Author Archives: Sveta Koehler

June 2021


Hello family and friends,

June brought a lot of rain, but that didn’t stop us from having fun! The grandchildren visited, playing outside in their make believe world.
Sveta planted the Willow tree a few years ago wiith a vision of a shady place for the children. Her vision grew, right along with the tree.

Every sunny day! is an opportunity for barbecued chicken, beef, or pork (shashleek). Our fireman and two cooks did a superb job.
It is a joy to see three generations working together for a common goal!

Sveta’s Journey

When some parents have a big family and do not take care of their children, sometimes older children take responsibility for the care of their younger brothers and sisters. This happened to twelve-year-old Ira. But she could not bear such a great burden of responsibility. She ran away from home. Her parents did not even contact the police about their daughter’s disappearance. She lived on the street and did not go to school. To earn money for food, Ira went to the forest to pick flowers and break off branches from coniferous trees to sell in the “flea market”.

(These photos show Ira in her first days at the Transition Home and the second photo was taken two months later.)

At the “flea market” the policeman’s attention was drawn to Ira. She was selling flowers, her clothes were dirty, and Ira looked very untidy. So Ira ended up in the Transition Home. The girl was washed, lice was removed from her hair, and her outer appearance was transformed. Her inner being was in need of very much attention and love. Because she was coughing heavily, she was prescribed treatment and massage therapy. So Albina, our massage therapist, had the opportunity to touch the life of this girl. Ira embraced the love and care of the people around her. Here at the Transition Home, she receives even more love and care than she was able to give to her siblings at home.

Olya was brought to the Transition Home from another city. The government took her away from her parents because they abuse alcohol and of course do not take care of their daughter. Olya thinks that she is in a general health sanatorium. The environment, sleeping facility, and receiving massage therapy may have given her this idea. It is possible that she does not understand that she was taken from her parents. She really enjoys massage especially hand and palm massage. 

Katya has problems with the muscles of her legs and the doctor prescribed massage therapy for her. After a ten-day course of massage, the calf and ankle muscles relaxed and the pain went away.Olya and Katya became friends here at the Transition Home. They also found a friend in the person of Albina, the massage therapist. She has great love for each child and a personal path to everyone’s heart. All children who receive massage therapy become Albina’s friend. Because to this friendship, their characters, outlook on life, and behavior change in positive and wonderful ways.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Sveta and I thank God for Albina. She is a person who positively influences children. Thank you so much dear family and friends for your prayers and financial help. Without you, these children would not be able to receive the loving and caring massage therapy treatment that they so desperately need.

Thank you for following our stories of what God is doing through MUCH in Ukraine. Please continue to pray, share our stories with your friends, and contribute when you can.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:

http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

May 2021

Hello family and friends,

Massage therapy provides many results. Here are 25 reasons that may give you a better understanding of massage therapy. Over the past sixteen years, MUCH massage therapists who are all Ukrainian citizens, have been treating a variety of needs for children with different types of disabilities. In our early intervention treatments, they are correcting physical and non-symmetrical problems that will lead to disability.

Stepovoya

 

At the Stepovoya Orphanage for Boys, about twenty-five of the fifty boys are unable to walk. Spasticity is one problem that massage therapy addresses. Relaxing the muscles helps the child to be calm and experience a better quality of life. The best result for these boys has been an increase in the quality of their immune system. Many of the boys would spend time in the hospital over the winter months. During the winter of the first year of massage therapy treatment, most of the boys who commonly would need hospitalization, did not. Their immune systems were greatly improved.

Downs Syndrome can be treated with massage therapy, creating improved muscle tone and motor function. The younger they receive treatment, the better the results can be.

The boys who are mobile and have the mental capacity to learn, are developing life skills at the orphanage. Whether in the military or in the orphanage, one of the first things that you will learn to do is to make your bed. For the boys, it is a big task, a mental process that require many steps.

A higher life skill that some of the children are learning is cooking. Handling a knife to cut up vegetables for a salad may be simple for you, but for these boys, many basic skills and processes that we take for granted are new and sometimes difficult tasks for them to learn.

Every child is a precious gift of God. Look into their faces and see them as a gift to experience.

Ira and Natasha have been a part these boy’s lives for some time. Two years ago, they became massage therapists and entered a new relationship with the boys. Now their love blossoms into a deeper experience of healthcare. The degree of healing that takes place through massage therapy brings a better quality of life to each child in a very individual way.

I was so pleased to see the boys experience planting trees. Working with living trees that bring life, beauty, food, and even the air that we breath.
It has been my personal experience planting and being a caretaker of trees in our yard that makes this picture so meaningful to me.

The Stepovoya team makes every opportunity for the boys to experience nature and planting life. Bright colors, fresh air, and the open spaces excite and motivate the boys to participate with enthusiasm.

Massage therapy helps the boys become calm, happy, and to participate at their best in every activity!

Thank you for following our stories of what God is doing through MUCH in Ukraine. Please continue to pray, share our stories with your friends, and contribute when you can.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:

http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

 

April 2021

Hello family and friends,

When I first moved to Ukraine, my purpose was unclear. I knew that I would be helping children, but the details would be revealed as time moved forward. One thing was clear; I was not called to Ukraine to plant an American business on this soil. By 2004, it had begun to be clear in my mind that the mission was not to fix problems in Ukraine. Rather, if I could enable people to realize their passion and move forward with it, that would be enough. The deeper realization of this in my mind developed overtime.
In America, the majority of people are not leaders, builders of new ideas and businesses, but rather the majority are the gears that make the great machines operate. The same is true in Ukraine. After generations of being the gears, the labor force, of the Soviet Union, the people of Ukraine were ready to build their own dreams. Even so, a small percentage will be true builders of businesses. In the sixteen and a half years of experience with massage therapy, MUCH yields 28% of the therapists starting their own massage therapy business. Here are their stories.

Dr. Natalya

God directed me to Dr. Natalya because my own need for massage therapy. She was renting the back room of a three room flat from a very elderly man. She worked with adult clients, but her heart wanted to provide massage therapy for children with disabilities. She partnered with MUCH in 2004, giving two patient hours for children with disabilities.

Over the years, she increased her medical rehabilitation education, and worked at additional facilities. By 2017, she operated a professional rehabilitation facility of her own in Chornomorsk. She, and three specialists in her employ, are serving the children of this city. Dr. Natalya has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Natasha M.

The director of the Dobromel Orphanage introduced Natasha to me in 2010. My wife, Sveta, gave a twenty-day demonstration of massage therapy that showed results in September 2011. Natasha began the massage therapy program at the Dobromel Orphanage for children with special needs in October of that year.
After a few years of treating children with various types of disabilities, she took a great interest in how massage therapy could interact with speech therapy. Natasha was so inspired, she acquired a masters degree in speech therapy.

By 2018, She was ready to open her own massage therapy clinic in her city of Cambir. Natasha rents a room in this cheery business building. Above the door on the right is her sign, “Studio Massage”. She continues her work at the orphanage, and has her clinic operating with another massage therapist as her employee. Natasha has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Sveta’s Journey

Ira O.

Sveta and I met Ira in the church that we were attending in Chornomorsk in 2012. She had been a nurse for a number of years, specializing in giving injections. One Sunday after the service, she proudly announced that she had completed her training in massage therapy. I leaned over to Sveta and said, “We should talk with her!

She began working with MUCH in the Policlinic. The following year she changed to home visits, and expanded developing her personal clients. Her specialty is early intervention, working with infants and children from two months to two years old. Ira has made a name for herself. Although she does not work out of a clinic setting, she works full time, visiting her patients in their homes. Ira has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Oksana V.

Oksana (on the right) took an interest in 2016 to learning how massage therapy could help children with disabilities. She completed the training program and became certified to provide massage therapy.
Setting up a massage table in her living room, she began inviting parents with children in her district of Mykolaiv to receive massage therapy. Within a year, Oksana had enough patients on a regular basis to rent a small room in the exercise business “Fit Curves”.

Take a look at the nine certificates on her wall. Face massage, lymph drainage massage, and children massage are some of the extra knowledge and skills that she has learned in the past five years. She continues improving her ability to serve all of the massage therapy needs of her patients.
Oksana’s passion is for the infants. Being a mother of three children, she understands the value of early intervention. She is providing wonderful opportunities for infants to overcome physical differences that could become disabilities. Oksana has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Nadya

Nadya has been working with MUCH for seventeen months. After completing her training, and being certified, she quickly organized a room in her home that she could use for a massage therapy clinic.

Ovidiopol is spread out over eight miles. There are no high rise apartment buildings that are commonly found in most cities and towns in Ukraine. To build a home visit practice would be difficult and financially impractical.
Nadya’s first year has proven to be successful. We look forward to seeing what she will accomplish these next few years as her practice continues to grow and develop. As time moves forward, we believe that Nadya will meet the goal of MUCH!

I am so happy to be a part of what God is doing through MUCH in my country.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Thank you for following our stories of what God is doing through MUCH in Ukraine. Please continue to pray, share our stories with your friends, and contribute when you can.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:

http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

 

 

March 2021

Hello family and friends,
Mark’s Moments

Update on Maria

In the February MUCH newsletter, we highlighted the story of Maria. It is amazing how God works. Sveta and I began attending a different church on the opposite side of Mykolaiv in February. Surprisingly, it is located about a half mile walk from Maria’s home. Enna, who also goes to this church, accompanies Sveta’s and my visit to Maria every Sunday after church. We pray for her healing, believing that she will have a new life with a new purpose.

Dobromel Orphanage For Children with Disabilities
Five years ago, Luba, the Dobromel Orphanage (for children with disabilities) librarian, asked to talk with me. She wanted to teach the children computer skills in the library. There were a number of computers already in the library, but the majority of the children did not know how to operate them. She saw a possibility for her to become more than a part time school librarian. Could she use her organizational skills to create a unique learning environment for the children?
As we talked about the children, Luba wanted to know about my expectations for the success of the children. I explained to her that I anticipated that it would take a long time to see big results. I was looking positively at the long term potentiality. Could a child learn to use a program that they could use in a job? If not that, maybe a computer skill that would improve their own personal quality of life.
Now, five years later, Luba has shown that she inspires the children to become something more than they were. Her work with the children with disabilities has created a new interest for them in their other classes. The teachers are very enthusiastic about the children’s new interests in education in general.
Sveta’s Journey
Dobromel Orphanage Computer Class
Maria is in the sixth grade. She is very active. For Maria to sit in one place for an extended time would be a great feat for her. She is neat and well organized. Her physical and intellectual development is normal for her age. Maria reads very well. This skill flows to her development of typing skills on the computer keyboard. Her typing proficiency is coming along more quickly than expected.
In the classroom, Maria is active, and hungers for new knowledge. She enjoys learning various programs on the computer and even more so, on the computer tablet. When introduced to a new program or game, she absorbs the content and puts it to use quickly
Stephan is in the tenth grade. He is an average student in the areas of knowledge, skills, and abilities in his academic subjects. He always wants to be the first, and strives for new knowledge, with pleasure. Luba is his teacher. As she challenges his knowledge, he performs with about 90% correct answers.
Using the keyboard has improved his knowledge of the Russian alphabet. Along with this, his reading skills have become better. When asked to read aloud, Stephan’s pronunciation is still not very clear. He seems to learn new material well. As long as it is in his short term memory, he can retrieve it. Once in long term memory, he needs to be reminded, to hook on to the previously studied material.
Misha is in the ninth grade. He is also hungry to know everything that he is able to digest. His attention has become more focused. Misha is no longer distracted and can keep his attention on the task for a longer time. He is now better able to orient himself in time and space. His memory has improved. Previously, it was difficult to understand Misha when he spoke. Now his speech has improved. He still stutters often, especially when he is worried. Compared to last year, Misha has become purposeful, balanced, and calm.
Luba has adjusted a computer program for Sergei. Even though he is in the ninth grade, he functions at a low level of education. Sergei digests concepts and develops his thinking at a slower pace than his peers. He cannot draw elementary conclusions and has a limited vocabulary. During the conversation, he worries and stutters. Sergei is prone to emotional breakdowns, and his attention is unstable. When he is told what he is to do next, he often needs to have his instructions repeated. Last year Sergei did not want to do the same task for more than ten minutes, but now he has become more patient. He began to understand the meaning of a computer game and its goals. He types slowly, trying to learn how to use both hands.
Luba sees that teaching computer skills is useful for children. It develops their ability to gain knowledge and apply it in practice. Their aesthetic interests are cultivated. Developing computer skills also increases personal creativity, attention, ingenuity, and contributes to the development of logical thinking in these students. Since children have different levels of ability and learning, Luba has an individual approach with each child and prepares lessons according to their personality and mental capability. She is pleased with the results she sees with her students. The fact that for some of the children it takes several years to accomplish the desire results, Luba remains pleased. It is so wonderful to be happy with what you are doing for the children and especially if you are doing it for the children with disabilities!
Living my dream,
Sveta
Sveta and I are so very grateful to all of you who read our stories, share our stories with your friends, pray for the children, Sveta and me, and for those who share financially. All of you are what makes MUCH move forward. Thank you for your participation. God Bless You!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta
You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:
http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

February 2021

Hello family and friends, 

Hello spring!

Have you pruned your fruit trees? Spring is right around the corner. Days of sunshine are more abundant. Sveta is ready to get out and work with her roses and vineyard. Our nineteen fruit trees are mine to care for.
Sveta and I are very happy to hear that Americans are receiving vaccination to combat COVID-19. You can read about the most recent vaccine beginning activity in Ukrainehere. This news from Radio Free Europe is dated Feb 23.
MUCH focuses on working with infants and children. For some of the little darlings, development comes early, and others, with time. But there are some youngsters for whom MUCH can only provide treatment that will maintain a plateau of progressive change. Such a story is told in Mark’s Moments, below.

Mark’s Moments
Three years ago, MUCH enabled two Christian young women to become massage therapists in our city of Mykolaiv. One of them, Anya, was introduced to a teenager, Maria, who has severe cerebral palsy. She has worked with this girl for three years. This year, a third Christian massage therapist that MUCH enabled in Mykolaiv last year, is also providing massage therapy for Maria. Oksana (in picture) is very happy to be working with her.
Maria is seventeen years old. She has grown, and maintains her weight. Spasticity is a big problem when it is time to move Maria. Because of COVID-19 and Maria’s own bout with illness, she was without massage therapy for four months. Sveta visited with Oksana this time and saw how much of Maria’s progress was missing.
Her arms and legs are stiff and very challenging to manipulate. It is very difficult for Maria’s grandmother to bath her and dress her.
Her grandmother is not a healthy women, and has high blood pressure. She has raised Maria since she was 6 year old. Maria’s parents divorced, and only this one grandparent had compassion for her. It was typical that children with severe disabilities are abandoned by their parents and most relatives. That is changing as more medical services are becoming available.
A Ukrainian family raised money for this child. When Sveta passed it on to the grandmother, she was in tears. She said, “I knew that God would provide money. I didn’t expect it to be this way.” Her financial need is so great. She scrapes by with her small pension and even smaller government provided pension for Maria.
MUCH home-visit treatments are serving children who would normally not receive any regular help. Six of the thirteen MUCH massage therapists are home-visit therapists. The rest either have their own clinic or work within a government orphanage, or transition home.
Sveta’s Journey
Periodically, during the quarantine time, when many children were at home since last year, orphans continued to spend time in the orphanage. Of course, it’s not fun to know that your friends are with family and you are in the orphanage. Even so, several snowy days brought them joy

I remember the time before my marriage to Mark, when he asked me to provide a twenty-day massage therapy program. I agreed, and lived at this orphanage. I was to provide massage treatment for the children and share the results with the Director of the Dobromel Orphanage. I provided massage therapy treatments during the day. In the evenings, some of the children gathered in my room.
Of course, I missed my son, daughter, and especially my one year and three month old granddaughter. One evening I was so sad that my heart sank with self-pity. I cried and thought, “What am I doing here? God, why am I here when my daughter needs me at this time to help her with the baby? My parents need me too.” My face was flooded with bitter tears and at that moment I heard the Lord inside me say to me: “You are not here forever, soon you will return to your family. And these children have nowhere to return to. Imagine how hard it is for them to deal with this situation. These children are mentally and physically challenged; they also need family and love. “

My tears instantly stopped, self-pity disappeared, and compassion for these children settled in my heart. Since that time, compassion and love for them always accompany me. I am sincerely happy when I see the results of massage treatment!

Last year Misha, (in the dark plaid coat), received four ten-day massage treatments. The boy’s posture improved. Thanks to the speech therapy facial massage, he began to speak better. He expressed himself with an emotional tone, instead of mono tone.

This year, the boy’s aunt promised to take him to her home for a few days. But she did not come and the child took it very hard. The boy closed himself off from others, became aggressive, and he again displayed behavior representative of mental disorders.
Natasha, the massage therapist gave Misha a ten-day course of relaxing massage therapy, including drawing with sand on a color lighted sand box. Misha drew a house, a family. This symbolically resembled what he had not yet been able to express. He was filled with fears, high emotion, and psychological trauma. Drawing was like an evaluation of his emotional mood. It is also one of the lessons of game therapy. After the complex massage treatment, music therapy and drawing with sand on the sand box, Misha’s psycho-emotional state stabilized. Misha became friendly and a smile shone on his face again.
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

January 2021

Hello family and friends,

We received $3,060 for our Christmas Fundraiser. Our goal is $7,500. Thank you to all who gave to sponsor the massage therapy program for the children with disabilities. We are hoping that other friends of MUCH did fundraisers on Facebook.

We have been blessed with snow, temperatures as low as +1F for a week or so. We think that is enough of that kind of blessing!
In November, I promised some pictures of what we completed on our second floor project. Here are pictures of the two roofs, doors and windows, and the inside. Sveta and I floored the attic with OSB and covered it with RockWool insulation.
This spring we will complete the roofs with soffit and facia.
There is plenty to be done on phase 2 of the project. For now, the plan is to save, save, save!

Mark’s Moments

Nadya in Ovidiopol
Ira is the MUCH manager in the Odessa Region. She is also the wife of the pastor of our church, here in Ovidiopol. She introduced Mark and Sveta to Alla, a second massage therapist, and me in my home in Ovidiopol, west southwest of Chornomorsk, in 2019. Later that year, Alla and I were students at the massage therapy training course in Odessa.
Alla and I began working as massage therapists in our town of Ovidiopol in January 2020. MUCH sponsors four children a month for each of us.
I decided to work out of my home. I have three children. My son is 15, my daughter is 13, and my youngest son is 7 years old. In August of last year, my husband died of a heart attack. This loss, of my husband and father of three, added to our challenges of life in Ukraine.

How does being a massage therapist for MUCH change my life?

 feel and know that I can be useful for my loved ones and especially for people who do not have money. For me it is very pleasant to give them warmth and hope. Massage therapy for children is a very good avenue to tell parents about God, that He loves them in a special way, and He cares.
My three children have begun to have a different attitude toward me. They respect me more. They always ask, ‘Mom, can you help my friend with certain physical problems?’ Not only do they ask for help with massage, but now, they also ask for my advice.

I really enjoy improving myself. I find a lot of useful information about massage therapy and special exercises through various videos. I use this knowledge in my practice.
For everything, Glory to our Merciful Lord!

Marganets Transition Home Winter Needs

The children who live at the Transition Home are often taken from their parents without much warning. Many times they are taken with only the clothes on their backs. In some cases, the clothing they are wearing is all that they have.
During the Christmas Season, the director asked for funds to provide indoor foot wear (slippers) for twenty-two children. They may live in the Transition Home for up to nine months. An extra five pair were purchased for children in the day program. The children of the Transition Home thank you, sponsors of MUCH, for making their winter a little brighter.

Sveta’s Journey

What do you think can cause attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity in a child? ADHD has a number of causes with a variety of reactions, such as social maladjustments, lack of calm physical movement, and low self-esteem. Below is a story of two brothers who struggle through life in this way.

Alex and Stas


The mother of six and seven-year-olds, Alex and Stas, had difficult pregnancies with prolonged labor. The doctors believe that these two problems are the cause of the diagnosed ADHD.
The boys have very tense neck muscles. This, in turn, does not allow the nervous and vascular systems of the brain to work normally. They cannot concentrate on learning new things, and are restless. When they start a game or some activity, the boys cannot complete it, and quickly switch to another interest.

Alex and Stas’s mother turned to Nadya, the massage therapist of Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope, for help. During the first days of the massage, it was very difficult for Alex and Stas to just lie and enjoy the massage. 

They tried to get up and had to run about the room. But gradually, when the tense muscles began to relax bringing a calm experience. The boys felt peaceful and seemed to pause a little in their need for movement. After a ten-day course of full-body, relaxing massage, the boys’ mother and Nadya saw results. Alex and Stas became calmer and more attentive. Three months later, Nadya recommended that the parents repeat the massage treatment for the brothers.

Maria

Nadya gives children massage therapy at her home. The room that she specially equipped for massage is not as warm as the rest of the house. For the winter season, she moved her massage treatments to another room. For little patients like Maria, it is important to keep warm. At the age of four months, Nadya was already giving her massage therapy. Maria had a pronounced flexor hypertonicity of the extremities. At eight months old, she was receiving the second ten-day massage course. By the end of this second course of massage, the problem was solved. The child’s parents are very pleased with the result. In addition to the massage treatment for Maria, her body was being stimulated to initiate crawling. For this, the muscles of the child must be strong enough to support her body weight. When a child crawls, it develops memory, spacial orientation, and visual-spatial perception.


Exercises on the ball delight Maria! This is a great workout for the inner ear and balance, (vestibular apparatus)! When she started to crawl a little, this surprises her! The world around Maria looks completely different! It’s so wonderful to reach the goal by yourself, to crawl, and take what you want!

Katya

How important it is to detect a problem in a timely manner and immediately begin to solve it. Katya had first degree scoliosis. When her parents discovered this problem, they came to our massage therapist, Nadya. A fifteen-day course of massage therapy and exercises on the ball helped correct this diagnosis. After the first therapeutic massage, Katya said to Nadya: “I fell in love with you very much, I like the way you give me massage.”

All of these problems seem insignificant at first glance. But massage treatment today, for these children and many others, is the solution for how their health will be when they become adults.
Many thanks to everyone who helps us carry this ministry to children in Ukraine. Thank you for your prayers and financial assistance! God bless you and your families!
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

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

It is not Santa Claus or children’s stories that this season is about,

But rather it is children, be they tall or short, thin or stout.

All children need to be told the truth, while they are very young,

That Christmas is a relationship about which songs are sung.

Society can try to change the meaning with decorations and things,

But it will always be the Christ Child for which the season rings.

Yet, it is not a relationship for a season,

For the Christ Child came for an eternal reason.

He came to be with you every day,

To be a part of your life in every way.

God came as the Christ Child to communicate with you and me,

He sent His Son not only to set us free.

God wants a relationship with us as His children every day,

Not for a season, or a holiday, or to celebrate in some mystic way.

So tell the children while they are young and can believe,

The story of the true Christmas, that they may always retrieve.

Let it be deep in their minds and warm in their hearts,

That relationship with the Christ Child would never be apart.

The children are the future, they should be our main focus,

We must teach them truth, not some magical hokus pokus.

The Ukrainian children pictured above,

From the transition home, are desperately in need of truth and love.

Tell the children so they may hear the true Christmas story today.

Let them have the chance for relationship with God in every way.

Relationship with God is the reason for the Christmas Season!

Have a very merry of Christmas this year!

Mark and Sveta

December 2020

Hello MUCH Sponsors and Friends,

You can help in providing life-changing help for children with special needs in a big way and it will cost you very little.
Imagine being able to help many children who have no hope but you. MUCH is in great need of financial support. Due to COVID-19, our donations have declined. To keep our current programs running, we need to raise $7,500.
As you know, MUCH is a Christian based mission that serves young children with physical and mental disabilities. Massage therapy helps these children attain marked improvement. It offers them hope and gives them opportunities to lead a better life.
Sveta and I greatly appreciate your continued support to help disadvantaged children in Ukraine. Thank you for your help!


A MUCH Success Story

Valya is nine-years-old. Her parents were deprived of their parental rights because of their immoralities, so Valya was sent to a Baby House. The care at Baby Houses is minimal and lacks maternal affection and parental attention and care. The developmental stages of growth are stifled.
After spending three years in the Baby House, Valya was sent to the orphanage in Dobromel, Ukraine.
She has speech problems and problems walking. After three years of full-body massages and speech therapy face massage, Natasha, the massage therapist of Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope, noticed that Valya was better at pronouncing certain words. She began to express herself. Before the therapy, one of her legs seemed shorter, making it was difficult for Valya to walk. After therapy, her hips became level and she walked with greater ease.
This is just one example of how MUCH helps children with disadvantages improve their physical and mental well-being.

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta
Please Donate
Visit our website

November 2020

Hello family and friends,
The roof is on the house, the windows and doors are installed, Sveta and I are insulating the attic, and winter has arrived. We completed phase one of our project, six weeks past our deadline, and $300 over budget, but we are very happy with how things are at this point. The exchange rate was 26 -28 UAH per $1.00 over the five month period. As stated in previous newsletters, this project is funded with Sveta’s and my personal savings. There is plenty of work to do in phase two. Pictures will be in the January newsletter.

This year our Christmas fundraiser will have three ways to donate.
1. You are welcome to donate by check or PayPal as before.
2. If you use Facebook for social media, you can create a fundraiser for MUCH on your Facebook page, asking your friends to donate. We will send directions of how to do this on December 6. It is very easy to do.
3. If you are unsure, you can make a regular donation and try the Facebook fundraiser.

Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope received $59.61 from the AmazonSmile Foundation for the third quarter! Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice (Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope) we hope. Shopping through AmazonSmile for your Christmas gifts is the easiest way to donate to Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope. It adds up when you shop AmazonSmile!

Mark’s Moments

You haven’t heard much from our massage therapists. Recently, Sveta asked our massage therapists to respond to this question. “How has being a massage therapist for MUCH touched or changed your life?” Here are answers from two of our fourteen therapists in their own words:

Albina wrote:
When I come to the Transition Home, I understand that what I am doing is necessary for the children. Most importantly, I share my love with them. I give them a massage, but also the opportunity to feel wanted and needed. I have a child of my own. I understand perfectly how important this is, especially when the child orphan.
In return, children give me pleasure through their sincere communication. They are all different, and each is interesting in their own way. Even on the most difficult days, coming to them, I can rest my soul and get recharged with positive emotions for a long time.

Alla wrote:

I was surprised by your question. I had already begun thinking about noticeable changes in my life. I thought to myself, “How did she know?…” Then I understood that it was by her own experience. In a word, my daily routine is significantly saturated. I work from 9 to 5. I used to run home to rest. Now, after work I give a massage, sometimes a few. I’m getting tired. But this is a pleasant weariness. It is because I feel much worse when there is no one to receive my massage.

I am in constant tension. Will there be anything to write a report about at the end of the month. During my first months, there was a general nervousness. This is worse. So let there be a lot of massage recipients. When there is someone to receive my massage, the feeling of being useful, needed, and doing good is added to the feeling of pleasant fatigue. Periodically, my feelings are supported by visible results in my patients.
I understand intellectually that everything is in God’s hands, but I still worry and get nervous every month. I confess, there was the thought: “Why do I need this? I am nervous, with constant tension, and am under pressure. I can’t sleep, eat, or rest until there are children on the horizon who need me.” This is my life now. There are the pros and cons. As I am writing to you I am thinking: “If I knew then what I know now, would I have said yes to becoming a massage therapist? My answer is “yes.” I choose the challenge over an empty and less meaningful life. Thank you for your question and concern. God’s blessings!

 

I remember when I first came to Ukraine as a missionary. It was a great challenge. Even so, I soon found more purpose in my life that ever before. This is what I see happening in the lives of our massage therapists.

Sveta’s Journey

For different reasons, many parents abandoned their children immediately after their birth. When their child is found to have extreme diagnoses, some parents make extreme decisions. Many decide to give away their child. No one can judge them. Perhaps, in the future, many of them regret their actions. Others, perhaps in an alcoholic fog, do not even remember that they have a child.

But thank God that these boys found a home and family in an orphanage in the village of Stepovoya. Here they are loved, the employees try to organize the lives of the children. They provide social relationships with other people, taking place in the limited space of the orphanage. Aside from social skills children are taught basic life skills.

When Andre’s mother brought him to the orphanage, he was twelve years old, but he could not sit, or walk. During his first year at the orphanage, Andre learned to walk and sit a little.

Eleven-year-old Anton, has numerous complex diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, congenital anomaly of the brain, and profound mental retardation. When he recently arrived at the orphanage, he received massage therapy for the first time in his life. Every day, the massage therapist, with the help of another caregiver, tries to teach Anton to stand and walk with support. They believe that their persistence will lead to at least a partial improvement in the child’s condition. This has happened more than once with other children at this orphanage. When you put your heart into a child with love, patience and faith, God manifests different types of miracles.

Eleven-year-old Denis has cerebral palsy. He lived with his mother and brother in a one-room apartment. Seven years ago his mother brought him to the orphanage because she did not know how to help her child. Subsequently, his mother died. His older brother, who was registered in a psychiatric hospital, embarked on a slippery path to crime. The child perceived massage therapy absolutely without emotion. But after a while Denis began to recognize the massage therapist with a smile.

Seventeen-year-old Nick’s leg muscles atrophied due to cerebral palsy. The child also has profound mental retardation. Boy has contractures in his knee and foot joints. While receiving massage therapy, Nick began to smile for the first time. He spends most of the day in a wheelchair, and therefore massage is very important for him. This treatment helps prevent bedsores.

Dan’s parents refused to even look at him in the maternity hospital. The child has severe mental retardation. But this does not prevent him from being the first mate for adults. He is always going somewhere. He is often running, and seldom sits still. He is very talkative, and loves to listen to music. Massage therapy brings great pleasure to Dan. For him, it is like rest for an adult after a hard day at work.

Boys are deprived of the warmth and care of their relatives. These functions are performed by Natasha and Ira, our MUCH massage therapists. They are staff members at the orphanage.
Natasha and Ira told us that they love the children very much. When they provide massage therapy, they simply pass on their love to the children, not even thinking that this is work.
Through your financial contributions, our therapists are changing the lives of so many children. Can you imagine the breakthrough of seeing a child smile for the first time. You made that happen! Thank you so much for your interest in the children of MUCH!
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

October 2020

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I hope that this fall season will please your eyes with wonderful colors. We hope for good health for all of you and your family. Here in southern Ukraine, the temperatures are dropping to the 40s F and 50s F. The children in all of Ukraine are on fall break. We are in “red zone” for two weeks. The latest news as I write this newsletter is that the children will go back to school November 2.
As we continue to encourage the massage therapists and children from a distance, MUCH carries on, helping the children in need. Fifty-four children receive massage therapy each month. God blesses our team with good health and opportunity to love the children. See our stories below.

Mark’s Moments

MUCH children are so naturally beautiful. Even so, inside each of them are mysteries and painful memories. They function best with regular routine. Since COVID-19 disrupted the routine of the world, and their world, change began to disrupt their lives.
Every summer the children had a vacation, somewhere in Ukraine, from their orphanage environment. This summer of 2020, the true orphans stayed at the orphanage all summer.
In September, when Natasha returned to the orphanage, she resumed massage therapy for the children. They appeared different from how they had been in years past. Starved for attention, they talked all the time. Apparently, they acted as if they had been sitting in a cage (the orphanage) for six months.
One of the older boys, in need of great amounts of attention, went to one of the classrooms on the upper floor. Alone, he pulled out some matches to play with. When he realized that he start a fire, he ran to another room and hid. After being evaluated, the boy was hospitalized for psychological care.
The fire was contained, but not before considerable damage had occurred. Damage was done to the classroom, and the room below where Natasha gave massage therapy to the children.
When Natasha was given another room to work in, she faced new problems. Since there is no water in the new office, she had to go to the hallway restroom to wash her hands after every treatment.
The heat was not turned on for the season yet, so Natasha had to heat the room with a small portable heater. Things could have been so much worse. Natasha’s children are receiving massage therapy again. They are happy, and are reverting back to their previous emotional progress!
Nik is eleven years old. He has been struggling for a long time with muscle hypertonia, causing him to stoop forward. For the past two years, he has been receiving massage therapy. This is effecting all of the muscle groups in his back, improved his posture. He gladly comes for massage therapy, that also elevated his mood. In addition, exercise increased his symmetry, especially exercises for the back. Massage therapy has a positive effect on the central nervous system. Nik became more active, confident and happy.
Particular attention is paid to chiropractic therapy, which realigns the spine.
Nik participates in physical games and activities now, with less pain. Because of massage therapy treatments, his life has greater potential and more opportunities to participate in school competitions.

Sveta’s Journey

Do you think it is possible to recognize scoliosis in a child under one year old? After all, the baby cannot communicate any discomfort with words. The baby can only cry.If parents are attentive, they may notice something is wrong. Any asymmetry in the folds on the child’s body and limbs may indicate that the baby has a problem.
When Alex’s parents discovered asymmetry of the folds on the legs of their four-month-old baby, they turned to the pediatrician. The pediatrician also discovered that the child was lagging behind in physical development. Alex could not hold his head up, hold a toy in his hand, or roll over. All these are symptoms of muscle dystonia, shortening of muscles that pull on the spine, leading to scoliosis.

After the first course of massage therapy, the results were visible! Alex began to hold a toy in his hand. He turned from stomach to back and vice versa. Three months later, our massage therapist, Oksana, did a second course of ten-day massage therapy. Now, the baby is seven months old; he holds his head up with ease. The folds of the skin on his legs are symmetrical!

The common cause of infant scoliosis is muscle dystonia. In the initial stage, scoliosis is not dangerous. But if you do not consult a doctor in time, the vertebrae will become more and more misaligned. This will lead to muscle asymmetry, pinching nerve endings. With age, headaches, back pains, and malfunctions of internal organs will begin.
Because of you, dear friends, massage therapists of Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope help children in early intervention avoid becoming disabled at an older age.
How wonderful that Alex received two ten-day massage courses in time!



Living my dream,

Sveta

Sveta and I are so grateful to our partners, sponsors, and those who share our stories with friends. After living through two revolutions, a coup, an occupation, and a war that continues in eastern Ukraine, we look at the children. They are, many times, lost in the shuffle.
The goal of MUCH is to help the Ukrainian people help their own people. Thanks to all of you for helping us help Ukraine help their children.


You can see our Youtube site http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta