Author Archives: Sveta Koehler

August 2020

Hello family and friends,

Our long, hot, summer has come to an end. It has been the most interesting one in all of my years in Ukraine. In the July Newsletter I wrote about our long term ministry plans for the property. Our first step was to add a second story with roof. After working with two contractors, we finally found some workers who wanted to work continuously.

The front wall with three window seats and the back wall are waiting for the beltway that will be finished by September 10. The back wall will continue upward, creating a vaulted roof and ceiling. Down the road, we anticipate solar panels on the roof. This is becoming very popular here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had water damage on the first floor in June after the roof was removed. Until last night, we had very hot days. More rain visited us until this morning. A small area in the bathroom was leaking, but nowhere else.

I came down with a fever at the end of August. While caring for me, Sveta also acquired the same illness. While I continue to regain my strength after nine days, Sveta, that strong Ukrainian woman, bounced back within three days! God is good!

Mark’s Moments

COVID-19 has not stopped the work of our massage therapists. It has stopped our growth and reduced our support in the first half of 2020. We had three people ready for massage therapy training, but this has not developed because of COVID-19 and MUCH shortage of funds.

In our February Newsletter, we told about a couple working with 400 children in the Happy Family program. They were ready for massage therapists, but COVID-19 got in the way.

A friend of ours from Poltava knows someone interested in massage therapy, but MUCH funding is not available at this time.

All other activities of MUCH continued during the first half of 2020 as in every other year. It seems that this fever that Sveta and I had, is going around in Ukraine. You can pray for our manager Ira Kolosova. She has a fever at this writing.

It is difficult to say much about COVID-19 in Ukraine. The infection rate continues to climb, but new cases are requiring new rules. Our border has closed to foreigners. The regions are regulated according severity of illness. Mykolaiv region remains on the safer side of danger. I visited a virtual Home Town meeting by the American Embassy in Ukraine the other day. In general, things are better in Ukraine than many other European countries, as I understand it.

Green

Sveta’s Journey

Mark and I planned to visit several families with disabled children who receive massage therapy under our MUCH program in our city of Mykolaiv. We thought that by September COVID-19 would be under control. Parents invited us to meet them and their children. But since the quarantine was tightened, we decided to postpone our meetings.

Our massage therapists continue their work, and parents continue to open the doors of their homes, even during the quarantine period. They are seeing great results. Their children, small or big, with severe disabilities, and very high muscle tension, are in great need of help.

Many children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, hemi-paresis, or tetra-paresis, receive a ten-day massage course every month. This sixteen-year-old child cannot walk and spends all of her time in bed. Her grandmother who alone takes care of her granddaughter, has a difficult time turning the girl over during the day and the child stays in one stable position for a long time. Progressive muscle imbalance can lead to dislocation of the hip in the hip joint. Blood circulation is impaired. These and many other problems can be stopped and prevented from developing through massage therapy. After the massage, muscle hypertonicity is noticeably reduced and this brings great relief from pain for our dear children.

Two brothers, eleven and seven years old, have the same diagnosis of autism and scoliosis. Victor is very calm and self-contained. Ivan is super active and fidgety. It was not easy for Anya to give him massage therapy. The boy was constantly struggling and spinning. In the middle of the ten-day course, Ivan calmed down and enjoyed the massage therapy.

Parents of children with autism notice that after massage, children’s behavior becomes more social. Language skills improve, anxiety reduces, and concentration increases. This significantly improves the quality of life for the children. And this is very encouraging for parents!

Soon after Sasha was born eleven years ago, our massage therapist, Tanya, was contacted for help. Sasha was born with a traumatic doctor error, leaving him in a vegetative state, unable to do anything for himself. After eleven years of massage therapy designed specifically to relax dominant muscles and strengthen weak muscles, Sasha continues to live. We have seen small signs of progress. In his case, the best that we are seeing is an improved quality of life.

He has a three year old brother and his family continues to love him. Life continues for this family in a positive manor, mostly because of the treatment and personal interaction of Tanya with this family.

When I read the reports and the results of the work of our massage therapists, I see even more value of massage therapy home visits. The massage therapist becomes a part of the family, opening up and releasing pain for them. Parents look forward to the arrival of the massage therapist. Their life, like the life of their children, is limited by a narrow circle of people and the walls of their apartment or house.

Together with our massage therapists, dear family and friends, you are part of these families and bring relief, expanding the lives of parents and children! Thank you very much!

Living my dream,

Green


Sveta
Please consider donating to MUCH to help the children with disabilities improve their quality of life.

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Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

July 2020

Hello family and friends,

Sveta and I hope that this letter finds you happy, healthy, and looking forward to a great August, and a new school year for the children. COVID-19 has challenged the world for more than seven months. Let’s work together to overcome all of the problems in the economy and society that have developed during the pandemic.

In this newsletter, Sveta and I will share two stories about children who are not in the MUCH program. Ukraine, with the lowest GDP per capita in Europe, struggles to provide a bright future for its children. Here are two stories that demonstrate the longing of children to have a better life. They show through the hope in their eyes their desire to grow both in learning and in Spirit.

Mark’s Moments

Three years ago, Sveta met one of our neighbors, Alla, from the next street over, on her way to the city. As time moved forward, we visited our neighbor and her husband on a number of occasions. Our visits were pleasant, and the conversations led to speaking about Christianity, our mission, and their own outreach to an orphaned boy, Kolya. They had taken him under their wing, inviting him to stay with them on the weekends for seven years. They took him to church with them on Sundays, teaching him the spiritual things that he never learned in the orphanage.

Alla’s husband, Volodya, taught Kolya many responsibilities and skills around the house. They worked together in the garden, a mainstay of life in Ukraine.

While living in the orphanage, Kolya took a liking to a certain girl. She was 14, he was 15, (not exactly a Sound of Music story). The girl became pregnant, and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Olga. Because the mother was still attending school at the orphanage, Olga was moved to a Baby House. She lived there until the mother graduated from the orphanage, four years later. The mother took Olga from the Baby House to where she was living. After a short time, the government became aware of her lifestyle of alcohol and boys in the house. Olga was taken from her mother again and placed in an orphanage. She lived in the orphanage for two years.

All of this was happening while Kolya was being shaped and molded into a good father by Alla and Volodya. He and Alla loved Kolya very much. They built his character, and encouraged him to take responsibility for the life that he helped bring into the world. They encouraged him to raise his daughter with a better life than he had lived at the orphanage.

Volodya traveled to Russia to visit with their children and grandchildren. While there, he died suddenly. Alla immediately organized her trip to Russia for her husband’s funeral.

She asked Kolya, a young man now, to care for her ninety-three year old bedridden aunt. Kolya cared for her before and after work. When Alla returned, she decided to sell her house, and take her aunt to live with her in Russia. She offered her house for Kolya to live in while it was on the market.

Alla asked Sveta and me to be a friend to Kolya and Olga. In a sense, the grandparent baton was passed on to us. We received it with pleasure.

This year, Kolya organized his parental documents and brought Olga to live with him. Last week, Sveta and I had a nice surprise. Kolya came to visit us with his daughter, Olga. We had a great time!

We are so happy that both Kolya and Olga have a new life together. This is a type of love that Sveta and I seldom see. We are so happy to be a part of their lives.

Sveta’s Journey

During the quarantine period, Mark and I did not visit our children in orphanages and did not meet with children who receive massage therapy through our mission. But the work continues and we keep in touch with our massage therapists by phone and see the results of their work in their progress reports. We hope to see our lovely little friends again soon!

A couple of weeks ago, our church organized a two day camp for children. This took place on a tiny plot of land not far from the river. Roma, his wife Anya, and their two little girls shared their yard for camp. (Roma, mostly by himself, totally rebuilt what was a little dacha house.) Roma and Anya, who directed the camp, serve children at our church with all their hearts! They have big dreams for the children.

 

It’s so great for kids to spend time together in the outdoors! There was just enough room for six tents. Our 5 year old grand- daughter slept in a tent. What an adventure it was for these city children to experience.

 

 

 

 

The first night the children set up their tents. Later, they had conversation about the two greatest Commandments with Mark and me. Together with the children we discussed these two Bible topics. It was interesting to hear the opinions of children, and their observations. They wrapped up the evening, watching a movie projected on a sheet, between two trees.

 

 

Saturday began, of course, with breakfast. To their surprise, the morning activity was to prepare lunch as a competition between two teams. It was a sight to see. After lunch, the children participated in other competitions and played games! The big event was swimming in the river! After supper Mark and I discussed with the children about building Biblical character in their lives. Finally, the children, exhausted after a long day, did their best to stay awake to watch a movie under the stars!

Cooking dinner was one of the competitions. It was very thrilling and exciting for the children to cook. And for us adults, it was interesting to watch how they did it. They cut carrots, peeled vegetables, marinate meat … When the jury was evaluating the tastiness of the dishes, the children stood and looked with tension at the expression on our faces. Which team’s food was cooked tastier?

This camp compensated for our failed meeting with the MUCH children. It was a pleasure for Mark and me to be a small part of the lives of these wonderful children!
Living my dream,

Green


Sveta
I think that you could drop a missionary anywhere in Ukraine and he or she would find children in need of love, direction, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are so many children, even within a one mile radius of where we live, we will never run short of the work that God sent us to do. Thank you for reading this newsletter, and thank you to sponsors, and those who pray for the children and Sveta and me.

Blue

 

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Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

June 2020

Hello family and friends,

June has zipped by so fast. It is amazing! Covid-19 is challenging Ukraine once again. We thank God that MUCH is not being challenged as much this month. All of our massage therapists who work during the summer months have full client schedules. Sveta and I are very happy to see how God continues to provide for the children.

Mark’s Moments

Sveta and I were married in 2012. By 2014, we realized that we needed to buy a place of our own. We looked at a number of properties with land that were above our price range, but far below the value and possibilities that we were looking for. A realtor friend of Sveta’s told us of a property that was still being built. When we looked at it, a vision of what we could do with it began to blossom. The house was small, but the back yard was plenty big. The outhouse and outbuilding provided more opportunities.

 

 

 

 

The inside of the house was not finished. We were thankful for that. It gave us freedom to create without undoing what was done. We made the most of the space we had. The first room inside the front door became a beautiful entry way. A wall now separates the entryway from the large bathroom with laundry. During the past six years, we have improved the house, step by step. This summer we are adding a second floor.

All of the funds for our purchase and building projects come from our personal savings. We are investing in the children of Ukraine not only for today, but for generations. We are setting an example. As we imagined the different possibilities, a greater vision developed. Sveta and I have seen many examples during our visits with Ukraine Challenge in northern Ukraine. Our current vision has begun to play out in this way.

The second floor will be used for visiting missionaries, small group seminars, and overnight guests. (Temporary roof) We will rebuild the outhouse, adding a shower and sauna. Aside from use during summer orchard and flower garden work, the outhouse and shower will be for the children’s camp programs. A number of years ago,

 

I was surprised to see a ceramic toilet made for the dacha outhouse. It will be nice for the children. The outhouse will be rebuilt with accessibility for children with disabilities. We are setting examples for future generations.

God has provided the property and the people, so we will connect the dots.

Sveta’s Journey

In Mykolaiv, MUCH has a wonderful massage therapist, Oksana. She helps many children from the age of two months to one year. On the recommendation of pediatricians, parents bring their babies to Oksana for massage treatment. It seems to be minor problems for babies, but without timely help they can lead to disability in the future. Therefore, it is very important to detect and remove the problem in time.

After a routine examination, two-month-old Yegor’s pediatrician discovered an umbilical hernia. This is when part of the intestine is pinched in the umbilical ring. When the correct passage of food and feces through the intestine is disturbed, it causes pain for the child, who in this case can be very restless. She recommended a course of massage therapy. Oksana gave the baby a course of massage, paying special attention to massage of the abdomen near the navel. This massage for the umbilical ring improves local blood supply and helps to tighten the umbilical ring. In two weeks the baby got stronger, began to hold his head well, and colic in his stomach decreased. His mother was satisfied with the results. On the recommendation of a doctor and our massage therapist, Yegor needs to undergo another course of ten-day massage therapy to consolidate the achieved result.

Four-month-old Alex’s pediatrician also recommended a course of massage. The child had hypertonicity of the upper extremities, stiffness in movements, and did not turn over from the back to the stomach. The diagnosis of torticollis was also established. Alex completed a 12-day course of massage. After the third massage treatment, the child began to roll over, the muscles returned to normal, and his sleep pattern improved. Alex’s mother was satisfied with the result.

 

 

For eight-month-old Nikita, it was his second course of massage therapy. At four months old, he had some lag in physical development. Nikita held his head poorly, did not hold toys in his hand, was inactive, and did not turn over from his back to his stomach. By the end of the first 10-day course of massage, the boy became more active, began to roll over and hold toys in his hand. But hypertonus of arm and leg muscles continued to be a problem. After the second course of massage therapy his mother and the doctor saw the changes and were satisfied with the result.

Four-month-old Daniel also had a small torticollis, holding his head poorly. After a 10-day course of massage, he began to hold his head in the correct position. Daniel’s parents were satisfied with the result of the massage treatment.

Living my dream,
Green
Sveta

The parents of these children and as many as thirty more each month are so pleased with the results of their children throughout the four cities and three villages in Ukraine. They all send great thanks to MUCH sponsors and those who pray for their children.

Sveta and I thank you who read our newsletters, hold us up in prayer support, and sponsor the great work that God has called us to do. It is such an honor to be a part of caring for special needs children here in Ukraine. We invite you to join us to help the children through prayer, financial gifts, or simply sharing our stories with others by word of mouth or forward this letter to your fiend.

Blue

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

May 2020

Hello family and friends,

Mark’s Moments

I believe that it was in 2007 that I was introduced to the Dobromel Orphanage for Children with Mental and Physical Disabilities. For three years, once a year, I would visit the orphanage with a pastor from Borislav. His daughter translated for us. He had a passion for children, but especially for these.

I was uncertain what my purpose was to be with these children. By 2009, I heard God directing me to begin massage therapy for the children at the Dobromel Orphanage. I met with the director in the fall and I explained the opportunity that we were providing in two other locations in Ukraine. I told him that he would need to find someone who was, or was interested in becoming a massage therapist. He agreed to the task.

 

My next journey to Dobromel was in fall of 2010. Before the meeting, I was introduced to Natalya M. who would be the massage therapist at the orphanage. Anatoly translated my conversation with the director as we discussed the exam table that would be used as a massage table. During the meeting, I explained what I expected the results of massage therapy would be, related to the results of our previous six years of massage therapy in Chornomorsk. I continued to explain that Natalya M. was invited to come to Chornomorsk to train with one of our massage therapists for a week. Finally, I promised to send Sveta, who was my fiance at the time, to the orphanage to give a twenty-day demonstration with the children. The goal was that the director and Natalya M. would see “some” results after the twenty days. They did!

Natalya M. had a degree in Sports Medicine which included some training in massage therapy. She was well qualified to do the work. But in her heart she questioned whether she would be happy working with these children, many who had difficult personalities. Within no time, she was seeing results with many of the children. The big story is how this opportunity changed her heart, her life. For the last eight years, Natalya has been creating new approaches to wholistic change, earned her Masters Degree in Speech Therapy, started a specialized approach to massage therapy for children with emotional disorders, and blossomed the personalities of the children.

She has written many thank you letters to MUCH over the years. This month, Natalya M. wrote Sveta and me a very warm thank you letter. We would like to share it with you.

“It’s just not enough to say thank you! By your actions: letters, phone calls and visits, you say that you are close, always close. It means so much to me to know that you are thinking of the children and me. And so it becomes pleasant and warm to know that the expression “Who needs other people’s children?” is not what you are about. Your hearts go out to all children in need.

Thanks to your help, a large number of children are able to fully walk the paths of their lives. For them, being healthy means being happy! This gift of massage therapy services is a great contribution. I see it in the eyes of our children shining with happiness!

Thank you for being able to share love with those who lack it on this
earth.

May the Lord give you peace, harmony and love.
Everything you do is an unforgettable gift to our children.
On behalf of the children and myself, I sincerely thank you
and our sponsors!

P.S. Children are waiting for your visit!”

Do you shop at Amazon on the internet? Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. Support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com This is a great way to support MUCH.

Sveta’s Journey

For the third year now, Misha and his family have been fighting for his health. While pregnant with Misha, his mother and father were in a car accident. This resulted in his premature birth.

In the doctors efforts to save his life, they gave Misha more oxygen than he needed, and this lead to the rupture of one of his lungs. Misha also had brain swelling.

During three years, Dr. Natalya and her team worked with Misha, use multiple therapies to bring life and new direction to his brain, anatomy and organs. Massage, medical exercises, speech therapy, special training are some of the therapies that help Misha achieve results in his physical and mental development.

In 2017, Misha received a 20-day course of therapies in October and December. He received nine courses of therapies in 2018. Last year, 2019, he received seven courses of therapies treatments.

He is able to support himself on hands and knees, and tries to sit with support! Misha stands in a veticalizer that supports him vertically. Misha can reach for toys and do other things while in the vertivalizer. His muscle tone has improved.

On Facebook, Misha’s mother always keeps friends in the know, so that they can enjoy the achievements of the parents and the child and those who help him.

Misha is a very cheerful and hardworking child. He is always wearing a smile. He tries his best to help the instructor work with him. His thirst for life and perseverance is already visible in the character of this little boy!

I think that Misha and his parents are a great example for others. They demonstrate how not to lose heart but to go forward with faith. Parents are very grateful to everyone who helps Misha!


Sponsors, thank you for bringing massage therapy and the complex of treatments into Misha’s life! Dr. Natalya brought her skills to MUCH in 2004. She has been developing her specialized team to work with children who have severe disabilities.

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

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Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

April 2020

Hello family and friends,

April was a full month for Sveta and me. Because of the school quarantine, the grandchildren came to visit more often. This is a delight, but wears us out. We had early warm weather; later, we had some evenings of frosty weather. One of the apricot tree had reached full bloom. We thought that it had lost all of its fruit potential for this year. To our surprise, we are seeing fruit develop.

Sveta’s mother has gone home to her heavenly Father. The last three years were difficult for her. A number of minor strokes, and the difficulty of her life in the village weighed heavily on her. Our pastor performed the funeral. In Ukrainian tradition, the funeral was open casket, set in the driveway of their home. Family and a few neighborhood friends attended.

Mark’s Moments

As of April 28, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 are 9,410 in Ukraine; 992 have recovered, and 239 have died. The current population of Ukraine is 43,733,762, a little more than one half of one percent of the total world population.

Ukraine remains under quarantine restrictions, but some businesses that do not provide essential products or services are beginning to open their doors. Sveta and I visited Epicenter the other day. It is similar to Home Depot or Lowes.

When we arrived, there was a line of about 100 people. We waited in line for about thirty minutes. As one shopper would come out, one in line would go in. Before entering the actual shopping area, each person’s forehead was scanned to check their temperature. When it was time for checkout, only the four self checkout registers were open. No cash was allowed, only debit or credit cards. Can you imagine, 20 years ago Ukraine didn’t have ATM machines.

Sponsors of MUCH, the children and massage therapists are very grateful for your continued financial support. As Sveta reported in her last update, not all of our programs are operating. Even so, 51 children received treatments in April. Sveta and I thank you so much for remembering our MUCH children and us!

Sveta’s Journey

Due to quarantine, April was a vacation time for some massage therapists but others continued to work.

Nadya, a new MUCH massage therapist began working with MUCH two months ago. Her first client was her six-year-old son, Anton. Last year, he was injured with a hip fracture on his left leg. Nadya was in the hospital with Anton for a long period of rehabilitation. Even after treatment, he was hobbling along, and it was noticeable. Thank God that his mother became a massage therapist! After two courses of twenty-day massage treatment, Anton’s hobble was almost invisible!

During the quarantine period, Natasha, our massage therapist in the Dobromel orphanage, continues to give massage therapy to the orphans. These have no family and are forced to stay in the orphanage. This month, she worked in the dormitory building, since the heating was turned off in the school and it was very cold in the massage room. Natasha wrote a detailed report about the children whom she was giving massage therapy. She was seeing great results!

Paul (right) has muscle hypertonicity and rounded shoulders, or kyphosis. Massage therapy helped relax all tense muscles. With the help of exercise with the chest expander, the muscles of the arms and shoulder girdle were trained. Natasha also uses game therapy and manual therapy. Light manual therapy helped to unlock the spine in certain locations, to return the mobility of the spine to a better physiological state. The boy became more obedient, fear disappeared, and the child’s self-esteem increased.

Anya, an insecure child, is very emotional and excited. Often she is withdrawn into herself, sometimes crying for no reason. The girl did not want to receive massage therapy. She screamed and did not want to make physical contact with others. But Natasha always has a way to the hearts of children. Step by step, Anya opened her soul to meet the love she felt from Natasha. Massage therapy affected the calming of her nervous system. Thanks to game therapy, not only physical development has improved, but also the development of mental processes. The game allowed not only to survive the situation at a symbolic level, but also to express her own emotions and feelings.

Seven-year-old Dasha often had bouts of aggression, she cried and screamed. This is probably the consequence of how she grew up in cruelty, screaming parents and bullying. Dasha began to walk very late, somewhere around four years old. The girl complained of discomfort in the back, and fatigue. She declined coordination of movements. Also, she had violation of posture, head tilted to one side, and asymmetric arrangement of clavicles. In addition, her chest had deformation and deviation of the spinous processes to one side.

After a course of massage treatment and special physical exercises, the child’s muscle corset strengthened, back mobility was restored, the asymmetry of the shoulder blades was corrected and the pectoral muscles strengthened. Dasha became calmer, more relaxed, self-confident, her psycho-emotional state improved.

Thank you dear family and friends! We know that you, too, are walking through difficult times during the pandemic, but you continue to share your heart with children who need help. God bless you!

Please take a minute to view their thank you video!

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

March 2020

Hello family and friends,

Our apricot trees are starting to blossom, but they hesitate, waiting for the final frost of the season.

Our church service was divided into home groups of ten people each. The busses are running less often, and limiting passengers to ten at a time. Few people are out and about. Sveta and I, our family and friend remain healthy. Life moves forward.

Mark’s Moments

Our Patricia Koehler Memorial Transportation Scholarship Program continues! In 2007, the program sponsored its first two students. Since that time, five students have graduated university through our program. Nastya, our most recent graduate, is a conductor of music. Her program required eight years of study. She married last summer! This year, MUCH sponsors three students from three villages.

Daniel, 19 years old, is in his fourth year of college, studying radio technology. He wants to expand his education. The field of anesthesiology has caught his interest. As he studies this medical application, he will also learn how to apply his college training, and advance his university training to repair anesthesiology machines. Daniel will continue his education with the help of MUCH for another four years.

Julia’s mother, Daniel, and Julia

Julia, also 19 years old, is in her second year of university. She is majoring in Economics. She is one of five children in her family. Two of her brothers are married. Julia’s parents and other siblings are living in Poland as missionaries. Her father started a church to minister to the Ukrainian labor force in one city in Poland. Julia’s mother, Svetlana, was in Chornomorsk the night that Sveta and I visited the students. She made a special effort to visit us to express how grateful she and her husband are. I met Svetlana, Valodya, and their young family in 2002. They have struggled financially all of their lives. They send MUCH sponsors a very BIG THANK YOU!

Anya is 17 years old. She is in her first year of university, studying computer technology. She rides three different busses, taking one and a half hours each way. Her goal is to be a computer programmer, and work from her home. Also, she wants to use her new knowledge to help her church with different projects. Her father is drawing his pension. He fought in the Afghanistan war. Her mother operates a personal greenhouse, but only receives a decent seasonal wage.

Sveta’s Journey


We think that you will like our 2 minute video that compliments these stories: Mentally Challenged Children Learn to read using the computer.
Julia is 13 years old. She has changed a lot over the past seven years since I first met her. This precious child arrived at the orphanage in Dobromel from a Baby House. She was diagnosed as “Mild mental retardation”. Her parents were deprived of parental rights. Julia often cried, was embarrassed by her peers, separated herself from the other children, and strove for loneliness.

For these seven years, Julia has repeatedly received massage therapy. She had flat feet and scoliosis. Our MUCH massage therapist, Natasha, achieved good physical and psychological results.

 

 

Four years ago, Julia began studying how to use a computer. This was not so easy for her and for other children with intellectual disabilities. These lessons are taught by our MUCH sponsored teacher, Luba, in the orphanage library.

Julia became sociable, looking for communication with adults and with children. In her efforts to study the computer she is very happy about the smallest results! Learning to use the keyboard helps Julia learn letters and build words and sentences. She is learning to read.

Luba works with students from the sixth to tenth grade inclusively. These children have emotional-volitional disorders and other difficult diagnoses. For girls and boys this is a favorite lesson. After all, the children not only learn, but also play on the computer. Luba uses special developmental game/programs that are “initial computer science for children.” Educational games inspire the children to learn.

Basically, all children are unable to focus on one topic for an extended period of time, so Luba motivates them to learn in various ways. At first they may play on tablets and computers, and then they have to do scholastic work on the computer or vice versa.

Mary is 13 years old. She is very emotional and impulsive. She has a mild intellectual disability. It’s hard for Mary to focus on a specific subject. Her attention is unstable and distracted. Because of her inconsistent and slow thinking, it is difficult for a her to remember the material that is taught. She gets tired quickly.

Thanks to the keyboard simulator, Mary studies the arrangement of letters on the keyboard. She is learning how to properly use and perform basic operations with the mouse. These lessons help Mary to focus and keep her attention on a given topic. Thinking through her actions, she is learning to make rough projections about her day.

Victor is 11 years old. His attention is unstable, his perception is slow, the child remembers the material after much repetition, he cannot draw conclusions on his own. But despite this, Victor knows all the letters, and reads the words. Victor cannot practically retell the contents of what he has read, but he answers the questions well. He is a very neat student. He creates clean calligraphic writing. In the classroom, Victor is calm and wants to seek new knowledge. He comes to computer class with joy and Luba is very pleased with him!

Luba hopes that the skills that children acquired in her lessons will be useful in their future lives.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Thank you for your interest in our newsletters, our children, and Sveta and me. May God keep you healthy and safe in this challenging time.

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

February 2020

Hello family and friends,

Good day to you this February afternoon. Sveta and I hope that you are having a great beginning to your year. Ukraine has had a mild winter so far. Today, high winds are uprooting trees in the city, tearing materials from flat rooftops, and tossing around anything that is not tied down.

Mark’s Moments

Back in November, Sveta and I visited an orphanage east of Mykolaiv. We didn’t know the director, but thought that it would be a good opportunity to introduce our massage therapy program to him. For seventeen years I have waited for God to introduce me to the people that He had prepared. This time I didn’t wait. That was my first mistake. When we met the director, we told him that we provided massage therapy for children with disabilities. That was my second mistake. He immediately informed me that there were no children with disabilities in his orphanage. He then made it clear that he had no more time to talk with us.

Two weeks ago, Sveta was invited to participate in a program called “Happy Family.” This seminar was created to prepare individuals to share about morality in the school system. The man leading the seminar was Paul. Sveta and I met him last year when he visited our church. He spoke about his program to help children in the orphanages find families. After the second session of the seminar, Paul invited Sveta and me to visit with him and his wife to chat about our mission.

This introduction was definitely orchestrated by God. The first time that we met, Paul was not ready to initiate massage therapy into his program. Now he was, and he had the facility to do it in. Paul and his wife Elena, have three children of their own and adopted five more. With big hearts for children, they set the example for their program.

Paul and Elena are very in tune with the emotional needs of their adopted children. We discussed our two programs, one in Dobromel, and the other in Marganets, where massage therapy was having great results dealing with emotional needs. Paul told us that they had access to four hundred children in their program that could benefit from massage therapy. I shared how our program works, with training and partial payment. He agreed with the program and said that he would begin searching for two young women who may be interested in becoming massage therapists.

It was a great meeting. When I wait for God’s introductions, thing move forward smoothly. Praise the Lord!

Sveta’s Journey

I am so glad that at the end of the “Happy Family” seminar, we will be able to conduct classes for high school, college, and university students. It is so wonderful to tell children about God’s principles of relationships before marriage. We want to improve and affirm family values before families begin. My heart burns to bring at least one child to an understanding of what God’s will is for the family. When children are becoming adults or parents, they can be happy in the most important place, in the family. This is where they will find understanding, love, support and unlock their potential. I look forward to this wonderful time!
How wonderful it is when children can learn before starting a new family! Perhaps we will never know about our influence on their lives, but I am deeply confident that we can influence children in a positive way. I remember when I was 16 years old I saw an elderly couple. They walked along the street holding hands. During the Soviet Union times this was so unusual. A dream arose in my heart to keep love in my family until my very old age. I wanted to walk hand in hand with my husband. But no one me taught how to raise my children with love and grow together. Only after many years of hardship in my first family, I found God’s love. When I met Mark, my dream came true! According to polls from high school students, they all dream of great pure love. But this love must be received from God and they must learn to grow in love. This is what we will teach.
A constant influx of children flow through the Transition Home in Marganets. Their parents do not know how to raise and love their children. Many have chosen to escape the family challenges in life through alcohol. Children come here with wounded hearts, embittered, unaccepted and misunderstood in the family. This child has been shuffled to the Transition Home and back to her alcoholic parents, for three years.
Of course, they find acceptance here, a partial healing of their soul. Our massage therapist, Albina, has a huge heart for these children. Through massage treatment, children find love, acceptance, and understanding. Some children have physical and medical problems such as scoliosis and bronchitis, but mostly these are children who need emotional and psychological recovery.
And this is where Albina helps them. These two sisters, whose mother cannot provide for her children, are forced to live in the Transition Home, as are many, many other children. In 2019, Albina treated 74 children. The flow of children through this facility is constant. Some come for the day, others live there for up to nine months. Seven of the children that Albina treated received two or three ten-day courses of massage therapy over the one year period.

Thank you very much, dear family and friends, for the financial and prayerful help. Without your support, it would be impossible to provide such great help for MUCH children.
Living my dream,
Sveta

God continues to improve the quality of life for His children. Be a part of it and be blessed! Thank you for your help!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

January 2020

Hello family and friends,

Sveta and I wish you a happy and holy new year. May 2020 give you direction, new adventures, compassion for others, and love that will lead your every step of each day.

We would like to begin the year with a story of hope. Jana, a mother of two boys with cerebral palsy, would not give up her search for treatment for her children. Here is her story.

Sveta’s Journey

Dan and Nik

The journey of six-year-old twins, Dan and Nik, has been a long one. Dan and Nik had a difficult birth. Both children were diagnosed with cerebral palsy of varying degrees.

For six years, Jana, the boys’ mother, has been taking her boys to every hospital, and medical and rehabilitation center that she could find. Throughout Ukraine, her experience was that each doctor and massage therapist treated her boys with the same systematic approach. They read the diagnosis, and prescribed the same treatment for the child without ever touching the child. Can you imagine the single mindedness of this post-soviet medical system?

Finally, after six years of searching for a better approach, Jana heard about “ФИЗРУК-Центр”, the facility in Chornomorsk, founded by MUCH’s Dr. Natalia. She called and set up an appointment for evaluation and treatment. Jana, Dan, and Nik, living three hundred and fifty miles east of Chornomorsk, set out on their adventure. After traveling in a couple of buses, the twelve hour over-night train, and more busses and a taxi, they arrived at “ФИЗРУК-Центр”! They were hopeful that they would find better answers here.

From the first visit with Dr. Natalia, Jana was impressed by the integrated and individual approach that the doctor had with each of her sons. The massage therapy that Dr. Natalia does is radically different from the massage therapy that Dan and Nik received in other institutions designed to treat children with cerebral palsy.

Dr. Natalia even takes into account subtleties such as: If she puts Dan on the massage table, his arms and legs will be involuntarily bent, his body muscles will be contracted and strained even more. In this position, doing massage therapy, stretching muscles or exercising joints will not have any effect. Dan is afraid of heights, even the height of the massage table. The child is fearful of many things. Fear increases the spasticity in his muscles even more. When he is on Natalia’s lap, he is calm, and she can work effectively with him. Therefore, after she found a position where Dan’s muscles were relaxed as much as possible, she proceeded with the massage therapy treatment. In this position, it is also easier to twist his spine side to side. Dan has a unique response to positioning. Dr. Natalia can cause a reaction by putting him in a certain position.
One specific therapy that Dr. Natalya is using is a preventative therapy for Dan’s feet. She is working on muscles of Dan’s feet and toes to avoid the development of high arched foot.

Nik, Dan’s brother, became friends with Natalia from the first day. After massage therapy and special exercises, he was busy collecting beans in a bowl. He also showed us how he can stand on his own. Nik was very happy to show us what he was capable of doing!

The boys’ mother shared with us her pain. She could not hold back her tears. For six years, she has been fighting for the future of her sons. We cannot fully understand her pain and the difficulties of her search for treatment for her sons. But we can support her, Dan, and Nik, with our prayers and finance.

Thank you for helping children such as Dan and Nik, and many others! See their two minute video here.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Mark’s Moments

Our Christmas fundraiser results were $1900. I had hoped for more, but maybe I didn’t explain our fundraiser very well. We anticipate our total monthly budget for 2020 to be $2,391.60 per month. My goal was to try to raise as much as possible for the massage therapy program. Beginning in March, we will have fourteen active massage therapists. The anticipated three more in a new location are not in the budget.

The MUCH goal for the massage therapy program may be different in the big picture than I have expressed in the past. I have stated previously that we want to provide examples for the people of Ukraine to reach out and care for their own people. My specific goals are playing out in the way. We provide funds to train massage therapists. Once trained, they practice their new skills with friends and family, building ability and confidence.

As they practice massage therapy, word of mouth advertisement begins, also sharing that they are interested in working with special needs children. MUCH helps with partial payment for four special needs children per month. In private practice, massage therapists can work out of their own homes, but for special needs children, home visits are preferred. Our massage therapists need more than what MUCH provides, so they charge the parents for the balance. The massage therapists working in the orphanages are limited to MUCH payment, but are encouraged to develop their own private practice.

Our goal of four children with special needs per month allows each massage therapist to build a clientele of four additional full paying clients. Depending on the energy level of the massage therapist, one could presumably treat sixteen clients in a month. If they receive a ten day massage treatment, eight clients for each ten day treatment, times two equals sixteen clients in twenty days.

What does this additional business have to do with MUCH? We are not only involved in bringing healthcare to children with special needs. We are inspiring entrepreneurism in heath-care service. MUCH is opening doors that are changing the face of Ukraine, one massage therapist at a time.

Most of the families that we help with our partial payments have big financial needs for their children’s medical treatment. Your contribution is a big help for the family. You are not solving their problem, but you are helping them on their way. “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat.” (Matthew 25:35)

Thank you so much for your contributions. If you don’t contribute, please consider what $22 a month will mean for a child with a disability in an orphanage. MUCH serves children with disabilities in three orphanages and a transition home: Dobromel, Veleeky Lubin, Stepovoya, and Marganets. Your $22 gift will provide a ten-day massage treatment for one child! Thank you! The children thank 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

December 2019

Hello family and friends,

Giving is the heart of the Christmas Season. It starts with God giving the greatest example by giving us His Son to come to earth, become human, and walk with us. Jesus gave us His life in many examples of giving.

Giving Tuesday has become an international call for giving. Mygivingstory calls people to share their stories of giving.

Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope is a big giving story. Everyone involved from Mark and Sveta, the massage therapists, and our managers, to you, our sponsors, praying groups, and readers of our letters, is giving something.

This Christmas Season MUCH is asking you to give just a bit more. Many children are in need. We work with 44 children each month.

Sponsor a child for massage therapy — $22 a month
OR
Sponsor a Massage therapist
helping four children a month — $88 a month
OR
Follow your Heart — $

Our Christmas Fundraiser for 2019 is to raise $18,000!

We Need Your Help!

Donate Here

OR

Make your checks to:
Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope (MUCH)
488 Hiatts Drive
Greensboro, NC 27455

When you shop Amazon for holiday gifts, use smile.amazon.com to set up Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope for your choice of a charity to generate donations with your Amazon purchases. This year Amazon has donated $841.27 to Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope because of your purchases. That has provided 20 days of massage therapy for 33 children. You can make a difference for the children of MUCH by shopping smile.amazon.com!

Where are we working in Ukraine?

Which Massage Therapists serve children in which cities or villages?

Dobromel 1 Natalya M
Veleekey Lubin 1 Igor
Ovidiopol +2 Alla and Nadya
Chornomorsk 3 Natalya B, Ira O, Tanya
Mykolaiv 3 +1 Anya, Tanya, Oksana V, Oksana K
Stepovoya 2 Ira and Natasha
Marganets 1 Albina

Donate

God continues to improve the quality of life for His children. Be a part of it and be blessed! Thank you for your help!

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

November 2019

Hello family and friends,

We wish everyone the happiest of holidays this
Thanksgiving and Christmas Season!

God continues to show us the great needs of
children with disabilities throughout Ukraine.

We will add 6 therapists to our team in 2020, totaling 17.

Our goal is to raise funding for the

17 therapists to work for 12 months!

Our Christmas Fundraiser for 2019 is to raise $18,000!

We Need Your Help!

Donate Here

OR

Make your checks to:
Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope (MUCH)
488 Hiatts Drive
Greensboro, NC 27455

 

We continue to expand our Massage Therapy Program. Our eleven therapists work in four cities and two villages. We introduced Oksana in the October Newsletter. She is training to work in our district of Mykolaiv.

 

 

Two more, Nadya and Alla, begin training in Odessa to work in a third village, Ovidiopol, west of Chornomorsk.

 

 

 

 

Where are we working in Ukraine?

 

 

 

 

 

Which Massage Therapists serve children in which cities or villages?

Dobromel 1 Natalya M
Veleeky Lubin 1 Igor
Ovidiopol +2 Alla and Nadya
Chornomorsk 3 Natalya B, Ira O, and Tanya
Mykolaiv 3 +1 Anya, Tanya, Oksana V, Oksana K
Stepovoya 2 Ira and Natasha
Marganets 1 Albina

Donate