Category Archives: Changing children’s lives

October 2020

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

Mark’s Moments

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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



Living my dream,

Sveta

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


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

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

September 2020

Hello family and friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark’s Moments

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

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

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

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

Green

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sveta

Green


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

 Please Donate   

Blessings of love and healing,
 Mark and Sveta

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.

Please Donate

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

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