Category Archives: Changing children’s lives

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!”

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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

Please Donate

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

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

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

October 2019

Hello family and friends,

When you shop for school needs or 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. 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!

Sveta and I have returned to Ukraine. It was a pleasure to meet with family, friends, and sponsors in North Carolina and Florida. We talked with many people, learning about their lives sharing about ours. We even had the opportunity to talk by phone with a mother in Mexico about her child.

Mark’s Moments

About ten years ago, a good friend gave me a book titled, “The Boy From Baby House 10”. While visiting Paul and Kay in America, we were discussing the topic of the Baby Houses in Ukraine. I brought up the title of John Lahutsky’s book, “The Boy From Baby House 10”. Alan Philps, a British newspaper correspondent in Moscow, co-authored this book about John, living in the Baby House (orphanage for birth to age 6) for eight years of his life. His story is one of abandonment to rescue, adoption, and success. If you want to read Alan and John’s book, follow one of the title links above. Also, John’s book is available at the Greensboro Public library, and probably other libraries, too!

After reading this book, Paul commented, “As an American, it is difficult for me to believe that such places could even exist, and that people could allow handicapped children to be placed in warehouses where they receive little or no stimulation or care.”

I have not visited a Baby House yet, but Sveta and I have it in our plans for November. Our goal is to bring massage therapy to the infants and young children. Their need for touch, hugs, and kind words are very basic needs. They are overlooked because child to care-taker ratio is poor. We have seen great changes take place in the orphanages. I think that the changes in the Baby Houses will be even better.

Massage Therapy Training

Our newest massage therapist in training, Oksana, is the mother of two girls. She works in a textile factory. Her husband is self employed as a remodeler.

Massage therapy is giving her new focus in her life, but more importantly, she can now touch lives. Her work will directly effect the children who receive massage therapy. Indirectly, she will change the lives of the child’s family, and local community. Through all of this, Oksana’s life will blossom into something new. And this will effect her family.

We met with her the other day and she is very excited about this opportunity!

Sveta’s Journey

In September, new children arrived at the Dobromel Orphanage. Our MUCH massage therapist, Natasha, was introduced to the children. As they talked, she evaluated them, beginning to understand their character. Using massage to relax body and soul, Natasha moves on, using exercise, games and the lighted sandbox table, to rebuild the child’s self image, and general psyche.

Natasha is developing her education beyond Sports Medicine. Her work with these children requires more understanding. She wears many hats interacting with the bodies and souls of these precious ones. She is a massage therapist. Other times she interacts as speech therapist, psychologist, exercise specialist, and even artist and friend. Natasha fills the children with love and other good things, helping them to blossom like a flower in the spring time.

Alex

Ten-year-old Alex struggled with fear and poor self image. So much has already shaped him before arriving at the orphanage; undoing the damage is not an issue. Our therapists must rebuild the child. After a month of therapy, Alex’s teachers spoke to Natasha with great joy. They shared about the changes they saw. Now their job is to nurture those changes, helping him establish a new character, a new inner being. The teachers requested that Natasha continue to work with Alex with the full complex of therapies.

Nick

Nick is in 1st grade. In September, he arrived at the Dobromel Orphanage/school with a diagnosis of mild mental retardation and poor posture. Nick is active. He likes to communicate. He is enthusiastic about physical exercises, especially with musical accompaniment. For a month, Natasha gave Nick a massage treatment to correct posture. Particular massage was used to correct pronunciation, since the boy does not speak very clearly. At the end of the massage course, Nick’s posture was corrected and his speech improved.

Anya

Anya is in 2nd grade. Her personality is very closed. The psychologist recommended that she receive massage treatment. Because Anya had attacks of aggression and uncontrollability, Natasha worked with Anya in a playful way. Thanks to Natasha and her massage treatment, the girl has changed. There is no more aggression and she found friends. Anya’s breathing returned to normal, her chest mobility improved, and stagnant lung phenomena and sputum production were eliminated.

Stas

Stas also began in September. His diagnosis was scoliotic posture and mild mental retardation. When Natasha took him to receive massage therapy, she saw a terrible picture. His back muscles were very weak. His chest was sunken. Natasha’s job was to interest the boy in attending massage sessions, as he was very shy and did not want to take off his clothes. She started with finger games. After which he agreed to massage and to perform physical exercises to strengthen muscles.

After a month-long course of massage therapy, Stas’s coordination of movements improved and a more precise walking gait and running form appeared. His endurance and strength of the muscles of the back has increased. He can now hold his spine in a more correct position. The problem with his chest still remains. Natasha continues her work with Stas!

“… serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

Living my dream,

Sveta
Thank you, readers and sponsors, for making these life-changing treatments possible. Without you, none of this would happen. God is working through your hearts and your wallets to improve the lives of more than 40 children every month. Thank you for answering His call!

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

September 2019

Hello family and friends,  

When you shop for school needs or holiday gifts, use smile.amazon.com to set up Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope for your choice of charity to generate donations with your Amazon purchases. You would be surprised how much your purchases help MUCH.

Our journey to America was, once again, a challenge. This time we flew out of Kiev. Our train from Mykolaiv to Kiev took twelve hours. Sveta learned that there was a bus from the train station direct to the airport. We arrived at our gate in plenty of time, only to realize that our plane was late getting to Kiev.
Upon arrival at the Frankfort, Germany airport, we processed through customs, and rushing to our gate, we found that the airplane door had been closed. Once more, Sveta and I were invited to sleep on the airport chairs.
Processing through customs in Newark, New Jersey was a test of our patience. We were one of more than five hundred people being processed, most requiring finger printing, and photographing for facial recognition. We arrived at our gate two minutes before the door was closed!
As I write, we are in Florida. Our original flight from Raleigh, NC was cancelled, so we were given a voucher for a hotel room. I make a point to remember, “It could always be worse.”

Mark’s Moments

Sveta and I have been talking about how we should expand our massage therapy program. From the beginning, God has put people in our path. I have no doubt that this will continue. Even so, we look at where the children that we serve have come from. Children from Baby Houses and villages far from city medical facilities (deep villages) were found in the orphanages that we helped.
We agree that we should find, and work with children as early in their lives as possible. Sveta and I will begin our search for Baby Houses and deep villages as 2019 wraps up. One of our goals for 2020 is to train and place massage therapists in the Baby Houses and deep villages.

Sveta’s Journey

Mark and I are so grateful to our nice family Bob and Jean, Tim and Sonya, Jay and Lacy, and to our dear friends Paul and Kay, and Dan and Norma for the precious time spent together, for housing and feeding us for one week each, for love! They shared with us their lives. I learned a lot from them. It was a wonderful experience!    Three weeks ago we had a meeting with Ken and Betty who were on the board of directors of MUCH during 15 years. They continue to support us financially and prayerfully. Thank you so much our dear friends! Also we met with our board of directors, discussing current and future plans. We visited four churches and were glad to see our brothers and sisters. We continue to have meetings with other wonderful friends and sponsors!

At this time we are here, in America, but the eleven massage therapists of MUCH continue to work with children in 4 cities and 2 villages.    Ten years ago, MUCH began helping the Marganets Transition Home with the purchase of underpants, socks and slippers. All of the children who come here have dirty clothes, or are missing parts of the essential basic clothing needs. This is a great help to provide children with the necessary clothes.

Four years ago, MUCH brought the massage therapy program to the Transition Home.

Mike
 Albina, a MUCH sponsored massage therapist, provides massage therapy for Mike. He re-enters the Transition Home in Marganets. Every year Mike has spent several months here. When his mother needs to drink alcohol to excess, she brings him to the Transition Home and leaves him for a few months. This year he went to the 1st grade. The problem is his club foot is swelling. It’s hard to run fully; Mike suffers from a lack of physical activity. Massage therapy during 10 days helped to restore blood circulation and relieve swelling. The pressure decreased slightly on affected ankle.

Andrew and Alex
Brothers Andrew and Alex were left alone in their house. Their mother died. Their father’s  presence is unknown. The government service took the children to the hospital, and then to the Transition Home. Andrew complained of pain in his hand. He suffered a fracture of the forearm. Aching pain and poor mobility of the joint bothered him. After ten days of massage therapy, his   left forearm and palm were restored. The pain went away. Alex has scoliosis. After massage therapy, the spinal curve of scoliosis disappeared.

Providing massage therapy is a big help for these children. It is so important because it is not only the massage treatment but is also the relationship with the massage therapist. They love the children with personal touch and hugs.  Many children have never received hugs from their parents. They have never experienced the touch of love.
My friend told me a story about a 35 years old woman. When my friend hugged this mother of five children it brought tears to her eyes. It was first time she had received a hug in her life. Can you imagine how important it is for children to see and experience the example love and how it will affect their future lives!

“…serve one another in love.” – Galatians 5:13

Living my dream,

Sveta

For  the past ten years, MUCH massage therapists have been reaching out to young families who need hope for their children, hope that God provides so freely. The love that our therapists have for the babies is such a delight to experience. As for the therapists, what a joy it must be to have God working through them.
I know this because I have experienced the same when God works through me, beyond my ability. We thank you readers, praying hearts, sponsors, and friends.

Donate Here
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

July 2019

Hello family and friends,

Summer is racing by. We have enjoyed friends from Singapore and family for shish-kabob get-togethers in our yard. It is so nice to enjoy time with friends outside. I built the benches two years ago. The little picnic table was finished in time for our friends from Singapore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our trip to America is closing in on us quickly. We have our flight tickets. Six families have graciously opened their homes to us for our fundraising time. Thank you everyone.

Mark’s Moments

It never ceases to surprise me how God is moving everything forward in His perfect time. We meet people that God has already been preparing to interact with us. This has been my experience from the beginning of my journey. God called me to Ukraine through introduction to one person. Step by step, year by year, God introduced me to another person or two. The mission grew steadily, as I met new people with compassionate hearts for our children that God had prepared. You may ask why I say that God had prepared them. It is a good question. Each one has a unique story.

Anatoly was retired with little future purpose in his life. With plenty of energy at age 64, Anatoly was filled by God with a heart to serve the children in greatest need in his community. He managed the Marganets programs for 12 years. As he lay on his bed, immobilized by cancer, he said, “Mark, don’t take my work from me.” I saw his reason for living was his service to the children. He managed the programs in Marganets until his dying day.

When I asked Dr. Natalya if she wanted to work with children who had disabilities, she looked at me with compassionate eyes and said, “I have been praying for three years for the opportunity.” She started the MUCH clinic in 2004 and now has her own clinic, serving the most severe children in need.

Tanya in Chornomorsk, was already retired from twenty years of massage therapy for adults in a hospital setting. God filled her heart with desire to help children and bring healing to their family. She has been touching the lives of children through MUCH for twelve years. She is totally committed to her patients with great love and compassion.

His provision continued in His perfect timing. You can read about each of our Ukrainian team on the pull down menu on our MUCH page Who We Are.

From Froonza, Crimea, southeast, to Dobromel, Ukraine, northwest, God prepared people ahead of time for the work of MUCH. Our team on the other side of the Atlantic is you. The wonderful sponsors whom God also prepared to make all that MUCH does possible through finance and prayer. Thank you for your many years of commitment to MUCH.

Sveta’s Journey

Some achievements of our little friends!

In the city of Chornomorsk, we have a great success story! Eight-year-old Ilya is walking along the streets with the support of the stroller that his mother used to push him in. Seven years ago, he could do nothing that a normal one-year-old could do. For seven years, Dr. Natalya worked with Ilya teaching him to grow through the developmental stages. Now he is walking, something the other doctors thought would never happen.

In the same clinic, two-year-old Andre is already on all fours, trying to sit with support. He stands in a verticalizer and reaches for toys. The verticalizer is a chair that allows the patient’s body to be moved to an upright position. The main task of this product is to prevent bed sores from sitting or lying in one position too long. Also, it provides psychological motivation for the person to be mobile and active.

The heartbreaking story of Anna

Anna is a seventeen-year-old girl with a childhood disability that left her with a one-year-old child’s mental development. How did it happen? During childbirth, the doctors were celebrating some event and did not focus on the process of childbirth. As a result, the newborn baby fell on the floor, and the mother died during childbirth. This is how the life of this girl began. Her father took care of Anna by himself. Over time, he was unable to cope with her limitations and began to drink alcohol. The cash allowance for his disabled child that he received for her care was spent on alcohol. He fed his daughter a diet of Ramen noodles. He did not take her outside, the child was in terrible conditions. Two months ago, he died and Anna was admitted into the Transition Home. Anna was very thin, dirty, and had lichen planus. She had a terrible chronic cough with bouts of suffocation. During a coughing attack, her sunken cheeks sank even more and her nose was sharpened. It seemed that she would die.

Albina, the MUCH massage therapist did a ten-day massage course for this girl. The result was that Anna began to smile. She loves to hug people and enjoys the kindness she did not see from her father. Coughing has become less common. As soon as Anna sees Albina, she says, ”Mom.” It is the only word that the girl can pronounce. She takes Albina’s face in her hands and strokes her face. The time she spent in the Transition Home gave her the love and care that she had not seen for seventeen years. The children learned to accept and love her. The teachers encouraged the children to help Anna. Now they lead her by the hand because Anna walks very badly, with a wobbly gait.

Since Anna is already seventeen-years-old, documents are being prepared to transfer her to a Home for the Disabled. We believe that there will also be good people who will give love for Anna.

Living my dream,

Sveta

We serve many children who are unloved and forgotten by most of Ukraine. All but three of our eleven therapists have never worked with children such as ours. God touched their hearts, connected them with Sveta and me, and began to pour his love through them into the children. Thank you for helping complete these miracles with your funding and prayer.

You can Donate here

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

 

May 2019

Hello family and friends,

We had very nice weather in May, from the mid 70s to the lower 80s. A few big storms blew through to water our fruit trees. Our apricots, apples, peach and quince trees are all producing this year. The cherries are on our table every day or so. I am learning a farmers patience as I wait for big harvests from each of our trees. We need to study more, particularly about spaying. Write to us if you have tips that help keep ants and insects off fruit trees!

Mark’s Moments

School is out, but for two weeks the schools of Ukraine puts on a “camp” program. This year will be the third year for our church to run a Christian Camp at schools during their second week.

I was invited to speak in the first week with the fifth, sixth, and seventh grade English pupils at the school beside our church. Pictured here are the fifth grade children. I enjoyed talking with children and teens about the English language and all questions about life that they have. It is a great opportunity to connect with children of all ages.

They were shy at first, but they warmed up to me as my funny side appeared. They had many questions, but some had to be coaxed out of their secret comfort zone.

From the previous camps, it was learned that some of the children have hidden traumatic experiences. Our church continues to receive permission to do Christian camps, ministering to the children’s deepest needs that the schools cannot address successfully.

Sveta’s Journey

Many children who receive massage treatments have very difficult diagnoses and may never be healthy. But thanks to massage treatments, the pain and discomfort of these children is reduced. Parents also see love and support through our massage therapists. They see that they are not alone in their life challenges. When Mark and I visit such families, the parents always express great gratitude for the fact that you, as sponsors, and we, as missionaries, participate in the lives of their children. They see God’s love through you. We always emphasize that God loves them and their children so much. Some of the parents make a connection with Mark and me. They gladly share with us the lives of their children.

Fourteen-year-old Kate has a thyroid problem, poor weight gain, scoliosis, and osteoporosis. Since last year, she is receiving regular massage therapy every month for 10 days. Originally, when they took a break from massage treatments for three months, Katya’s spasticity of the arm muscles increased.

After a course of massage therapy, she began to sleep more calmly, her fingers began to open and close better. Kate is very receptive to massage to the calming affects of massage.

Our massage therapist, Anya, shares the good results that she is having. Kate’s knee joints are much more relaxed without much effort. Her back muscles have become more balanced especially in the upper region. The lower back muscles are still in hypertonia, especially on the left side.

Katya is being cared for by her grandmother. We talked with her for a long time. She told the story of her hard life and about her granddaughter. It is not easy for her to take care of Kate, but her love for her granddaughter gives her strength and thirst for life. Grandma Katie strongly believes that God will restore and heal her granddaughter.

Fifteen-year-old Maria started receiving massage treatment in December 2018. Here are some of her many diagnoses: congenital malformation of the brain, microcephaly, convulsive syndrome. The calf muscles were completely atrophied, the ankles did not unbend. The girl moves around the apartment in a seated position supporting herself with her arms.

The first massages were very painful for the girl. But after a twenty-day course of massage treatment, Maria reduced the number of convulsions she was having, and her knees became easier to straighten. The calf muscles have strengthened and now the girl can stand on her feet with the help of her mother. Her sleep patterns are much better. When she receives massage, she no longer is crying. The use of anticonvulsant and analgesic drugs has decreased. Maria has become much calmer. Mom asks to continue physical therapy and massage. Our massage therapist, Tanya, also gives massage treatments for Maria every ten or sometimes twenty days a month.

Our massage therapists, Anya and Tanya, have a great love for these children and have become part of their lives. They pray for them, support their grandmother and mother through ongoing communication, hanging out and even make plans for the future for these girls. Maria’s mother is very interested in motivating the local government to provide a neighborhood facility and program for special needs children.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Your contributions are changing individual lives. Grandmothers, mothers, and children are being transformed into hopeful and happy members of society. You are changing Ukraine, causing a ripple effect from the unseen to the epicenter of society. All of Ukraine thanks you for your part, initiating the ripple!

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

February 2018

Hello family and friends,

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

 

Mark’s Moments

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

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

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

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

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

Donate Now!

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

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

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta