, and all modern conveniences are available in stores and small shops everywhere. People must have money to buy them. Low overhead is the standard in Ukraine.

Language schools are popping up everywhere. English is the most studied language. German, French and Italian, follow. People want to travel. They will save, save, save, to see their dream.

Mark’s Moments

Sveta and I traveled to Chernomorsk this month. We met with our massage therapists, children and their parents, our manager, and the students of our transportation scholarship program. See the video of our transportation scholarship students! We see that things are going well. We have many stories to tell.

Each visit, we talk with the transportation scholarship students. This time we have a new student (left) who replaced another student no longer needing our help. His name is Vitalik. He moved to Chernomorsk from war-torn Donetsk, Ukraine. Here is his story.

Vitalik is studying safety information, protection against viruses, for computers. He is in his fourth year of university. His parents stayed in Donetsk but he moved to Chernomorsk to be able to get a diploma that is not associated with Donetsk universities. Universities and businesses in the rest of Ukraine do not want to work with people who stood behind Donetsk in the war zone. It is assumed that if you live in the Donetsk area, you are part of the problem. Vitalik is not part of the problem, he very pro-Ukrainian.

In Chernomorsk he found a good church with wonderful friends. He is involved with a ministry that further strengthens his relationship with God and his friends. All four of our students: Vitalik, Nastya, Daniel and Artur are members of the same church. They serve in one ministry to help teenagers connect with God. They are successful in education and developing a relationship with God. Each of them send words of gratitude to our sponsors. They thank you!

Dr. Natalya B, wearing the lab coat, and I moved the massage therapy concept forward in 2004. The oldest patient in the picture is fifteen years old. When she was 3 years old, she was one of our first patients. Six parents brought their children to tell Sveta and me their stories. Each child is severely disabled, abandoned by their family doctors. Each parent is very please that MUCH initiated the program and sponsors a portion of their child’s treatment. They see progress for their child and find hope for their family. They thank you!

Sveta’s Journey

Nine months ago, when Barbara came to this world, the doctors set many negative diagnoses for this girl, one of which was liver cancer. Their verdict did not give any hope for the parents. The doctors predicted that the child would not live. The struggle for Barbara’s life continued. Every day, doctors prescribed a huge list of expensive medicine. They punctured the spinal cord and brain to remove fluid for analysis. Barbara’s mother spent three months with her child in the hospital. When the doctors suspected that one of the kidneys was functioning incorrectly, they wanted to operate. The parents understood this to be only an experiment (exploratory surgery).

They decided to visit another doctor and get a second opinion. This doctor, after the examination, said that the child did not have cancer. He canceled all previous diagnoses and the list of expensive medicines. As it turned out, the source of the illness occurred during childbirth. Barbara proceeded through the birth canal for a long time. As she breathed in the amniotic fluid it had a negative effect on the lungs, creating pneumonia. This is a rare situation.

It is very important to establish the correct diagnosis and conduct appropriate treatment. The girl was treated. Now Barbara is a healthy child. Only a small problem worried her parents. Her leg muscles were very tight at the hip joints and could not spread her thighs as they should.

Ira, our massage therapist, gave her a course of massage. On the seventh day of massage therapy, the hypertonus muscle disappeared, the legs at the hip joints began to spread apart correctly. Barbara’s mother sees this good result. She is very pleased and grateful to the sponsors of MUCH. Also, Mark and I had a great opportunity to tell Barbara’s mother about God. She showed great interest and asked many questions about religion. Thank you all for your support of the MUCH massage program. The children not only receive help and recovery, but also Mark and I can visit families and talk about the Father and Jesus. The parents, and Mark and I and thank you!

Living my dream,


You can see all of our videos at our Youtube site

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

February 2018

Hello family and friends,

Our winter in south central Ukraine has been a mild one. February is ending with temperatures dipping to 4 degrees F. Our daughter took her son to school on the sled and used it for shopping on the way home. March will come in like a lion. More snow is on the way before it warms up for spring. True Ukrainians like Sveta, are waiting to get out of the house and into the garden!


Mark’s Moments

As MUCH has grown in fifteen years our sponsorship unfortunately has not. The exchange rate has kept us on track. In 2002 when I moved to Ukraine, the exchange rate was 5 UAH for $1. This month it has been holding at about 27 UAH for $1. You can see the history of the exchange rate for the last five years on this chart.

MUCH support began to grow by word of mouth. Are you sharing with your friends what God is doing through MUCH? We would appreciate if you would!

When I began this mission, I was very shy to ask for support. I told my story and people responded. This seemed to be working. Something changed, maybe the economy. For the last two years, we have been under budget with our monthly contributions. In 2017, our monthly support was $500 below budget. By the end of the year, MUCH was $6,000 below budget in contributions.

Our year-end report shares all that we are doing. To overcome this deficit, we need additional monthly sponsors. If you are reading this newsletter and are not a sponsor, please consider what $10 a month would do to keep our programs on-fire.

$10 a month a ten-day massage therapy treatment for one child — 271 children/year
$25 a month would provide clothing for a child in need — 45 children/year
$33 a month provide transportation to university for one student. — 4 students/year

Donate Now!

This is how I see the work of MUCH. Yes, we are doing God’s work, we are improving the lives and health of children. And that should be enough.

I see more. I see that we are taking steps to prevent the domino theory from becoming more than a theory. We are helping to build better community through reaching out to those in need of healthcare, education, and clothing. We are setting an example of strengthening individuals and family.

Ukraine is a pivotal country. We are helping it grow toward the EU and the West, away from Russian.
In 1992, Russia was part of the Joint Control Commission after the ceasefire agreement of the military conflict between Moldova and the breakaway Transnistrian territory. In 2008, Russian was involved in the Georgian conflict. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. Only months later, Russia assisted the pro-Russian separatists in the war in eastern Ukraine, the Donbass region. Many article have been written to strongly suggest that Putin and the Kremlin want their USSR countries back. I see the theory is more than a theory. The longer the time between conflicts, the less real the theory seems. Russian KGB mentality counts on that.

I believe that the more MUCH helps the people of Ukraine become more active in changing their immediate needs, the stronger the people, as a country, will become. I’m not political. I am only sharing what I see, and why I believe that you would be interested in strengthening Europe, Ukraine, and its people through the work that we are doing.

Sveta’s Journey

Children with mental disabilities experience learning difficulties. They cannot concentrate, read poorly, or have difficulty with memory. Here are a few examples of children who are breaking through their difficulties. They are battling their challenges with the technology of computers and computer tablets!

Kolya is a calm and obedient thirteen-year-old boy. He loves computer lessons. He has difficulty with remembering things, but in spite of this he learns well. In the beginning of the school year, he could not read sentences, or remember where the keyboard letters were located. Kolya studied the locations of all of the letters on the keyboard, learned to read by syllables, and type text from the textbook onto the computer. Success!

Misha studies in the 6th grade and strives to know everything and be able to do everything, but his attention is going in every direction. He always hurries, and in the end does not always succeed. But Luba is very impressed with his success in using the new keyboard program “Mouse Simulator”. Misha learns and remembers the arrangement of letters on the keyboard and simultaneously is learning the letters of the Ukrainian alphabet. He is very happy to study on the computer and often hugs Luba and says, “Thank you, I love you.” Success!

Some children, such as thirteen-year-old Nadya, have become better pupils because of their experience in the computer class. In Nadya’s other classes, her learning skills are changing. She is getting better results. Her attention is improving when she studies, her reading skills are better, and Nadya’s vocabulary is growing. Luba believes that Nadya will improve her intellectual abilities. There is a big possibility for her to begin to think and respond to unconventional situations. Luba sees potential for Nadya to achieve her future goals! Success!

Vova has a diagnosis of alalia-hypoplasia of speech. He cannot speak sentences, only individual sounds. Vova has learned to play on the computer tablet in logic games and therefore it helps him to improve memory, attention, thinking, and fine motor skills of the hands. Success!

Some children are not interested in learning on the computer but only want to play different games. To find unity with these children, Luba created a rule. “After you finish the task that I give you, then and only then, you may play a computer game.”

Yura, has difficulty with his attention span. He quickly looses interest, tears up his lessons, and is constantly distracted. To focus, he had to make a great effort. After massage treatment and exercises, he has good results. Positive impulses increase, aggressiveness decreases, and his psycho-emotional state of mind improves. Computer training together with massage therapy brought a very good result. Success!

Thank you very much Luba, our computer teacher, and our massage therapists Natasha and Paul! Your great patience and love for these special needs children helps them feel accepted and loved. Their work reveals the individual abilities that each child has. For the children in the orphanage, it is very important to have support from people who are nearby. Luba, Natasha and Paul are like loving parents investing in the hearts of the children with love, knowledge, example, rules of behavior and other character building attributes.

Living my dream,


If you see value in what we at MUCH are doing,
If you see the value of Ukraine in the European overview,
Step up to the plate and Donate!

The children thank you! Ukraine thanks you! MUCH thanks you!

You can see all of our videos at our Youtube site

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

April 2016

Hello Family and friends,

DSCN3166 (1)

The flowers have popped up, green has flooded our yard, and the fruit trees are all in bloom. Spring has arrived and the warm weather is not far behind.





Mark’s Moments

What good has come from the war in eastern Ukraine? There are new laws in Ukraine created to remove all images connected with Soviet times. The statues of Lenin are being removed from all cities and communities in Ukraine. The removal of the symbol of the hammer and sickle is also a major change.

A change that you will see in our newsletter, Google Maps, and other professional references, is the name of the city of Illichevsk, the home of MUCH massage therapy. The new name is Chornomorsk, which translates as Black Sea. Illichevsk was named after Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov (Vladimir Illya Lenin), using his patronymic (from the father’s first name), Illya.

These are the first steps in changing the face and the heart of a country.

Sveta and I went to Chornomorsk recently to visit the massage therapy and transportation scholarship programs. Sveta will write about our visit to the massage therapists.

At the Thursday evening service at the Baptist church, I spoke about the MUCH Transportation Scholarship Program. We operate the program through this church. It is always a pleasure to visit with this community. We visited the two university students in our program, Nastya and Natasha. It is so great to watch them grow and mature.

I spoke with Nastya who is studying to be a conductor of music. I see positive change in her personality and confidence. She is very happy for the help that MUCH is giving her and thanks all of the sponsors of MUCH for providing funds for transportation to the university in Odessa each day.

Natasha has one more year of university to complete her degree in English to be a translator. She is very excited about the job that she has in Odessa. She works at the Black Sea hotel at the front desk. Her English skills are very important, as the hotel attracts many tourists. She sends her thanks to all of the sponsors of MUCH.

Children’s ministry has not been a part of the MUCH Program. We do have a great desire to add help for the children to connect with God. During our fourteen years of working with the children, we have definitely “won the right to be heard”. We are beginning a process of finding a short or long term missionary to join us in that capacity.

We were introduced to a Ukrainian at the home where we rented a room during our stay in Chornomorsk. Alla, a young woman, is a pharmacist who has a passion for children’s ministry. When I asked about sharing her passion with the children at the Dobromel Orphanage, she showed a growing interest. We have invited Alla to visit the children with us in September. Sveta and I are very excited about what God will do through Alla. We anticipate that she will travel with us once a year.

Sveta’s Journey

Spring is the time for work in the garden. This is the time when we sow seeds in the ground and expect harvest. Whenever I work in our garden, it reminds me of the children. Children, as the soil in the spring, are ready to receive all that is sown. In this great time of childhood we are able to sow good seeds for the future of children. When we focus only on our needs, it does not fully satisfy our emotions. When we see the needs of others, we enrich our inner satisfaction. I believe that your giving and prayers enrich your essence.



For many years, the parents of 11 month old Anna, dreamed about a second child, but nothing happened. When the wife was 44 years old, their son was 25 years old. Last year, this woman was diagnosed with a tumor in her uterus. Of course, she was very upset and even came to the idea that maybe it was her time to die. She shed many tears, and many different thoughts ran through her mind. In the process of a second opinion, it was discovered that she was pregnant! No one expected this, and no one thought it was possible.

So suddenly, everything changed! The girl Anna was born prematurely, at eight months. On examination she was diagnosed with a weakness in her complete muscular system. When she would cry, her abdomen around her belly button would protrude. Tanya began to give Anna massage therapy at the age of two months. During nine months, Anna has received five, ten-day courses of massage therapy.

The last time the child was examined by the doctor, he canceled the diagnosis originally given. The girl’s muscular development has improved. Now when shy cries, her abdominal muscles hold tightly. Anna, in all parameters, corresponds with normal development. Anna’s mother was very happy and grateful to Tanya and MUCH sponsors who fund this program.



Dr. Natalia always sets achievable goals and meets them. She sees potential for one-year and seven-month old Paul. The child was born with the diagnosis tetra-paresis (muscular weakness of all four extremities). Paul could not sit, crawling, or walk. But after seven days of massage therapy the child began to roll to the side with a little help. He began to take a toy with his left hand and shift it to his right hand. Dr. Natalia relaxed and strengthened his hip and shoulder joints and then increased range of motion in these joints. During work on his joints, the boy cried. This is a very painful procedure, but it is necessary. Dr. Natalia taught his mother to do special exercises at home. She said that for this baby, ten days of massage therapy is necessary, and then ten days of rest. This will develop the production of motor skills, making the proper neurological connections. This must continue for at least six months.

Living my dream,


Massage therapy and computer classes are changing the health and education of the children at the Dobromel Orphanage. Massage Therapy and the Transportation Scholarship Program in Chornomorsk are giving new opportunities to infants, children, and college or university students. In Marganets, children’s lives are being changed in big ways in three different organizations though our Clothing Program. The children are changing from disabled to more abled, less teachable to more teachable, and poor self images to better self images.

We are grateful to God that He blesses all of these programs, and we see how He acts in His love! We also are overwhelmed at how He is providing for all of these things through you, our faithful supporters. Thank you!

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta


March 2016


Hello family and friends,P1010003 (2)

In Mid March we had snow flurries! The freezing temperatures come and go, but spring in Ukraine is just around the corner. My friend from Louisiana told me that he plants according to ground temperature, so we are thinking in that direction.DSCN3001



Our tomatoes are planted and growing toward the sunshine. I knew that those toilet paper rolls would be good for something. — Sveta planted the onions outside yesterday.



Mark’s Moments

May of 2002, I boarded a plane set for Ukraine. Everything that I owned was packed in two suitcases and a hanging bag. I was moving to Ukraine for the rest of my life, although I was unsure of many things. I was certain of one thing. My faith in God would be tested more than it ever had been. I knew one person in Ukraine and I knew that I would help children. Everything else came to me a day at a time.

It happened that the father of this one person would lead me to Marganets. He would become my manager there. I had money from an American organization that I was to deliver to a church in a city call Illichevsk, wherever that was. July 7 I would begin CDTS (missionary school) in Ternopol, Ukraine for 5 months.

My faith would now be put to a test of time. I settled in Illichevsk in April 2003. By that time I had grown spiritually by leaps and bounds. Even though I was involved in the food program in Illichevsk and my clothing program in Marganets, I had much free time. The American work ethic would not let go. Eight months of waiting for God’s next step for me left me in one big knot of stress. And that led me to the development of the massage therapy program for children with disabilities in March of 2004.

The next twelve years tested my faith in many ways. God was my provider, and I was constantly challenged not to forget that fact. I was introduced to people most unrelated to my mission. Surprisingly, they would unknowingly lead me to a new outreach for the mission. Along the way, there was much down time. Thanks to the missionary school, I learned to hear the voice of God. I developed that relationship, and continue to practice listening for His voice.

Sveta and I met in 2010 and were married in 2011. Together, we look to God for provision. We love the children of MUCH, grow in faith in our church, and grow closer together as “one body, one spirit, one ministry, in Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 4:4)

Sveta’s Journey

Dobromel and Marganets have facilities that we commonly call orphanages. Technically, the term is ‘internat’. The children who live in the facility may be:
– true orphans,
– children whose parents have lost parental rights,
– children who had to leave their homes because of alcohol, drug abuse, or immorality in the family
– children from difficult homes
– children who live in such poverty that the parents are not able to care for them

In addition to these situations, all of the children in the two orphanages that we help have some type of physical or mental disability

The children at the orphanages who do have families, seldom go home or are visited by their parents during the school year. Some do go home for the summer, and sometimes on holidays. For most children, the orphanage is more of a home than any other experience in theirs lives.

The children at the Dobromel and Marganets orphanages require more time to learn what other pupils learn in less time in regular schools. Although education is very important for these children, that which is most important is the care and protection of the children.

DSCN0180Luba is the librarian and also one of the MUCH computer teachers at the Dobromel orphanage. She works very well with the children. She has wonderful compassion for the needs of the children. Her patience is remarkable! She projects her enthusiasm and love to the children.

Normally, Luba teaches five children. Because of her kindness, she has accepted five additional children. Two children must share a chair and a computer, but their hunger to learn about the computer eliminates their comfort zones.

These children need individual instruction. Luba has devised a plan to meet this need. She works with two children at a time who are on the same or similar skill levels. During this time, the other students are paired, a better student with one in need of help. They review the previous lesson and practice.

The children are very excited about learning new computer skills quickly. Luba considers their memory skills and different levels of learning. Some need to repeat and practice to maintain their new skills. It is a challenge for Luba to encourage the children to repeat the process over and over until they grasp the concept. Others have difficulty grasping the concept and putting it into practice.

Last year, we purchased one computer tablet for children in Luba’s class who can not speak. We wanted to see how it would result in contrast to the physical keyboard and monitor computer. We spoke with Luba recently, and she said that the kids really like the touch screen, and they tend to prefer the tablet. But it is too early to acquire more tablets because she must be close to the pupils to control their actions. Many of the children are unpredictable.

Of the 120 children at the Dobromel Orphanage, only 5% of those who have families, have computers at home. The children really like studying computer lessons. Luba uses interesting and easy-to-play games so that children with intellectual and communication disabilities can learn to use the mouse, keyboard, and examine other simple things on the computer. This is a great opportunity for children to learn to use the computer in this boarding school/orphanage. We believe that many of them, even with learning disabilities, will make great progress.

Living my dream,

Sveta and I thank you for your interest in our work with the children. They are so very grateful. Their lives are changing in amazing ways. Better health, better education, and new experiences are making their world grow day by day. You are changing their futures. We all thank you for your prayers and support.

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

February 2016

Hello family and friends,

P1010003 (2)

It is 37F as I write this letter, but the sun is shining and the wind is blowing the clothes dry. It is time to start the tomatoes inside, prepare the land outside, and think spring. Sveta is chomping at the bit, so to speak.

In Sveta’s Journey, she shares our first picture result from the Christmas Fundraiser!

Marks Moments

Your purchases on SmileAmazon have earned MUCH $41.59! Shop SmileAmazon


Sveta and I haven’t written much about our church life in the newsletter. Here is a brief explanation of our ministries in our church. Two years ago, the pastor of the church where we were married asked us if we wanted to be members. We had attended Sunday services for about four months. We accepted his invitation joyfully. In the same meeting, he asked if we were interested in any particular ministry. We said that we would like to begin a healing ministry. He thoughtfully said, “We will go forward step by step.” Now, each Sunday while the worship portion of the service continues, we have a few chairs in the back of the church where people may come for prayer for healing. Our team has grown from two to eight.


Within six months of attending the pastors home group, Sveta and I asked permission to begin a home group of our own. We live on the edge of the city where there are a number of people from our church. Quickly, our home group grew and one of the members was ready to lead a group of her own. While we were in America, four more home groups began. The need was evident. It seemed that the church was waiting for an example.

The people in our home group now attend other local home groups, leaving Sveta and I to meet another need in the church. We have discussed using our home group setting for teaching new and spiritually young Christians the foundation beliefs of the faith with the pastor. He has approved this and we will begin in March.

Our church is interested in the work that MUCH does and is interested in participating. In our city of almost 500,000 people, there are a number of orphanages. Our church has visited some of them and wants to expand their connection with the children. We will see what new opportunities develop in the future

Sveta’s Journey


In October 2011, Mark sent me to Dobromel, northwestern Ukraine, to give a twenty-day massage therapy demonstration. He was confident that there would be results within twenty days, but to tell you the truth, I was not. It was a very difficult time for me, but in the end of the twenty days, I did see results. I will share about some of the children who continue to benefit from massage therapy and the exercise items that you provided through the Christmas Fundraiser.

I will tell you stories of two of the boys in this picture. Sasha, on the far right, came from a Baby House a number of years ago. (A Baby House is an ill managed facility where the system maintains life for infants and preschool children who are without family.) He was quite wild when he first arrived at the Dobromel Orphanage. In social settings he was unable to interact calmly with other children. In the classroom, he sat on the window sill, looking out the window. After a number of massage therapy treatments, Sasha became calm, sat at his desk in the classroom, and became more sociable with the children.

Igor, second from the left in the same picture, was new to the orphanage last year. Mark and I watched him in a classroom setting. He demanded attention, acting out while the teacher was instructing the class.

Paul, our second massage therapist, connected with Igor through the massage therapy treatment. Paul has a great personality and interacts well with the children. Now, Igor is doing much better in the classroom.
His interaction with the children has improved, also.


I wish that you could be a ‘fly on the wall’ to see first hand the big changes in the children that I see when we visit the Dobromel Orphanage. Thank you so much for your contributions to the Christmas Fundraiser. You can see in this picture the items that Natalya, our first massage therapist, bought with your financial gifts. She compliments her massage therapy treatments with exercise, using different instruments to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the children. They send you a Big Thank You!

Living my dream,


We are seeing big changes in the children as each year goes by. Sveta and I, and all of the MUCH team thank you for reading our newsletter and participating in our work through financial support, prayer, encouraging letters or Emails, and sharing about our journey with your friends.

You can see all of our videos at our Youtube site
Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta


November 2015

Hello family and friends,

Our Christmas Fundraiser spotlight is on Education and Healthcare!

Here is our list of items that we are seeking. The orphanage in Marganets needs craft material, the school in Marganets needs educational materials, vitamins and meds, the transition home in Marganets need vitamins and meds, and the orphanage in Dobromel needs camping equipment for environmental history studies.

1. Computer Tablets 15 tablets = $3,390

2. Power Point Projector1 projector = $ 546

3. Wall maps for geography and history lessons for the classrooms

4 = $ 28
5 = $ 45
2 = $ 23

4. Wireless microphone

3 = $ 46

5. Table diode-sandbox

1 = $ 188

6. Vitamins and meds for one school year

1 School & 1Transition Home
$ 400

7. Craft material for one school year


8. Camping equipment
$ 1,100

Total $ 5,966

Our Christmas Fundraiser goal for this season is $5,966

The Christmas fundraiser is over and above the ongoing programs. This fundraiser is for the specific projects listed above.

100% of gifts received will be used for these projects. If more is received, it will be used for the ongoing programs.

We appreciate all donations, no matter what size.

Send a check to Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope

PO Box 689
West End, NC 27367
Thank you for helping us facilitate the people of Ukraine to empower their own people. Thank you for giving us aid to change the future of Ukraine by enabling their children.

Thanks to all who use Smile Amazon. Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope has been issued a $42.75 donation from the AmazonSmile Foundation as a result of AmazonSmile program activity between July 1 and September 30, 2015. We appreciate your thinking of the children when you shop Amazon.

Sveta will share about an excursion that we took to better understand one reason why the children of the Dobromel orphanage needed camping gear. I think that you will find it very interesting!

Sveta’s JourneyDSCN1890
Vladimir, director the orphanage in Dobromel took us to the historical places located near the city. It was an impressive tour of the famous places of Ukraine: the Castle of Herburtiv (click “allow” to translate) and salt mines of Salina. We were impressed by the grandeur of the castle in spite of the destruction over the years. It was very sad to hear the stories of the innocent people who died in the salt mines, the people who sought the truth and freedom for their country in the fight against communism.

Here is a brief description of these places which I copied from the Internet:
“In 1566, construction of the castle began on a very high and steep wooded hill, 1800 feet high. The castle had purely defensive purposes and was never intended foDSCN1979r permanent residence. At one time this castle in Dobromel controlled important trade routes and served to protect the local population. The entrance to the main building was defended with a massive polygonal three-tiered gate. Inside the castle was a water well, allowing the people to withstand a long siege. The thickness of the wall reached six feet. It was not only a powerful reinforcement, but also a great residence. Living space with a well thought out plan was decorated with a gallery of generic portraits and allegorical paintings. During the XVIII century, a castle in DSCN1926times of danger was a refuge for local residents. The castle was built by Yang Herburtiv, a Polish political and literary figure. He selflessly defended the rights of the Ukrainian population, studied the history of the Ukrainian lands, wrote poems in the Ukrainian language, and contributed to the development of crafts in Dobromel.”

“For a long time the government suppressed the truth about everything that happened in the DSCN2016Salina salt mines near Dobromel. In late June 1941 the troops of the NKVD committed mass killings of political prisoners. In just a week, the victims of the Soviet regime grew to 22,000 Ukrainians. Some were shot, most of them thrown alive into deep salt mines. Before that, the prisoners were subjected to severe torture. The mine was filled up to the top with human bodies.

Vladimir, director of the orphanage, asked us for 5 tents, 15 sleeping bags and 15 sleeping pads to spend time with children outdoors. For each child, it will be a wonderful and exciting journey. First, for children it is always an adventure to spend the night in a tent, eat food cooked on the fire, and to see the splendor of nature! Secondly, they will actually see the castle in which people lived and defended their city. They will see the salt mines. Children need to know the history of their country which for many years has been hidden from the people.

Tents, sleeping bags and mats are three of the items that MUCH is raising money for this years Christmas Fundraiser. Please help bring the history of the region of Dobromel alive in the lives of the children at the Dobromel Orphanage.

Living my dream,

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

October 2015

Hello family and friends,

Our Christmas Fundraiser spotlight is on Education and Healthcare!

One of the city schools in Marganets, south central Ukraine, serves 397 students, grades one through eleven. Their goal is to provide computer classes for all grade levels. They have three computer classrooms. To increase the quality of education, they need fifteen computer tablets. In addition to computers, they need a power point projector, and 11 educational maps for the history and geography classrooms.

The school psychologist is asking for a diode sandbox table. This table has lights under it that shine through the sand. As the children draw in the sand, their art takes on different colors. Using this sandbox calms the children and adults, can be used as non-verbal self-expression, and aids therapists in understanding their clients.

The Physical Education teacher needs a wireless microphone for sports competition.
The total cost of these items is $4266.

ComputerTablets 15 x 4799 UAH. = $3,390
Power Point Projector 1x 11,588 UAH = $ 546

3. Wall maps for geography and history lessons:
4 x 150 UAH = $ 28
5 x 190 UAH = $ 45
2 x 240 UAH = $ 23

4. Wireless microphone 3 x 327 UAH = $ 46
5. Table diode-sandbox 1 x 4000 UAH = $ 188
Total = $ 4266

This school’s healthcare program is in need of vitamins for underprivileged children and medicines for children who are anemic. The total cost for these vitamins and meds for five children for one school year is $100.

Also in Marganets, at the Transition Home, medicine and vitamins to boost the immune system are needed. The total cost for 20 children for one year is $300.

The final need of our focus in Marganets is at the Orphanage. The children are developing marketable skills as they learn wood craft and sewing. They would like to add bead-work, making jewelry, to their list of skills. Their goal is to create a desirable product that Sveta and I can take to America to sell. The proceeds will go to the orphanage for the children to buy something that the orphanage needs. It will create a good feeling for the children to know that they made something of value to others. To do this, they need the materials. The total cost for one school year is $200.

The Dobromel Orphanage in northwestern Ukraine wants to participate in camping events that are part of the regional schools educational program. They need five tents, fifteen sleeping bags, and fifteen sleeping mattresses for a total cost is $1,100.

Our Christmas fundraiser goal for this season is $5966

The Christmas fundraiser is over and above the ongoing programs. This fundraiser is for the specific projects listed above.

You may send a check to Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope at:

PO Box 689
West End, NC 27367


Thank you for helping us help the people of Ukraine help their own people. Thank you for helping us change the future of Ukraine by enabling their children.

Sveta’s Journey

Before our travel to America, Mark and I spent time with children and had meetings with directors and managers in the three cities where MUCH works. Everywhere that we went, parents, directors and managers asked us to tell you a big “Thank You.” Not only were they thankful, but they told us about the practical results of how the help that you provide influences their children.

Particularly, Elena, the director of the Marganets orphanage, sends a big “Thank You” because the children not only have nice clothing that improves their self images, but they also are learning to be good shoppers and are developing a sense of becoming good stewards with money. Elena and the teachers use shopping for clothing as a behavior modification tool. The students pay better attention in their classes and are motivated in all areas to do their best. One of the most important changes that occurs is the obedience of the children.

For fourteen-year-old Ira, (beside Mark in the picture) it is a big experience to shop at the bazaar. She chooses her own clothes and shoes, keeping in mind the amount of money that she has to spend. (Her teacher and Elena are accompanied by the MUCH manager to pay for the clothing.)

It is a big and hard task for Ira to choose from the huge number of beautiful things when she is shopping. It is good practice for her to understand how she will need to organize her money for her futurthumb_DSCN2241_1024e when she works. Her mother and grandmother don’t teach her anything about managing money.

They use alcohol to excess and don’t pay any attention to Ira. When I asked Ira how she spent her summer vacation, she very quickly answered, “It was very terrible. I had to watch my family abuse alcohol every day. I struggled with them all summer, trying to get them to stop drinking vodka. Sveta, there is nothing that I can do to change them.”

After Ira shared the pains of her heart with us, we told her about the Lord Jesus. We shared with her that He loves her and wants to help her. All that she needs to do is to come to Him with faith. Mark and I prayed for Ira and her family. We saw a fire of new hope in her eyes. Thank you sponsors and friends for the opportunity to bring the hope of Jesus Christ to the children. Thank you for helping children like Ira.

Living my dream,

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta


Hello family and friends,

Sveta and I will be in America October 12 through December 9. We would love to visit with you and share our story. If you would like us to visit with you, your church, or social organization, please drop us a line at [email protected] or P O Box 689, Seven Lakes, NC 27376. We look forward to sharing about the children that we serve.

September first rang in the school year as was expected. Unexpectedly though, the annual weather change did not happen on that day. It was not until the 7th of September that the drastic change took place. Temperatures dropped about ten degrees F.

Our garden is finished. We will be planting a winter cover crop soon. This will fertilize the soil through spring. We have collected cow manure, wood ash, some sand, and compost. We have prepared five holes, six feet from the back fence for fruit trees. Sveta is delighted. The people of Ukraine are agricultural people. They are very knowledgable about soil, planting, and harvesting. It is a matter of survival.

Marks Moments

A few weeks ago we were in Illichevsk visiting the childreDSCN0857n at our massage therapy clinics. While we were there, we had a wonderful opportunity to speak with Natasha. She is in our Transportation Scholarship program. After completing three years of education in the Odessa Baptist Seminary, Natasha continues her education in her third year of university. She is studying to be a translator in English and German. If she is needed by MUCH to translate at an event in the future, she said that she will be happy to help us.

Our Transportation Scholarship Program began in 2007. Natasha is a girl with a big desire to change her life. Her father is not interested in education for her. Her parents are divorced and her mother struggles to raise Natasha’s brother and two sisters. She has a job with a small income. It is not nearly enough to raise four children, sending Natasha to university. Natasha lives at the seminary, working for her room and board while she attends university. Her travel time to university is about one hour, using two buses.

Natasha is very grateful for the help that MUCH gives through the transportation scholarship program.
She is very active in the Baptist church in Illichevsk. She sees the community as one that has hope for her future. Together, MUCH and the local church are helping Natasha build possibilities in her life. With her education, she will not only have job opportunities, but she will break the cycle of poverty in her life. I believe that her example will help other students to change their futures too.

On Tuesday, Sveta and I began our travel to the Dobromel Orphanage in Western Ukraine. Our travels have been uneventful in the past, but this one was an exception. As we walked toward the train I looked in my wallet for the tickets. To my surprise, our Mykolaiv-Lviv train tickets were missing. Close to that time, Jean, the woman who is watching our house while we are away, called to say that she locked herself out of the house. Sveta and I were processing all of this information as our train rolled away.

What were our options. First, I had to take control of my emotions about two things that I could not change. Second, we had to find out what time the Odessa-Lviv train to would leave and if we had three hours to get there by bus. It was 2 PM and we learned that the train in Odessa would leave at 7 PM. We bought tickets. One problem was solved. While Sveta waited in line to get the tickets, Jean arrived to get my key. Second problem solved.

Now it was time to understand why this happened. As I sat waiting for Sveta to purchase the train tickets, a little voice inside me said, “Maybe there is someone that you will meet who needs to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.” The rest of the story is Sveta’s. It begins in Sveta’s Journey.

Sveta’s Journey

When Mark realized that he lost our tickets, very unusual for him, our first reactions were disappointment and frustration. As we watched the train roll down the tracks, we discussed our options. We could buy tickets for the next day and return home or ride the bus for three hours to Odessa and take the night train to Lviv. We chose the second option. Mark told me that he had received an insight from God that we would meet someone who would need to hear about Jesus.

When we left the Nikolayev bus station, all the seats were occupied. Before leaving the city at large, the driver stopped to receive one more passenger, a soldier. He sat on the steps in the back of the bus. I was sitting on the seat across from him. When I looked at him, a great compassion for this man rose in my heart. He looked miserable and outcast. I had prepared food for our long journey. I took one part of the food and offered it to the soldier. He said that his one-year service was over and he was returning home to Odessa. He suggested that it would be better if I gave the food to another soldier. I talked with him for about three hours until we arrived in Odessa.

During my conversation with Volodya, the soldier, I realized why we strangely lost our tickets. We had to be on this bus! Volodya told me a lot about the war and about his life. He continued to say that only God could have saved his life in the war when there were a lot of situations threatening his life. He knew the Word of God. We recalled many stories from the Bible, reflecting on many places in Scripture. Even though Volodya knew the Bible and prayed, he did not consider himself worthy to come to God and repent of his sins and invite Jesus into his heart. Volodya said that when he would stop smoking and drinking alcohol, only after that would he come to God.

It was a wonderful experience when I told him, “God expects you right now, where you are and how you are. Only Jesus can help you to be free and to inherit the kingdom of God.” When Volodya said a prayer of repentance his eyes were full of tears and new light; his face filled with a lake of light. In an instant, the adult man of fifty years old was transformed. The Holy Spirit has brought light and life into him. We are very grateful to God that He uses us to change the lives of adults and children!
When Mark and I arrived after a long journey to Dobromel, the children recognized us as always, running towards to us and hugging us.

I am grateful that you, our sponsors, maintain MUCH program’s. Because of this we can embrace these children’s souls. Because of your love that you share prayerfully and financially, children receive massage therapy and computer class in Dobromel, massage therapy and transportation scholarship in Illichevsk, and clothes in Marganets.
DSCN1511 (1)
Natasha, the massage therapist, is very grateful to all of you that the children are able to receive massage therapy that is not provided by the government. She and the teachers are seeing a lot of positive and excellent results after massage therapy. Children who did not speak before, begin to pronounce words. It improves the mental and emotional state of the children. This year the doctor removed the diagnosis of impaired posture from two children because of the results of massage therapy.

Ten year old Nadia wears a plastic corset to corset pictureprevent the development of spinal deformity. She even sleeps in this corset. At the beginning of last year, the doctors said that there was not any hope for change, even with constant wearing of the corset. She received four courses of 20-day massage treatments during the school year. At the beginning of this school year, Nadia received a physical examination. The doctors were surprised. They saw no progression of her spinal deformity. Natasha watches and records the changes that she sees in the children. We believe that through continued massage therapy for Nadia, the results will continue to show progress!

Ten-year old Ivan could not speak four years ago. He was one of the children that I gave a DSCN178020-day massage therapy treatment during my 20 day demonstration in October 2011. I saw progress; he was making sounds for the first time. After four years of trimonthly massage treatments, Ivan is talking normally.

He can communicate with other children and learn school programs. It is so important to have a colloquial dialogue with his peers!

The MUCH board of directors approved a second massage therapist, Paul, for the Dobromel Orphanage. He is pictured above giving massage therapy to Ivan. Paul began giving therapy to the children in September.

Living my dream,

Thirteen years of my life in Ukraine have come and gone. We have thousands of pictures and videos that tell the story. Thank you for walking through Ukraine with us as we found the children whom God prepared for us to help, and the Ukrainian people who would do the work. Personally, I am very grateful to all of you who have held us in prayer, shared our stories with your friends, and provided financial support to create programs and projects that would change the lives of the children. You have touched my life as you provided for my needs, and now the needs of Sveta and me. God bless all of you.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

August 2015

Hello family and friends,

Our wonderful adventure with our garden is coming to an end. It has been a big experience for Sveta and me. Now it is time to begin traveling to see the children. Visiting Illichevsk, Dobromel, and Marganets will keep us busy collecting information and pictures. In the middle of October, we will visit America for two months. I will write more about this in the September newsletter.

Marks Moments

Sergey, fifteen and full of enthusiasm, makes an opportunity each Sunday to speak with me in English. You read about him in the March newsletter. The story was about the English conversation group at our home. I began to think about this group and if they would continue during the summer. The other two children showed no signs of interest in meeting with me. When I saw Sergey at church,
I asked if he had any plans for his summer. To my surprise he had no plans.

Earlier in the spring, he helped Sveta prepare some of the garden area, so I knew that he liked to work. I asked if he wanted to help me with some of my projects during the summer. Even though he did not know what the projects might be, he enthusiastically said, “I will help you.”

He walked six miles ‘round trip every Thursday and Friday to work a few hours each day. As we began each of many different projects, I pleasantly learned that most of the activities we were doing were new experiences for him. The first time that we needed to drill holes in plaster and brick, I showed him what to do. I handed the drill to him, but being a bit shy he said, “You should do this.” I insisted. From that point, he was ready to go. Shovels, garden rake, scythe, hand saws, manual and power screw drivers, hammers big and small, all brought new adventure to him.
By the time that August rolled around, he was ready for almost anything. Sveta was going to the beach with her daughter and three grandchildren for five days. This gave me time to work on tiling the floor in the middle room. I asked Sergey if he wanted to help me work Monday through Friday. He agreed, not fully understanding that we would be setting tile on two-thirds of the middle room floor. I told him to study the process on YouTube. He did.

We prepared the floor on Monday and began to set tile on Tuesday. I looked at Sergey and asked, “Is this your first time setting tile?” He looked at me with a big smile and said, “Yes!” Looking back at him, I replied, “Mine too!” With big eyes, his excitement blossomed.
Each day we made some progress, learning about details that are learned only by doing. By Thursday, Sergey was beginning to feel pain. We talked about it. The tiles are two feet by two feet. They are heavy enough to make him tired over time, but the bending, lifting, and working on his knees, used more and different muscles than he was used to using. He told me, “The video that I watched had much smaller tiles. I thought that it would be very easy.” Even so, a smile remained on his face and he worked without hesitation. By Friday, he was exhausted.

I am not shy to say that Sergey has been motivating me to get the job done. What is more important to me is what he received. For Sergey, it was a summer journey into the real world. He wants to study to be an airplane mechanic. When I put a ratchet wrench in his hand, he took the first step into his work future. He wants to study in Poland, and the opportunity is available. Time will tell.
I’m thinking that a program for young boys to learn about using tools is a good idea. It would be great to get a few adults who work in the trades to guide boys on a project that would be more than doing something for my personal needs. Rather, to create a mercy program to help people who cannot afford to have the work done or cannot to do it themselves. Boys who apply their education and learning to use tools to help people in need is a win-win opportunity. Dad, thanks for teaching me to use tools!

Sveta’s Journey

The job of our massage therapists is not limited to giving massage therapy. The children that we work with have a suitcase full of emotional, psychological, and family problems that affect the progress of massage therapy. In addition to these problems, the parents are dealing with issues of their own. Working with our children requires our therapists to use many aspects of the healing process. It is like an orchestra where each instrument is connected in harmony with other instruments creating a magnificent masterpiece.

During the last 25 years of soviet times, I had not seen a child who had a disability until I took my own child to a heath sanatorium (spa) for treatment in the early 1990s. I was growing up in in Kazakstan, Siberia, and Ukraine, but never experienced children who where unlike me. If a child was born with a disability, he/she was sent to a Baby House, an institutional facility where life is only maintained, in most cases. In the last twenty-four years, many mothers have chosen to raise their child in spite of the disability. Unfortunately, it is common in Ukraine for a father to be unable to accept his own child if he/she is born with a disability. It is a difficult task to rase a child with a disability. Many men are not ready for the commitment.

Four-year-old Sasha’s father is one example. Within the first year after Sasha was born, his father divorced his wife and move away. Two years later Sasha’s mother, looking for a loving husband and father for her son, met a man that she soon fell in love with. He was invited to move in to their apartment and live with her and Sasha. Within a year, Sasha became very attached to this man and loved him very much.

The man soon came to realize the difficulties of living in a family with a disabled child, and left photo 3them. After his departure, Sasha suffered psycho-emotional stress. In this regard, the boy lost his desire to exercise and the expected results did not appear after massage therapy. Much of the previous positive results have been lost. His mother had stress also.

Because of the lost progress, Dr. Natalia found it very difficult to work with his muscles. She did her best to keep him interested in massage therapy and exercise. The results were good. She saw reduction of muscle tension. His emotions and sleep patterns improved. Sasha’s misbehavior changed and he began to relate better to people. He started to take an interest in toys. Now his is able to stand with some support.

Thank God that He has provided the MUCH team of people whose hearts have compassion for others. Thank God for everyone who prays and who helps with finance. Each of us is part of the big picture of God’s vision.

Has the war touched my family?

My son, Misha, is 31 years old. He has a beautiful wife and a five year old daughter. He was born with a minor type of cerebral palsy affecting one side of his body. It was not noticeable enough for the doctor to diagnose Cerebral Palsy. Even Mark had not noticed it for a number of years. Misha worked hard at developing his body.

When he was eighteen, he was proving himself, mostly to himself. He wanted to join the army, but the military government did not take him. They gave him a document that disqualified him from entering the army. Misha was very upset because he had a big desire to be in the army. Later he took up boxing as a proving ground. That was for two years and he was proud of his efforts.

Misha went to college for three years and got a degree in refrigeration repair. After that, he went to university for five years and got a degree in mechanical agriculture. He worked as an operator at a brewery for one year. He quickly moved up to management, enjoying it for the next seven years. The past few years Misha has been restless about the seasonal supply and demand changes for their product. He wanted a change in his work and his life. He was looking for a better job, possibly relocating to another city.

Last year when the war broke out, Misha was very uninformed about Russia’s part in the procedures. He talked about leaving the country with his family. Some of his friends moved to MISHA AND FAMILYRussia, Poland, or Belarus. Many things went through his mind.

Finally, Misha made a decision that surprised everyone. He joined the local military unit, similar to the national guard. He was told that he would be serving locally, in Mykolaiv, but that is unknown. Currently he is in training for the war. Whether he will go to active duty is unknown. Ira, his wife, has visited him on occasion, and I talked with my son on the phone a number of times.

Ira continues her work at the brewery, Masha, their daughter, continues to attend kindergarten, and life goes on. For Misha, there is no more stress about the government forcing him to go to the army. His job is to learn about army life, be safe, and stay alive. He will serve his country with all of his heart. He is in God’s hands, as we all are. Mark and I pray for him. Your prayers for Misha will be appreciated very much.

Living my dream,