Category Archives: Children in Ukraine

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

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

February 2018

Hello family and friends,

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

 

Mark’s Moments

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

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

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

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

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

Donate Now!

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

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

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

December 2017

Christmas 2017

’Twas the night before Christmas and all through Ukraine,

Were children whose hearts beat like the speed of a train.

Would this be the year that their school would have what it would need,

To explode their educational experience from the teacher’s dream seed?

In the Chemistry class to see the minerals combine,

Bursting in the air as the molecules create a picture sublime!

Could Physical Education class have sports balls to kick and that bounce,

And a climbing rope that would not unravel with each additional ounce?

Would this be the year that the chalkboard screech,

Would be replaced by a smooth chalkboard-wall that everyone could reach?

Or in the physics class where eyes would see, ears would hear, and hands would touch,

The mystery of an electric motor the children’s minds would finally clutch?

Would this be the year, in the village schools,

That the children’s education would be met with the 21st century tools?

It could happen, and it is within reach,

MUCH has received all but $470 to complete this years fundraiser beseech.

The lives of 400 children in four village schools and two orphanages you can touch,

This Christmas season by contributing to MUCH.

Your dollar will go far, the exchange rate is high,

For 27.6 Hryvnia, one dollar will buy.

If you have a few dollars just laying around,

Send them to MUCH, and a new purpose for them will be found.

Then know that the spirit of Christmas giving, from deep in your heart,

Has touched the children of Ukraine, and it is your Christmas of which they are a part.

Merry Christmas to all who read this poem of hope this year,

May your understanding of true love through giving be clear!

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

November 2017

Hello family and friends,

If you tried to donate online, we apologize that our website was offline. It is working now and waiting for you visit again.

We trust that all have had a blessed Thanksgiving experience. God has blessed Sveta and I with many joys in our life these past six years. We pray that each of you take hold of the many blessings that God has waiting for you.

Sveta and I spent 7 weeks in America with our families and friends. We stayed with new friends in Virginia, and visited two home schools and a church. We were interviewed on a local Radio Station, WPAQ. It was a nice experience. We visited sponsors and spoke at a church while staying with four families of my relatives in North Carolina. We enjoyed meeting with our MUCH Board of Directors. Two weeks in Florida was a special time. My Dad and step-mother, Bob and Jean Koehler, helped us by organizing opportunities to present our story. They organized a meeting at supper with different people every night. It was wonderful to talk with people from all walks of life. We made new friends! It was such a blessed time!

Thank you everyone who helped us with housing and food, transportation, and all our needs!

Our Christmas fundraiser is moving forward! We are improving education in four village schools and two orphanages. Help us spread the joy of Christmas by providing many of the educational tools that will help these children change their future in Ukraine.

Thanks to the friends of MUCH, we have raised $1,500.

We still need to raise $2,720 to meet our goal by Christmas.

Donate Here

 

Shostakovo asks for help to improve their Biology, Physics, and English classes …

In September, MUCH provided a few educational tools! It was a great beginning.

 

 

Maksimivka asks for help to improve 5 classes with wall charts …

Migovo asks for help to improve their Chemistry, Biology, and Physics classes …

Ternava asks for help to bring instruments into its Music Program …

Veleeky Lubin asks for a tablet for the psychologist …

Dobromel asks for tools to teach the children to work with concrete and plaster …

In September, MUCH began to provide tools for the construction class.

Let’s meet this goal together!

August 2017

Hello family and friends,

Sveta and I will be in America between October 14 and November 28, give or take a day. If any of you would like us to visit with you, we would be very happy to do so. Please reply to this newsletter, or write to us at [email protected]

After a very hot July, the first half of August challenged our patience. Finally, the temperatures cooled and the gentle rains visited us. We had a productive vegetable garden this summer. The fruit trees are producing more each year.

Life is good for us in Ukraine. Our son is finished with all connect with the military. He is back to work in his old job. His wife has started an internet based clothing design business. Her business is keeping her busy. Our daughter is doing well with her home based hair care business. Her husband is working in a family remodel business, and has started a rabbit farm. The grandchildren, ages 8, 7, 6 and 3, are showing interest in piano, swimming, dance, and organizational concepts.

Mark’s Moments

When I moved to Ukraine in 2002, my general focus was to provide humanitarian aid for children. MUCH moved forward in this direction. As we did, we saw something missing in this lives of the children. That something was knowledge of God. Communicating with the children, we saw a void of love, compassion, and involvement of adults in their lives. Who would tell the children about God? Who knew about God to tell the children. I have learned that in many cases, the children learn about God and draw their parents to church.

MUCH has always been a Christian organization. Who we are is not changing. What we do is not changing. Our goals are expanding, growing from sound roots.

As we put more focus on education, we will use that connection to draw the children to God. We are taking example from Ukraine Challenge, who have been providing camp experiences for children for many years.

We are talking with local translators about camps that focus on sports, English language, games,and maybe life skills. These topics will lead to discussion about God. That is the general goal. Finding enough people to staff the camps is a challenge. We will also be looking to short term missions to come help us.

Our church in Mykolaiv is providing camps for local children from schools in our district. They held three camps this summer. They were short on staff at times. Never-the-less, we want to build a team to help Yura and Dasha in Shostakovo, (July newsletter), provide a camp for the children of the three villages that attend the Shostakovo school. Yura is building church community in these villages as a spiritual leader. Dasha teaches at the school, so the two of them have the perfect opportunity to follow-up the camps with regular get-togethers with the children.

We would like to do this with each village school as God provides the people and the funding. The first step is building a relationship with the children and the school through provision of education equipment. As the school administration come to understand who we are, we can offer to provide a Christian camp experience for the children. If they agree, we need to be prepared to staff a camp. Our end goal is to connect the children to a church or Christian youth organization in their area.

Sveta’s Journey

The Transition Home in Marganets is a nine month waiting facility for children taken from difficult homes. They will be placed in a foster home, or an orphanage/boarding school. These children are very emotionally troubled. Children in the Transit Home do not have many physical limitations, but they have a huge number of emotional and psychological problems. Their character was formed under adverse conditions. Now, being in Transit Home, each of them is waiting for the decision of their destiny and this is stress for these children.

Massage therapy improves the psychological and emotional sphere for these children. Our massage therapist, Yana, has been working at this facility for only seven months. During this time, she gave massage treatment for 35 children. Six of them underwent two courses. Yana, with her personal character, such as kindness and a gentle individual approach to each child, compassion and a great desire to help these children in their difficult times, helps them to receive a partial healing of their wounded soul.

From several of Yana’s reports, I will show the emotional results in a couple of pictures. They show happier, more content children. I think that it will help you to see how much help Yana provides for the children.
1. Natasha was afraid to be touched. She gradually got used to Yana’s gentle touch. After each massage treatment she became more calm and balanced and her emotional state improved.

2. Igor had frequent colds and was sometimes whiny. After the massage treatment, his mood and his general condition improved.

3. All massage treatments for Vanya were accompanied by communication. At first, he was sharp, rude, and made many claims to others. After several days of massage treatment Vanya became more gentle and his emotional state improved.

4. Marina was a restless, irritable girl, at first she did not want to take off her clothes before the massage treatment. By the third procedure she began to undress herself. By the fourth treatment the girl began to perform all the physical exercises that must be performed after the massage treatment. Marina stopped becoming irritable and nervous.

5. Dima gladly accepted all the procedures, happy for the attention. At first he only smiled and nodded his head at all of Yana’s questions. By the fifth procedure Yana heard him speak his first words.

6. Nina is very kind; she answers questions with pleasure. She likes to sing songs during the massage therapy. Her posture needed attention. The massage treatments provided better posture for Nina. At the end of each procedure, Yana and Nina always hug each other.

7. Valya answered Yana’s questions inaudibly, she was a very touchy child and demanded increasing attention. After several days of massage treatment, Valya began to trust Yana and she changed a lot.

To remove psychological stress, to calm the child and develop a positive attitude to his or her body and to him or herself as a person, massage therapist Yana selects relaxing techniques of classical massage and individual methods of communication with the child. Thanks to this, the child experiences a feeling of emotional connection with Yana and trusts her. This allows the child to acquire a state of psychological security and improves the child’s development process.

Thank you for making it possible to bring Yana on to our team. Thank you for caring our children here in Ukraine. It is a big job, and it is growing each year. This year we will touch the live of more than 700 children through massage therapy, education, and clothing. The children thank you!

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

May 2017

Hello family and friends,

Spring has sprung! The gardens are green and growing very well. Grass needs cut and weeds are being pulled. Life in Ukraine is moving forward!

Mark’s Moments

The War Continues

Traveling by train from our home in Mykolaiv to L’viv, and from there to Dobromel by bus, we saw the beauty of Ukraine’s farmland. The more we traveled west, the more peaceful everything seemed. Unfortunately, the war in Eastern Ukraine continues. It takes on a different style every so often. Before the war, Russia controlled gas for home heating, trying to weaken Ukraine. Now, coal is the energy weapon, but it is Ukraine’s own coal that Russia is trying to control.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/28/gunmen-east-ukraine-occupy-donetsk-stadium-amid-standoff-coal/

If you are an honest man working in the Russian government, your days are numbered. Russia has its own form of terrorism.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/23/russia-accused-state-terrorism-ex-mp-shot-dead-ukraine/

The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia is now in the International Court of Justice. This story is a good update on the progress of the war.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/19/ukrainian-president-says-russia-has-attitude-problem-urges-theresa/

Veleeky Lubin Orphanage


Our bus travel from L’viv to Dobromel passes through Veleeky Lubin. We stopped to visit the orphanage and meet our massage therapist who began in January. Igor has fifteen years of experience with massage therapy. We watched as he gave two of the children massage. He connects with the children very well, calming their anxiousness about physical contact.

As with all of our massage therapists, Igor gave me a massage. This helped me understand his technique. I was impressed.

Ternava Village School

The Ternava school is located three and a half miles from Dobromel. Last year MUCH provided sewing machines to enhance the experience for the children in the sewing class. Sveta and I visited the class to see the children in action. The girl in the back showed me the phone pocket that she sewed with cloth.

I asked the boy what was interesting to him about sewing. He told me in his shy manner. I encouraged him with a story about a man in Ternopol who had a dream to have a sewing factory of his own. I told the boy that this friend of mine is very successful. I saw a light of enthusiasm in his eyes.

The war continues, but MUCH helps Ukraine fight the war with education. We provide educational tools to improve the future of Ukraine. You never know who will influence Ukraine or the world in the next generation of leaders.

Dobromel Orphanage

Last year MUCH provided a number of the items for this hair care class at the orphanage. With the help of other sponsors, the class is in full operation. Although the pupils have the skills to create designer haircuts for the boys, the director forbids it. He is very careful about what may influence the fragile lives of these children.

The new focus at this orphanage is to train the children who will not go on to trade school. If special needs children do not qualify for some type of higher education, then their ability to earn money is very limited. Developing work skills while the children are in the orphanage is a vital aspect for their future.

Sveta’s Journey

Yura, 11 years old, came to the Dobromel orphanage four years ago from the Baby House. When he arrived, he was wild and uncontrollable. His diagnosis is cerebral palsy and kyphoscoliosis. During four years, he received 14 courses of massage therapy. He became calm soon after his first course of massage therapy. Our massage therapists Natasha and Paul see good results after the massage courses. More importantly, the doctors see change in Yura’s overall physical and emotional health.

For two years, Luba, our computer teacher, used a computer tablet to teach simple skills to the less able children. She used training programs designed to teach children with disabilities. Mark and I were very surprised and impressed with how well Yura coped with the tasks! Although he says only a few words, he understands very well! We see great changes in his character, health and intellectual development. This time our hearts were so full of joy for this wonderful child. God, the Defender of orphans, has touched the hearts of an American family to adopt Yura! Soon he will be a part of a family in America!

Luba does an excellent job helping 14 children learn how to use computers and computer tablets on a daily basis. Taking into account the personality and level of development of each child, she prepares tasks for each one of them. Some educational games are more complicated. Some are simple puzzles. The higher skilled children are learning to use the key board with the goal to learning to touch type.

Two years ago, as an experiment we bought one tablet for the computer class. Teaching children to use the tablet has brought tremendous results. It helps Luba give lessons to the children more easily and in an interesting way. After amazing results last year, we bought one more computer tablet for Luba’s classroom.

Last year MUCH bought three additional tablets. Oksana, the defectologist, Melany, the speech therapist, and Julia, the child psychologist each expressed a great interesting to have a tablet to enhance their progress with the children. They are very grateful for these tablets.

Oksana showed us how the children she is preparing for the first grade demonstrated good results using the tablet. Children study colors, count to ten, classify vegetables and fruits, wild and domestic animals, and much more.

Melany, is delighted with the results that children achieve through learning with the programs in the tablet. Children learn much faster and more efficiently. They are very interested in the lessons. The musical reward brings delight to the children when they complete the task correctly. This girl was so stimulated because of the tablet that she began to form sounds and speak simple words.

 

 

 

For these therapists, the computer tablets are a huge help in providing an exciting teaching technique. The children happily showed us what they had learned. They are so proud! They have the confidence that they can do it!

Our time spent with the children was so wonderful! The last evening when we said that tomorrow we will leave, some of the children cried. I remember how every day they pressed themselves with all their heart to us and hugged us. I miss them and love them.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Sveta and I are very grateful to everyone who makes our work possible. The children thank you! Your contributions to MUCH are helping change Ukraine. We are setting examples in healthcare and education. Many teachers and administrators had no hope for change. Now they dream of ways that they can do their job better, change the lives of the children they serve, and change their country, step by step.

Thank you for reading our stories and sharing them with your friends!

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

March 2017

Hello family and friends,

In 2014, we moved into our unfinished home in Mykolaiv. Each year we make improvements, making the house warmer, drier, and cozier. Sveta was working in the garden this week and her eyes twinkle once again. I am ready to finish the external insulation of the house and am making plans for the workshop/summer kitchen. God has blessed us abundantly with our little home.

Mark’s Moments

The hearts of our two new massage therapists in Mykolaiv are on fire. Each therapist began to reach out to their community, offering home visit massage therapy for children with different diagnoses. They began in January and are building their clientele. This has been working out well. We are seeing results in the first month of treatment.

Anya in Mykolaiv

Anya is working with Philip who is diagnosed with hyperactivity. Home visits are a bit more difficult. Finding a work surface that is comfortable for the massage therapist, and is comfortable for the child, can be a challenge. Another situation that the therapist must deal with in the home visit is the presence of siblings. In this situation, Philip is calmed by watching cartoons while Anya focuses on the massage treatment.

Oksana in Mykolaiv

Oksana is working with George, 14 years old. His diagnosis is kyphoscoliosis. His spine is curved forward more that normal in the shoulder area. Also, you may be able to see in the picture that his spine is also curved side to side instead of being straight up and down.

George complained of upper back pain. He received a 20-day massage therapy treatment. His mother saw changes in George’s posture and emotional composure. His pain was alleviated and George was feeling much better.
Oksana bought her own massage table and treats some of her clients in her home. Her work is straight from her heart. She has two small children of her own at home.

A Deeper Passion

This month, as Sveta has been talking with the our therapists, they are asking about another possible opportunity to serve children. In Mykolaiv, there is an orphanage that serves children with physical disabilities. Our therapists are very interested in investigating the feasibility of focusing their work on the children at the orphanage. This sounds very good to me!

Sveta’s Journey

Dr. Natalia in Chornomorsk

Ilya lives in Chornomorsk. He began to receive massage therapy when he was 1 year old. This timely treatment that we call “early intervention” makes new connections in the brain while the brain and body continues to develop.

Through massage therapy, the “walking” motor skills are trained to develop correctly. The muscle tone of the weaker muscles is improved, and the opposing muscles can now develop together. This causes the brain to work correctly.

Ilya was not interested in the world around him; he could not speak or walk. Step by step there was progress. At first he learned to crawl. It was not easy to achieve such an activity. Then he began to say some words. Although this is normal for healthy children and it happens easily, for Ilya this was the result of much time, and the joint work of Dr. Natalia, Ilya’s mother, and grandmother.

During the last five years, his mother and grandmother have done their best to help the child. All of these years, Ilya has received help from MUCH by receiving massage therapy. Dr. Natalia saw how difficult life was for Ilya’s family and she has also contributed to their need. Last year she invited Ilya’s mother to work as an administrator in her center.

Today, Ilya is speaking well and intelligently. He can construct complex sentences. This is a great achievement for a child with his diagnosis. This little boy learned to walk somewhat independently relying on a moving object (chair). Dr. Natalia believes Ilya has promise and she plans to teach him to walk without support. She wants to improve his intellectual potential so that by the age of nine, he will be prepared to attend a special school.

It is a long process. Even so, when we see such extreme progress, we can better understand the long term value of the work that our massage therapists are doing every day.

Marganets School #3

The Marganets School #3 students are very enthusiastic about sports. MUCH has provided the equipment and team shirts; the teacher provides the education and leadership; and the students provide the energy and joyful noise.

Now the children really feel that they are a team! They are united not only by their desire to take part in competitions, but also by wearing the same uniforms, they feel like a real sports team! Their teacher, Igor, is always grateful to you, dear friends, for such great support. He thanks you for helping him do his job better.

Also at School #3, about thirty children participate in the clothing program. Orphaned children and those who live in poverty are in great need of clothing, particularly in the winter months. MUCH provides funds for these needs each month.

You would have to meet the children to truly understand their great need. They are very thankful! Even so, their lives are so challenging, it is difficult to see smiles on their faces for very long.

The children thank you for your care about them!

Yana is our new massage therapist. She began this new program for MUCH at the Marganets Transition Home in January 2017. Children who come to this place may not need physical healing, but their wounded hearts need healing. Interacting with children through massage therapy treatment, the massage therapist not only touches their muscles but also their souls.

Almost all the children did not want to undress to receive massage therapy. When asked to do so, they looked at Yana suspiciously. She did not insist. Rather, with patience, she lovingly spent time with children, chatting and preparing their hearts to trust her. On the third day, the children agreed that Yana could give them massage therapy.

She worked at establishing a trusting relationship. Some teenage boys have ceased to be cruel and loud. One girl name Anya was restless and irritable. At first she did not want to do physical exercises and did not want to take off her clothes for the massage therapy. She started undressing herself by the third procedure, and on the fourth visit, she did all the exercises with pleasure. She especially liked to blow up the balloons, an exercise for her lungs.

Vanya was happy to participate in all of the procedures. At first, he only smiled and nodded his head at all of Yana’s questions. From the fifth procedure, she heard the first words from his mouth.

Our dear friends, thank you for helping us touch the lives of these precious children. God bless you and your children!

Living my dream,

Sveta

Nine MUCH massage therapists in five cities in Ukraine are changing the future of this country. Maybe one of our children receiving massage therapy will make a great contribution to Ukraine, or the world. A more concrete reality is that by setting examples of compassion and human rights for these children of great need, communities are changing their mentality. People see hope, and are standing up to speak for children who cannot speak for themselves.

Thanks to each of you who read our newsletter, share our stories with your friends, and lift us up in prayer as we continue to follow God, sharing His blessings with the children of Ukraine.

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