A good friend of ours, Roman, worked for two years on replacing a small dacha house with a total rebuild for a main residence for his family. He continued to expand his new home. The war came to Ukraine, and then to Mykolaiv. With no options, he sent his family to another country. While remaining in Mykolaiv, he had the opportunity to lead a church camp for a group of children in the village of Shostokova, about and hour drive from his home.
MUCH previously helped the children in the Shostokova school, updating education equipment. We were pleased to sponsor the camp event for the children this summer.
Roman and his team brought a great camp program to the children. Lots of fun and games for the children. While the war raged on, the children had moments of patriotism. They were reminded of their part in keeping thoughts strong and positive about the Ukrainian soldiers and their love for their country.
A few months ago, the son of my friend Vika was wounded in the war. After treatment in the hospital, he was at home for some time. When she baked pies for him, he said that the guys from his team were so lacking in homemade pies. This is how the idea of baking pies for soldiers was born. Vika bought everything she needed to implement this idea with her small pension. Now, for the second month, MUCH is financially helping this woman to buy the necessary ingredients for pies for the soldiers.
Those who help others in various ways understand how wonderful it is to feel useful and be involved in the lives of others! This is the life of giving! Vika helps Ukrainian soldiers in the difficult conditions of the war to remember the aroma of home, the aroma of family when their mothers or wives were baking pies. Vika bakes pies with fruit and other fillings! The guys come and take away this delicious work of Vika’s hands. They are very grateful to her for such unusual delicious support! And we are grateful to you dear friends!
There is a small town seven kilometers from the border with Russia. Sasha and his friends came to tell people about the love of Jesus and give them food help.
In this house there are three apartments where people live. Sasha and his team sang songs about the grace of God to these people and also gave them food.
Thank you very much for financially and prayerfully supporting us and those who work and serve for the Ukrainian people and children! Thanks to you, we are able to send money to these workers!
Covid-19 has returned to our fair city. There are 348 new cases as of October 3. Some of the schools have closed their doors and have returned to online education until all of the teachers have received their Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. With a seven-day average of 237 new cases, I am pleased to see that our city is taking action. The bus systems are not demanding that people wear masks, but that regulation may come back, too.
Summertime showed very low statistics about the virus. Now that so many people are spending more time inside, and in large groups the statistics have risen from 3 new cases in a day to 237 new cases. The good news is that Sveta and I received our Pfizer shots. While standing in line, we heard many stories and comments, pro and con, about people still not wanting the shots, or are sitting on the fence about the safety issues.
While I was working in our workshop one day, I noticed that the concrete floor by the wall was cracking. Upon closer inspection, I found that the floor was breaking up by each wall. I took a small sledge hammer and broke up a piece of the floor. To my surprise, the concrete floor was only one inch thick.
Deciding to remove the whole floor, section by section, I became educated about pouring a concrete workshop floor. The broken concrete was a great substitute for gravel, and it was free! Digging down eight inches, I leveled out four inches of broken concrete and gravel, then Sveta and I mixed and poured concrete four inches thick. We have one section to complete. You can see the tools we use. Pouring a concrete floor in sections is time consuming. Step by step, we will find the end of this project. It may not be beautiful now, but it will be fully functional.
A number of years ago while visiting the children at the Dobromel Orphanage, Luba, the librarian, approached Mark and introduced herself. She told Mark that there were a number of computers in the library that were not being used. Most of the children and a number of the teachers did not know how to work with computers. Luba asked if MUCH would sponsor her to teach a computer class in the library. Mark was impressed with Luba’s initiative! In one of their conversations, they discussed expectation. What progress did MUCH sponsors need to see to value and finance the program? Mark explained that any progress would be enough to understand change in the quality of life of a child. It continues to be a long road, but Luba has used the computers to brighten the lives of the children.
Using computers to alter the education experience of children with mental disabilities opens their visual, audio, speech, and tactile communication of their minds. This is nothing new in todays fast paced world of technology. The reality in Ukraine is that computer programmers are popping up everywhere. Programs for the disabled are made available on the internet market. The problem is that the government apparently does not value the potential of children with disabilities enough to provide a computer teacher in the budget of the education system in orphanages for children with disabilities. Our goal is find some skill that the child, may be able to use in a job situation. Higher skilled children may develop basic office skills. Lower capability children may develop hand eye coordination using the keyboard. Each child is raising his/her quality of life when they learn through the computer.
Vanya, 12 years old, comes from a large family. Of his five brothers and sisters, two who are younger also live in the Dobromel Orphanage. While his family lived in Kiev he attended a regular high school. Even though Vanya was evaluated and determined to need special education at an early age, he was not place in a special school until just recently. His education was limited. He never learned to read, or even understand the alphabet. Vanya was enrolled in the ninth grade, because of age rather than ability.
Vanya is easily distracted, and his memory is very weak. He has a restless character, but is not aggressive. He enjoys interacting with his classmates, listening to their conversations and opinions. Vanya wants to imitate them, but is unable to do so. The computer class is a positive experience for Vanya. He requires repetition upon repetition to lock in a new concept. Luba uses the keyboard to connect the alphabet with the computer. Using many visual attributes of the computer, Luba has begun the long journey of teaching Vanya to read.
Luba shares her loving patience with children in two class periods of seven students per class. They are all challenged in different ways, requiring individual programs. It is a lot of work for Luba . Helping people find their passion is so exciting!
Living my dream, Sveta
Thanks to each of you who read our stories, and share them in your conversations. Thank you sponsors and prayer warriors for making our journey possible!
August 24 is Independence Day in Ukraine. This year we celebrated our thirtieth year of independence from the Soviet Union and Russia. There were big parades in many of the larger cities. We are grateful to the people of all of the countries who helped the people of Ukraine move through these years of challenges to become the country that we are now. Sveta’s niece brought her two girls with her from Kiev area to share the holiday. It was so nice to have all of the cousins together for lunch and some play time. Their favorite game was “taxi driver” with the wheel barrow.
September 1 has come and gone. The children in Ukraine have returned to school. This is the first year in many years of my life in Ukraine that the weather has cooled considerably in early September. It reminds me of September 2003 living in Chornomorsk. It was as if someone had turn on a season switch for fall weather.
Every Sunday, Sveta and I visit Maria and her grandmother after church. When the weather is good, we all sit outside in the “driveway.” Sveta and Vera talked about many things, like finding a much needed wheelchair for Maria. They scoured the internet and found an organization that would provide one for free. During last eleven years, Vera had limited interact with people. Over the four months that we have been visiting Maria and Vera, we were not exactly aware of all that was happening in their lives. As Vera shared her day to day struggles, we listened, and listened. What could we do? We brought some food each week, maybe enough for a meal or two. We prayed for each of them every time that we visited.
Then something changed! Vera began to realize God’s love through our visits. Step by step, God was working on her spirit and soul. Step by step, He was healing her broken heart. Her relationship with God was returning to what it had been eleven years ago. Vera told Sveta that in the beginning of our visits she did not want to see people in her house. Vera’s soul was broken, but now she was like a flower beginning to blossom. Now, her relationship with God will grow forward! Vera, Maria, Sveta and I miss one another during the week and are eager to see one another.
In the fall of 2000, I asked Dennis Lennon a question about missions. “What preparation do I need to become a missionary?” He answered, “If you make yourself available, God will use you!” That may sound pretty simple, but I have stood on that phrase like standing on a Rock, for eighteen-and-a-half years. I have shared this phrase in my past newsletter. As Sveta and I walked home after our visit, we spoke about this phrase with joy in our hearts.
Most of the world has been affected by COVID-19 for the past year and a half. For many people, their lives have been altered drastically. Great thanks to God, this has not been the case for the children of MUCH. I would like to share a story of one of these children. Anna is eight months old. She and her family live in the village of Ovidiopol. Anna’s mother noticed that her child was not developing the motor skills that she should be.
The neuropathologist has diagnosed Anna with liquorodynamic syndrome. The most simple explanation is that the motor, or movement, activities of the muscular system are being delayed in the development of the child. The can lead to cerebral palsy. After making his diagnosis, the doctor recommended that Anna undergo a fifteen-day course of therapeutic massage treatment. Nadia, our massage therapist in Ovidiopol, was chosen to treat Anna.
Nadia worked with Anna for fifteen days, paralleling massage therapy with exercise. Using a plastic fit-ball, about two feet in diameter, (see the picture), Nadia rested the child on the ball, rolling it back and forth, and side to side. The goal is to stimulate the motor activity in the brain having to do with balance and other movement related activities. Anna enjoys the fit-ball very much.
At the end of the procedures, the parents and the doctor noticed that the symptoms were much less obvious. The muscle tension had significantly decreased and Anna began to make sounds more often, learning to talk! The doctor recommended in three months to undergo another massage course to consolidate the result. This early intervention treatment is key to reprograming the infants while they are developing. Anna’s parents are so grateful to MUCH for the results that they are seeing in their Anna.
We have been seeing good results in many children through the years. Other parents, whose children receive help through massage treatment, also thank everyone who takes part in this matter. Thank you dear sponsors and massage therapists!
Living my dream, Sveta
Thank to everyone who reads our stories and shares them with your friends. Sponsors and prayer warriors, thank you for your part in making it possible to do what God has called us to do!
June brought a lot of rain, but that didn’t stop us from having fun! The grandchildren visited, playing outside in their make believe world. Sveta planted the Willow tree a few years ago wiith a vision of a shady place for the children. Her vision grew, right along with the tree.
Every sunny day! is an opportunity for barbecued chicken, beef, or pork (shashleek). Our fireman and two cooks did a superb job. It is a joy to see three generations working together for a common goal!
When some parents have a big family and do not take care of their children, sometimes older children take responsibility for the care of their younger brothers and sisters. This happened to twelve-year-old Ira. But she could not bear such a great burden of responsibility. She ran away from home. Her parents did not even contact the police about their daughter’s disappearance. She lived on the street and did not go to school. To earn money for food, Ira went to the forest to pick flowers and break off branches from coniferous trees to sell in the “flea market”.
(These photos show Ira in her first days at the Transition Home and the second photo was taken two months later.)
At the “flea market” the policeman’s attention was drawn to Ira. She was selling flowers, her clothes were dirty, and Ira looked very untidy. So Ira ended up in the Transition Home. The girl was washed, lice was removed from her hair, and her outer appearance was transformed. Her inner being was in need of very much attention and love. Because she was coughing heavily, she was prescribed treatment and massage therapy. So Albina, our massage therapist, had the opportunity to touch the life of this girl. Ira embraced the love and care of the people around her. Here at the Transition Home, she receives even more love and care than she was able to give to her siblings at home.
Olya was brought to the Transition Home from another city. The government took her away from her parents because they abuse alcohol and of course do not take care of their daughter. Olya thinks that she is in a general health sanatorium. The environment, sleeping facility, and receiving massage therapy may have given her this idea. It is possible that she does not understand that she was taken from her parents. She really enjoys massage especially hand and palm massage.
Katya has problems with the muscles of her legs and the doctor prescribed massage therapy for her. After a ten-day course of massage, the calf and ankle muscles relaxed and the pain went away.Olya and Katya became friends here at the Transition Home. They also found a friend in the person of Albina, the massage therapist. She has great love for each child and a personal path to everyone’s heart. All children who receive massage therapy become Albina’s friend. Because to this friendship, their characters, outlook on life, and behavior change in positive and wonderful ways.
Living my dream,
Sveta and I thank God for Albina. She is a person who positively influences children. Thank you so much dear family and friends for your prayers and financial help. Without you, these children would not be able to receive the loving and caring massage therapy treatment that they so desperately need.
Thank you for following our stories of what God is doing through MUCH in Ukraine. Please continue to pray, share our stories with your friends, and contribute when you can.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta
You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:
Massage therapy provides many results. Here are 25 reasons that may give you a better understanding of massage therapy. Over the past sixteen years, MUCH massage therapists who are all Ukrainian citizens, have been treating a variety of needs for children with different types of disabilities. In our early intervention treatments, they are correcting physical and non-symmetrical problems that will lead to disability.
At the Stepovoya Orphanage for Boys, about twenty-five of the fifty boys are unable to walk. Spasticity is one problem that massage therapy addresses. Relaxing the muscles helps the child to be calm and experience a better quality of life. The best result for these boys has been an increase in the quality of their immune system. Many of the boys would spend time in the hospital over the winter months. During the winter of the first year of massage therapy treatment, most of the boys who commonly would need hospitalization, did not. Their immune systems were greatly improved.
Downs Syndrome can be treated with massage therapy, creating improved muscle tone and motor function. The younger they receive treatment, the better the results can be.
The boys who are mobile and have the mental capacity to learn, are developing life skills at the orphanage. Whether in the military or in the orphanage, one of the first things that you will learn to do is to make your bed. For the boys, it is a big task, a mental process that require many steps.
A higher life skill that some of the children are learning is cooking. Handling a knife to cut up vegetables for a salad may be simple for you, but for these boys, many basic skills and processes that we take for granted are new and sometimes difficult tasks for them to learn.
Every child is a precious gift of God. Look into their faces and see them as a gift to experience.
Ira and Natasha have been a part these boy’s lives for some time. Two years ago, they became massage therapists and entered a new relationship with the boys. Now their love blossoms into a deeper experience of healthcare. The degree of healing that takes place through massage therapy brings a better quality of life to each child in a very individual way.
I was so pleased to see the boys experience planting trees. Working with living trees that bring life, beauty, food, and even the air that we breath. It has been my personal experience planting and being a caretaker of trees in our yard that makes this picture so meaningful to me.
The Stepovoya team makes every opportunity for the boys to experience nature and planting life. Bright colors, fresh air, and the open spaces excite and motivate the boys to participate with enthusiasm.
Massage therapy helps the boys become calm, happy, and to participate at their best in every activity!
Thank you for following our stories of what God is doing through MUCH in Ukraine. Please continue to pray, share our stories with your friends, and contribute when you can.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta
You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:
You can help in providing life-changing help for children with special needs in a big way and it will cost you very little. Imagine being able to help many children who have no hope but you. MUCH is in great need of financial support. Due to COVID-19, our donations have declined. To keep our current programs running, we need to raise $7,500. As you know, MUCH is a Christian based mission that serves young children with physical and mental disabilities. Massage therapy helps these children attain marked improvement. It offers them hope and gives them opportunities to lead a better life. Sveta and I greatly appreciate your continued support to help disadvantaged children in Ukraine. Thank you for your help!
A MUCH Success Story Valya is nine-years-old. Her parents were deprived of their parental rights because of their immoralities, so Valya was sent to a Baby House. The care at Baby Houses is minimal and lacks maternal affection and parental attention and care. The developmental stages of growth are stifled. After spending three years in the Baby House, Valya was sent to the orphanage in Dobromel, Ukraine. She has speech problems and problems walking. After three years of full-body massages and speech therapy face massage, Natasha, the massage therapist of Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope, noticed that Valya was better at pronouncing certain words. She began to express herself. Before the therapy, one of her legs seemed shorter, making it was difficult for Valya to walk. After therapy, her hips became level and she walked with greater ease. This is just one example of how MUCH helps children with disadvantages improve their physical and mental well-being.
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.
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.
The Transition Home in Marganets has no days off or vacations. Children are moved here all year round. New ones come, some are assigned to families. Some children are returned to their old families, other children are returned from their new families. All of the children dream of becoming a part of a family that will accept and love them.
Here is Maria’s story. Her mother led an immoral lifestyle. She often forgot to pick up her daughter from school and teachers could not find her mother for weeks, so Maria was brought to the Transition Home many times. Maria’s mother was given several opportunities to fix her life, but everything remains the same. As a result, she was deprived of her parental rights and the Transition Home director began to prepare a new family for Maria. This summer, one family took Maria into their lives, but for some reason, two weeks later, they returned Maria to the Transition Home.
Maria continues to dream of living in a family where she is needed. Albina, the massage therapist, encourages her and helps her to believe that one day she will be in a family. The girl has scoliosis. After the second ten-day course of massage therapy her posture has become much straighter.
Many children pass through the hands and heart of Albina. Since the beginning of this year, 44 children have received massage therapy by Albina, some of them for 2 or 3 courses of ten-day massage. Most of the children who enter the Transition Home do not have physical disabilities. Their pain is in their hearts, wounded souls, with many feeling useless and lonely. Albina brings portions of healing and hope through her interaction with them. We see an amazing value in the outcome from massage therapy for these children! We are constantly seeing very positive results.
Six-year-old Dima was also taken away from his mother, who leads an immoral lifestyle. He lived in the village. His mental development corresponds to the age of a two-year-old child. He does not understand what adults say to him. Dima is hyperactive, and his reaction to massage movements was very violent. It was not easy for Albina to work with this boy. But the results were noticeable. After a ten-day course of massage, Dima began to pronounce some words, and he became somewhat more calm.
How necessary love is for children to correctly develop in all areas of their lives, and then give love to others from themselves! Living my dream,
Please consider donating to MUCH to help children with emotional problems and those with disabilities improve their quality of life.
Sveta and I hope that this letter finds you happy, healthy, and looking forward to a great August, and a new school year for the children. COVID-19 has challenged the world for more than seven months. Let’s work together to overcome all of the problems in the economy and society that have developed during the pandemic.
In this newsletter, Sveta and I will share two stories about children who are not in the MUCH program. Ukraine, with the lowest GDP per capita in Europe, struggles to provide a bright future for its children. Here are two stories that demonstrate the longing of children to have a better life. They show through the hope in their eyes their desire to grow both in learning and in Spirit.
Three years ago, Sveta met one of our neighbors, Alla, from the next street over, on her way to the city. As time moved forward, we visited our neighbor and her husband on a number of occasions. Our visits were pleasant, and the conversations led to speaking about Christianity, our mission, and their own outreach to an orphaned boy, Kolya. They had taken him under their wing, inviting him to stay with them on the weekends for seven years. They took him to church with them on Sundays, teaching him the spiritual things that he never learned in the orphanage.
Alla’s husband, Volodya, taught Kolya many responsibilities and skills around the house. They worked together in the garden, a mainstay of life in Ukraine.
While living in the orphanage, Kolya took a liking to a certain girl. She was 14, he was 15, (not exactly a Sound of Music story). The girl became pregnant, and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Olga. Because the mother was still attending school at the orphanage, Olga was moved to a Baby House. She lived there until the mother graduated from the orphanage, four years later. The mother took Olga from the Baby House to where she was living. After a short time, the government became aware of her lifestyle of alcohol and boys in the house. Olga was taken from her mother again and placed in an orphanage. She lived in the orphanage for two years.
All of this was happening while Kolya was being shaped and molded into a good father by Alla and Volodya. He and Alla loved Kolya very much. They built his character, and encouraged him to take responsibility for the life that he helped bring into the world. They encouraged him to raise his daughter with a better life than he had lived at the orphanage.
Volodya traveled to Russia to visit with their children and grandchildren. While there, he died suddenly. Alla immediately organized her trip to Russia for her husband’s funeral.
She asked Kolya, a young man now, to care for her ninety-three year old bedridden aunt. Kolya cared for her before and after work. When Alla returned, she decided to sell her house, and take her aunt to live with her in Russia. She offered her house for Kolya to live in while it was on the market.
Alla asked Sveta and me to be a friend to Kolya and Olga. In a sense, the grandparent baton was passed on to us. We received it with pleasure.
This year, Kolya organized his parental documents and brought Olga to live with him. Last week, Sveta and I had a nice surprise. Kolya came to visit us with his daughter, Olga. We had a great time!
We are so happy that both Kolya and Olga have a new life together. This is a type of love that Sveta and I seldom see. We are so happy to be a part of their lives.
During the quarantine period, Mark and I did not visit our children in orphanages and did not meet with children who receive massage therapy through our mission. But the work continues and we keep in touch with our massage therapists by phone and see the results of their work in their progress reports. We hope to see our lovely little friends again soon!
A couple of weeks ago, our church organized a two day camp for children. This took place on a tiny plot of land not far from the river. Roma, his wife Anya, and their two little girls shared their yard for camp. (Roma, mostly by himself, totally rebuilt what was a little dacha house.) Roma and Anya, who directed the camp, serve children at our church with all their hearts! They have big dreams for the children.
It’s so great for kids to spend time together in the outdoors! There was just enough room for six tents. Our 5 year old grand- daughter slept in a tent. What an adventure it was for these city children to experience.
The first night the children set up their tents. Later, they had conversation about the two greatest Commandments with Mark and me. Together with the children we discussed these two Bible topics. It was interesting to hear the opinions of children, and their observations. They wrapped up the evening, watching a movie projected on a sheet, between two trees.
Saturday began, of course, with breakfast. To their surprise, the morning activity was to prepare lunch as a competition between two teams. It was a sight to see. After lunch, the children participated in other competitions and played games! The big event was swimming in the river! After supper Mark and I discussed with the children about building Biblical character in their lives. Finally, the children, exhausted after a long day, did their best to stay awake to watch a movie under the stars!
Cooking dinner was one of the competitions. It was very thrilling and exciting for the children to cook. And for us adults, it was interesting to watch how they did it. They cut carrots, peeled vegetables, marinate meat … When the jury was evaluating the tastiness of the dishes, the children stood and looked with tension at the expression on our faces. Which team’s food was cooked tastier?
This camp compensated for our failed meeting with the MUCH children. It was a pleasure for Mark and me to be a small part of the lives of these wonderful children! Living my dream,
Sveta I think that you could drop a missionary anywhere in Ukraine and he or she would find children in need of love, direction, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are so many children, even within a one mile radius of where we live, we will never run short of the work that God sent us to do. Thank you for reading this newsletter, and thank you to sponsors, and those who pray for the children and Sveta and me.
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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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 veticalizerthat 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.
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.
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!
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!