Category Archives: Children in Ukraine

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 markkinua@gmail.com.

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

August 2016

Hello family and friends,

We have come to the end of summer in Ukraine. We anticipate that a cool autumn will appear
Sept. 1. The change of seasons are abrupt in this part of Europe.

August 24 celebrates Independence Day in Ukraine. This is their twenty-fifth year of freedom from the Soviet Union. Children who were born in freedom, after 1991, are raising a second generation of children born in freedom. It is a great privilege for me to be here, watching the process.

We have been changing the lives of children at the Marganets Orphanage for fourteen years. August brings an end to this part of the MUCH mission in Marganets. The simplest way to 3dsc02082explain is that we are not seeing the results that we have seen over the years. The need for clothing is less, and the other goals have been met. The children have better self images, are behaving better in the classroom, and have earned the respect of the children in the community at large. Thank you for your support for these children over the years. Your contributions have changed the lives of a generation of children.

Mark’s Moments
Here is a story of how two people encouraged each other to blossom their visions to help disabled children.

In 2003, I was in great need of massage therapy. After living in Ukraine for a year and a half, stress caused my neck muscles to tighten so much that I couldn’t turn my head. I was introduced to Dr. Natalya Borisovna, a massage therapist. At the time, her patients for massage therapy were adults.

After my good results, I asked her if she was interested in working with children. She had been praying for the opportunity for three years! In March of 2004, we began the MUCH Massage Therapy program with two children a month.

Twelve years later, MUCH has blossomed the massage therapy program. We provide massage therapy for at least twenty children per month. We have: two massage therapists at the Dobromel Orphanage, northwestern Ukraine, two home visit massage therapists in Chornomorsk, and one in training for home visits in the village of Molodozjnoye in south western Ukraine. There is also a vision for massage therapy at a second orphanage in northwestern Ukraine.

For twelve years, Dr. Natalya has been on a journey of her own. When she started the MUCH massage therapy clinic in 2004, she worked part time for us and part time in her private practice. A few years later, she was hired to work at Golden Angel in Odessa, giving massage to children with disabilities who came from many parts of Ukraine for treatment.

Dr. Natalya has returned to Chornomorsk, reopening her private practice of massage therapy. She has blossomed her business into a complex treatment of full body massage, hot earth wax, facial point massage, treatment for joints, therapeutic exercise, and an ice bath. This full treatment requires about two hours and forty-five minutes for a ten or fifteen day program. MUCH sponsors six of her patients. She has a team of four massage therapist, and an office manager.

natalyas-teamDr. Natalya helped me: physically regain relaxation of my muscles, begin a clinic for children with special needs, and train our new massage therapists. God used me to: answer her prayer to work with special needs children, encourage her to continue through sponsorship, and ask for her help to train our new therapists.

This is the successful story of how Dr. Natalya and I encouraged each other to develop our visions to help children with disabilities.

Sveta’s Journey
We have made a lot of friends working at the orphanage in Marganets. Our hearts were sad when we had to stop the program. The children were always waiting for our arrival. When Mark and I entered the orphanage gate they recognized us from a distance and ran to us shouting, “Mark and Sveta are here!” We had limited time to talk and play with the children. When we told them that we had other children in their city to visit, they were jealous.

Our work continues in Dobromel. Children are also waiting for us at this orphanage. They receive massage therapy and attend computer classes because of the full sponsorship of MUCH. This is a great help that is changing their lives. The children enjoy massage therapy very much. Eagerly awaiting dscn7556their turn, they ask the therapist, “When are you going to give me a massage?”
Teachers are responsible to bring each child for massage, knowing the appointed time. Sometimes Paul takes a child for massage therapy and returns him/her at the end of the massage. Because the education building is across the street, sometimes the therapist will take two children. While waiting for their turn, they are happy to spend time in this magical room, running on the treadmill, playing on a massage mat, and using other exercise equipment. Some children are so interested in the procedure of massage therapy, they cannot look away from the working hands of the therapist.
We have written several times adscn7555bout children who came to the orphanage from a Baby House (orphanage from birth to first grade). What enormous changes have taken place in their character and health because of massage therapy mixed with the love of people who care about them!
The boy who is watching massage in the picture above came from a Baby House. When he arrived, he was wild and uncontrollable. He has been receiving massage therapy for three years. We are so happy to see the great changes that have occurred in his life during this time.
For me, this boy is a living example of how a child may change through the love of the people around him, and as the love of God unites hearts of Americans and Ukrainians! Thank you for your part in changing the lives of these children!
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 2013 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,

Sveta and I enjoyed a couple of weeks of snow, but now the 35F plus weather has brought the rain. Snow may return before spring arrives, but it will not stay long here by the Black Sea. The weather changes most unpredictably. Sveta is moving my residency documents along quickly, as my Visa D will expire February 21. Life is good.

The Christmas Fundraiser has made it possible for the computer program to begin this month at the Dobromel Orphanage for special needs children. We are so pleased that we are able to offer the children massage therapy that began last January, and computer classes this year. We look forward to hearing and seeing the progress results. We have talked with the director of the orphanage, and he is very grateful. We pass this note of thanks on to you, the sponsors.

The sewing machine for the Marganets Orphange will be delivered this month. Sveta will order through the internet, it will be delivered to a shipping company in Marganets, and our manager there, Anatoliy, will pay for it and deliver it to the orphanage. Cash on delivery is quite common in Ukraine, and gives me considerable peace of mind because I don’t have to worry about my debit card being compromised. On another front, we provided the transition home in Marganets with one washing machine. I will share the rest of the washing machine story in the March Newsletter.

I want to share a story with you about one of my special children. D. was born with Cerebral Palsy. She began to receive medical attention at the age of two, which is the old Soviet mentality. I met her when she was four years old. Palsy affected her legs and feet, but she used all the muscles in her body when she would try to walk. Her inability to balance caused her to fall to one side or the other. It would soon be time for her to begin kindergarten, and then school. To do this, she would need to be able to walk on her own, maneuvering through her day independently.

Sveta and I met with her at a massage therapy session in the fall of last year. She was eight, and is winning her battle. She attends school, is walking independently, and is very happy. Her challenges will continue until she stops growing, but she works very hard combating her muscle imbalance and spasticity. I have assembled a video of her therapy and her triumphs. Take five minutes and cheer her on as you watch how far she has come. D’s Video

Sveta has some wonderful stories to share this month. Our massage therapists keep us in-touch with the progress of the children through progress reports. In Illichevsk, at the end of sessions, they invite us to take pictures and video the children, displaying their new abilities.

Sveta’s Journey

Yesterday Mark and I visited a new child; this is our first visit to him. His name is G. and he is five months old. Two months ago, he received his first treatment of ten massages. Now Tanya, one of our massage therapists, is giving him a second ten-day massage treatment. Immediately from the first days of treatment, Tanya and his mother noticed improvements in G. — relaxation of tense muscles in his neck and back, now G. can turn his head to either side. Before the massage he could only turn his head to one side.

G., things are looking up!
After the second treatment of massage, the spasticity in his right arm and leg diminished considerably. Some questionable movement in his left hand remains. We will watch as massages and special exercise may improve the operation and development of the muscles and give direction to the proper growth of the skeletal system. The problem is much easier and faster to fix in infancy than when the child is older. (I’m not talking about an extremely serious diagnosis. If a child receives massage early, the results will be greater, but if massage comes later for the child, it will take more time and more work to come close to the before mentioned results, if they will at all.)

A., is a sweet baby girl who was adopted by a lovely family. Her new parents are very caring toward their child, take good care of her, and have much patience with her. They need to work hard to help her develop properly in her body and mind. A. is one year and four months old, but she cannot walk like most children at her age. Doctors diagnosed her: mental retardation and spastic syndrome. She received her first twenty-day massage last month. These are the results that Tanya and A.’s mother saw. The girl began to crawl.

A. says,”Ok, I’m ready!
She can stand without adult support for about one minute.Now she can get off the bed by herself and she began to speak the word “mama.” When we met in the massage room, the mom enthusiastically told us what the girl is now able to do. The mother glowed with happiness. A. will have the next massage course after a month. Patience and love are winning. This is only the first step. She needs to continue to work with the muscles of her body to develop into a healthy child.
K. – Mmmm, thaaat feeels gooood!
Little K. has regularly received massage treatment from when she was eight months old; now she is two years old. Doctors and parents did not immediately find a problem in her physical development so the massage was started a little late, but even this did not interfere with the results. Before the massage, a big difference was evident; one cheek on her face was large and the other was smaller. Now, both of K.’s cheeks look the same. The muscles on the left side of her neck are shorter, causing stiff neck. Now she turns her head to either side. Tanya continues to work with K. and focuses on the left side of the body, relaxing spastic muscles of the arm and leg.
I described three children who had massages in a very short time, but received great results. All three mothers told us what their children’s problems were before the first massage, and how happy they are now, seeing such excellent results. We were also very happy with them. For me they were real miracles; whenever I see or hear about the results after the massage, my heart is filled with joy for these children and their parents. These are not the end-results; our massage therapist will continue to work with these children until our goals are met.
Living my dream,
Sveta
We are so grateful for all of your interest in our children and the love that you have for them. Your financial gifts and prayers make all of what we do here possible. Without MUCH, the children with special need, those in orphanages, and the poor wanting to attend higher eduction would be forgotten, or their needs minimized to a survival status. As you can see on the right toward the top, we have six programs that fall into three major categories. In March we will talk about the transportation scholarship program. We will give details of what is happening now and what our goals are. Until then, may God bless you and fill your lives with joy and prosperity.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

January 2013 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,

Happy New Year 2013! Our Christmas fundraiser this year fell short of our total goal, but we will be able to operate the computer classes for the complete goal of one and a half years.

Learning will be eciting for us!
We (picture to the right) are very excited about that! The remainder of the funds raised will go toward the massage therapy programs at Dobromel and Froonza that will continue from last year. A second part-time massage therapist for the Dobromel orphanage may be possible in the future, if we can find more monthly sponsors.

MUCH had two surprises this Christmas. After reading our November Newsletter, friends from North Carolina offered to buy a sewing machine for the orphanage-school in Marganets. When the assistant director heard this news, she was very pleased. The children will be thrilled with all of the mechanized options that they will be able to use. They will even be able to sew in script to personalize their projects!

The second surprise involves a church, a mission organization, and a new sponsor. Between the three of them, money was contributed to buy two new washing machines for the Transition Home in Marganets. The director and the washwomen were very pleased to receive these machines because they had been washing clothes and bedding for 30 children by hand.

After our two month fundraising and holiday time, Sveta and I have returned to Ukraine exhausted, but we will begin this year with a new perspective on Ukraine. Sveta’s first visit to America did yield culture shock for her. For me, I saw America through her eyes, which in turn, helped me to see Ukraine with new eyes. After ten years, the cultural differences and the visual effects have become very “normal” for me. When I would visit America in the past, my world, my perspective, was only bigger. Now, seeing through Sveta’s eyes, I see two different worlds.

Our time in America was constant mental activity. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my niece’s wedding, and family visits kept us busy. Then, there were the many sponsors that we visited and the presentations that we gave. Sveta’s one year of studying English proved to be very successful. She spoke in front of large groups without hesitation. Her Ukrainian perspective of MUCH gave them new understanding of our work with the children.

Additional stress visited us in the last few days of our journey. My passport was at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington DC, waiting for a Visa D to be attached. When I called, I learned that I had sent the wrong amount of money, too much, and they couldn’t accept the postal money order. Mom sent another while Sveta and I were out of town, but the adventure heightened as we tracked the return express mail envelope. After great efforts by two gracious postal workers, (unbelievable in Sveta’s eyes), the envelope was available to be picked up at 7AM the morning that we were to fly back to Ukraine.

My heart sank as I opened my passport to learn that I had only 45 days on my Visa D. I later learned that this is normal under the new law. The second step is to register with the government office for a one-year Visa D in the city where I live and work. After I get this, my next step will be to apply for full time residency, not citizenship, as the spouse of Sveta, a Ukrainian national. This will be available after we are married two years, January 10, 2014.

Our next adventure met us at the JFK International Airport. Our connecting flights to Odessa included two stops in European Union countries, Germany and Austria. This was not a problem for me, carrying an American passport. On the other hand, Sveta had a Ukrainian passport; therefore, she needed a Schengen Visa to fly into more than one EU airport. The clerk at the Austrian Air desk was able to give us two options for flights that would go directly from JFK to Vienna where we could connect with our final flight. We were blessed with the first option, standby tickets for a 6PM flight that would leave in two hours, and a $316 change fee, versus a $1016 change fee for a flight the next day. As we waited patiently, we were invited to the 6PM flight. On we went.

Our focus in 2013 will be to create videos of the work that we do with the children, particularly in the massage therapy programs. These videos will be available to view by way of the internet or a number of our sites, such as Flickr, YouTube, our blog, Facebook, and Twitter. The massage therapy video that I made for the presentations on our trip opened new eyes of understanding for many people.

Sveta’s Journey

Our two-month trip to America is over, we returned to Ukraine, and of course, I am very glad to see my family and friends in Ukraine. I was a little sad that I had to leave my wonderful new family and friends in America; they gave us attention, love, and support. I enjoyed socializing with people; I saw a lot of care and a desire to give us their valuable time. I was bathed in love.

After talking to people and reviewing what they saw, I learned and saw many differences in their culture and way of life. First of all, I was very impressed with the people. They were very welcoming, friendly, discreet, ready to help, and to encourage. I did not feel lonely or outcast in this new culture; I felt the love and acceptance in a great family where there is love.

Today it is considered that the experience of a new culture is a shock, because it is unexpected and can lead to negative evaluation of one’s own culture. I do not appreciate my Ukrainian culture in a negative manor. I love my country, and God has put love in my heart to help Ukrainian women and men of retiring age when Mark and I retire. We will help them find hope for the future, because it is usually the time when the Post-Soviet people retire to a meaningless life. Children are grown, the grandchildren are adults, and they have no work or hobbies. There is no further purpose in life, having completed all previous goals (attending university, having a good job, a family, a baby, raising grandchildren) the people are at a loss – how to live on?

Mark and I are thinking about the time when we will retire. We want to help these people regain confidence that life can be rich and fruitful, even after the person has retired. We already have a plan to do it. While in America, I saw a perfect example of people in the retirement age having an active and productive life.

All the people we met in America were eager to know about the children in the orphanage. I know many stories because I know many of the children. Each child has their own unique story; they have experience with big blows of fate for their young age.

I finished school, now it’s on to trade school
R. (to my right) is a boy from the Dobromel orphanage. He looks older than his years. Maybe it is because he was found on the street many years ago when he was a little boy. He could not say his name, age, or give any information on who his parents were. R. was given his name by the boarding school, along with some created identity where they recorded the year of his birth. Police were looking for a long time to find his family, but did not find anything. The boy is an orphan only in words. Because of the lack of true documents, he cannot have the financial help benefits of being an orphan, as there is no proof of the death of his parents, or their rejection of this child.
Please pray about my future
Last autumn, R. (to my right) finished boarding school and now attends trade school as a builder. He lives in a dorm and gets a very small $30 monthly stipend. Since the law does not considered him for an orphan pension pensioner, after he finishes all of his education, he will no longer be entitled to the stipend, much less any other government aid. The director asked us to help him. We know a Christian family that has experience working with children and helping them adapt to life after the orphanage. We think that they will help R.
Visual stimulation and massage are changing my life
K., (left) 7 years old, has cerebral palsy. He can say only one word “mama”. K. has respectable parents, but they are very busy and very seldom visited the child, and of course, the boy misses them and has become very closed. When the massage therapist gave massage for him, the first few days he was very stressed and did not want to be touched. Now K. is gradually beginning to open up and blossom like a flower that was drooping for a long time without water.
Computers will help us with our language skills.
Two brothers, I. and P. (right) are special. I love them very much. When Mark and I come to the orphanage, the elder brother is always beside us; the youngest brother is shy and follows us at a distance of several meters. They cannot speak well. Their parents are alcoholics. When it is vacation time, parents take these boys home, but it is really better for them to stay at the boarding school. The boys told me they do not like their mom, and they do not like to be at home.
Every adult has a destiny that he can change. Children are dependent on their parents or other adults who are involved in their lives, whether positive or negative. Particularly dependent are the children with physical and mental limitations. These children have little ability to change their own destiny, but their parents or other adults in their lives may have big influence on their future.

Thank you very much for your financial support of the computer program that will operate for a minimum of one and a half years at the Dobromel Orphanage-Boarding School. After having more than 20 computers sit idle for more than a year, the children will now embark on a new adventure in learning. It is all because of your generous contributions that this has become a reality.

Your love, prayers, and financials support, our friends and partners, help us perform many projects to help children. Thank you very much!

Living my dream,

Sveta

As we enter 2013, we see change happening in Ukraine that will affect the children. The government is closing many of the orphanages, mainstreaming the children into regular schools. Our focus on health care, education, and clothing will remain our objective. Our ability to reach out to more children this year and next will depend upon people with hearts for the children.

If God is nudging you to make a monthly commitment to help our children, please understand that $5 or more dollars a month will make a difference in the lives of our children.

As we work together to build a stronger Ukraine through caring for its children, we work together to build a stronger world! Thank you for taking an interest in our children who look to us for help.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

June 2012 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,
It was in the upper 50’s F yesterday, but summer is right around the corner. School is almost finished here in Illichevsk, and the children will be running to the beach. Ice cream stands will be rolled out to the sidewalks, and life will appear happy for all. As I walk through the streets of Illichevsk, I am thankful that I was called to live and work in this clean city. Sveta’s and my one-bedroom apartment meets our needs and is our home sweet home. We treasure it as we journey home from our fourteen-hour train and bus trips visiting the children in Dobromel, Marganets, and Froonza.
Continuing our look at how we spend our funds, I will share two general areas: education and healthcare. Why is MUCH interested in Education? Everyone knows that education provides the building blocks for functioning in life. It shows us the road to a brighter future. Here in Ukraine, we are looking at two very specific problems: poverty and alcohol abuse. Our goal is to break the cycle of poverty. We believe that alcoholism is a direct result of poverty, although alcoholism has additional roots. We look at the family structure and see that children from poor families have little motivation and almost no encouragement to live a better life.
V. is hungry for a better life
Five years ago, we began the Transportation Scholarship Program with two high school graduates. As you saw in the January newsletter, one of the two graduated. The second dropped out of our program and disappeared. Over the years, three or four more students from very difficult homes were encouraged to go to college. Only one had the motivation to go. Currently, we know of two in college who are in need of help, and more who will graduate high school in the coming years. We have the opportunity to help Illichevsk break the cycle of poverty one child at a time. Currently, we have one student, V, who is in the nursing program at the medical college. The cost for one student to travel to Odessa and back (there is no dormitory system similar to the US) is about $42 a month, the cost of one taxi ride in some US cities. Currently, MUCH does not have the funds needed to help more than one student, but they are waiting.
J. begins vocal training.
At the Marganets orphanage, we support in a small way the Computer and the Music and Dance classes. The administration sees big results occurring in the children because of these two programs. MUCH sees the same results, but why are we convinced that the programs are of value for our support. We understand that music is a central focus in the lives of children and teens all over the world. More importantly, we look at the effects on the brain. Music stimulates the brain and is documented in many studies to have multiple effects on the body and mind. More information about music and its benefits can be found on the internet or in libraries.
J. is vocalist for the dance team.

Dance also has multiple values. It provides exercise, improves balance, flexibility, fluid movement, organized thought, team interaction, and more. Learning computer skills provides the obvious preparation for the work world and social media, but our focus is that it teaches the children to think using logic. Using the computer is an activity that requires the developing use of logic. We support these programs with a small contribution of $25 a month. It began as an incentive to the teachers to teach new programs. The manager recently gave us a wish list, which included $250 a year to buy material to make costumes and buy dance shoes, and $125 a year to buy new library books. Currently, MUCH does not have the funds to provide these materials. Watch J perform in national competition
Sisters struggle together.
The second focus is healthcare. We are concentrating on two types of help. The newest type provides funds for medical treatment of children in a village transition home. This is a small contribution, $37.50 per child for a hospital or Emergency Medical Service visit. To refill their medical box with total contents costs $62.50. This facility is only large enough to house 11 children. Since we began helping these children about five months ago, we provided all of the supplies for the medical box, which was empty. We helped two children recently, one needing an appendectomy and the second in need of an EMS visit because of her heart. This is a small program, but these children are very much in need of a program that can provide funds for medical treatment. We have a Ukrainian sponsor who is giving toward this need.

The second type of healthcare is our medical massage program. We have been providing massage treatment for children with disabilities for eight years. One massage currently costs $2.85. We manage five massage programs in three cities and one village. Twenty-one massage treatments are provided each day, costing $59.85, less, I believe, than the cost of one medical massage in America. Each month, we spend $1,197 on our massage program. There is NO overhead! The massage rooms that we use in each program are free to MUCH. The parents bring their own sheet and towel for their child, and the masseuses provide their own massage oils, if they use them in their style of treatment.

After receiving massage for my own minor disability, we began our massage program in 2004 with enough funds to give three children massage each day for a twenty-day treatment program. Our results have been very good since the beginning, and we have grown over the years. In Illichevsk, we have two programs totaling 12 children a day. In the village of Froonza, we provide four children massage each day. At the orphanage in Dobromel, we began a program in January for (4) children a day. When Sveta and I were there in April, the director was so excited about the results that he

A. battles Downs Syndrom with massage.

and his staff were seeing

in the children, that he wants to have a second masseuse to treat an additional four children. At the orphanage in Marganets, the manager is very pleased with the results that the doctor and her nurse are seeing. We discussed having a masseuse from the city community come and work with the children. This is another opportunity for us to expand our massage program.
In all of our massage programs, we are treating a maximum of 252 children a year. So, how many children with disabilities are within our radar? There are about 600 children in the three cities and one village who have disabilities that could benefit from massage. MUCH is limited in providing more services by a lack of funding. In the ten years that I have lived in Ukraine, MUCH has initiated new programs and caused them to grow. We want to continue to meet the needs of more children, but we want to see growth come along slowly but surely, as we have during this last decade. In order to grow, we must see new sponsorship.



Sveta’s Journey

Welcome to Dobromel, Mark!

We visited the Dobromel Orphanage at the time when many of the children who have family were going home for a short holiday. As we traveled toward the orphanage/boarding school, my heart began to sing a joyful song. After being away from my new little friends for six months, I wanted very much to see them again. Our visit with the children brought great joy to them. When we arrived, they came running to us, with hugs and kisses for us, asking, “Will you’ll be giving us a massage?” I replied, “We’ve come to visit you, to see how you are doing.” All the children were eager to receive massage. The week that we lived across from the boarding school, they asked me each day to give them a massage.
Natasha, the masseuse, is educated in Sports Medicine. She gives massage and children receive exercise training directly related to the focus of the massage. When these are combined, the results are very effective. One therapist cannot give massage to a large number of children. At this orphanage/ boarding school, virtually all children need massage.
We spoke with Lydia, the manager, and she enthusiastically talked about the great results that she saw in the children during the first four months of the program. The program of massage in this boarding school started working in January 2012, and even in such a short period, all of the teachers and educators have noticed the physical and psycho-emotional changes in children for the better. Hyperactive children were less excited and more relaxed, more attentive in class, and some even improved handwriting and posture.
The director, manager, Mark, and I are very pleased that the children have a wonderful opportunity to get a massage. The director has a vision to provide progress reports on the results of the massage program for Government authorities to obtain official permission to add a position for massage in the budget of the boarding school.
We brought pictures of children who were photographed in October during our past visit. They love to be photographed, so this time we took many pictures of them and they will be looking forward to our next visit when they will receive new pictures.
During this wonderful time spent with children, God gave me new eyes to see the children. My heart ached as tears fell from my eyes, such pain as if they were my own children. I do not know why God allows me to see, filled with compassion, the children’s hearts. Of course, I pray for them. While we are visiting them, I can hug them and give them my love. I ask myself this question: “What more can I do for the children; I only spend time with them twice a year?” Familiarity with these children helps me to see their needs and guides me how to pray for them. They are in your hearts and mine, and I know that these children are in the heart of God.
Thanks for your help! O.
O has a very sweet personality. You can see the smile on his face and the joy in his eyes. O has scoliosis and a deformity of his chest. Without massage and exercise treatment, his condition may become a more serious problem. In the February newsletter, you read about E, and saw the picture of his severe scoliosis and deformed chest. It is possible that without treatment, O could go in the same direction. MUCH is taking the time and making the effort to improve O’s life. Please help us to guide his health in a progressive direction.
M, a young girl, two years ago received an extensive burn on her back, abdomen, and parts of the upper arms. Together with other children, she ignited a fire to bake a potato, the fire burned low and the girl decided to pour
Massage helps me so much!
gasoline on the fire. Splashes of gasoline fell on her sweater, and it began to burn. M was scared, but her younger brother quickly realized that it was necessary to remove her sweater and he removed the burning sweater. Then, when she was brought to the hospital, the doctor said that it was very good that they removed the sweater; if it were not so, he would have had to remove the sweater with the skin. The girl showed us her post-burn scars. All the back and stomach wounds healed solid brown. After several days of massaging the skin, it became softer and more elastic. She is also in need for corrective surgery. M really likes when she receives massage. It also has very positive emotional effect for her.
Where else may all these children receive massage and the results of restoration of mental, emotional, and physical health? My prayer to Almighty God is for healing of mind, body, and soul for these children, for God’s mercy and salvation of their souls.
Many thanks to all of you that you keep praying for our MUCH children and financially supporting the work of all of our masseuses. God bless you!
Living my dream,
Sveta
We want to share more about the children at the Dobromel orphanage with you in the July Newsletter. Until then, please keep the children and us in your prayers. Thank you for reading!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

A Missionary

So, exactly what is a missionary? Webster defines this word as, “One sent to propagate religion.” In search of a good synonym for propagate, I found what I think is the best synonym. I like the word multiply. I like it better than reproduce. I think that reproduce may infer making more of the same. People are individuals, not clones. That is why I like multiply better.

There are many different kinds of missionaries, but each has been sent to multiply something. Webster says religion, but I think that may be too big of a concept. If you are a Christian missionary, are you multiplying Christianity as your denomination? Are you multiplying churches, as a church planter? Are you multiplying children’s ministries or youth ministries? Are you ministering to the elderly evangelically or humanitarianly? Exactly what is it that you are multiplying?

During the past six years, I have met a number of missionaries in the field. Our discussions were most interesting, revealing so much more about the personality and lifestyle of a missionary. And it seemed that each missionary was a bit different. Most were connected with a missionary organization, but there are some like me, who are independent of a major organization.
The definition begins by saying that a person is sent. I believe that a true missionary is first called. Being a missionary is not a job. Although many fill out an application and are accepted, in truth, it is not a job. If God has not called you to this life of selflessness, one will not find fulfillment, at least not as I define fulfillment.

With all of this in mind, I would like to redefine missionary. In my experience, a missionary is one who is called by God, sent by a church, organization, or God Himself, to multiply His love. Sometimes we can become distracted by life, but multiplying His love is the true calling of a missionary. I have learned this through my experiences. I have seen this, or recognized where it was missing. But most of all, I have felt the impact of His love as I move forward in His calling.

What the Children Need to Hear

Relationships have always been on my mind. Since I was a child, my own need for relationships was a major factor in my life. It was missing much of my childhood. When I interact with our children at the Emmaus Food Program, I see very similar needs in their lives.

They live in very difficult family situations. Some have two parents, some only have one. In each family, one or both parents are alcoholics or drug users. If family and peer group are the two greatest influences on their lives, then I would say that they have a bleak future waiting for them.

Emmaus provides a hot meal five days a week during the school year. The greater needs that Emmaus provides are spiritual direction, arts and crafts, sewing and knitting instruction, computer skills, and in general, a safe place to be after school.

Zoya manages these programs with a wonderful mothering heart. She loves the children and nurtures them, sometimes over a period of ten or eleven years. She has built great relationships with them. Unfortunately, she is locked into the limitations of that relationship. The children need other role models to look up to.

Recently, I published my first book, JC and Me, A Relationship, A Journey. You can find it at the AuthorHouse bookstore. Soon it will also be available to order from bookstores and other online websites. I have been thinking again about relationships and what I can share with the children during my talks that I have with them every second Friday.

This guided me to think about the children and another relationship that they are very much in need of understanding at this time in their life: sex. Mostly girls ages eleven to fourteen, they are ready to make big mistakes. So, I began a series of talks that will hopefully answer the questions that they are afraid to ask.

We began with looking at sex as a relationship, rather that something that is on a list of do’s and don’ts. I think that the girls were surprised, but I did have their full attention. They want answers, but don’t know what to ask. Sex is a subject that you just don’t talk about with adults, in their eyes.

I will be in America for two months, giving the girls a lot of time to think about this relationship. We will talk some more about it when I get back. I hope to influence their lives in very positive ways. Please pray for our children.