Category Archives: Early Intervention

August 2019

Hello family and friends,

Summer is coming to an end. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been informed. We are struggling through the mid 80s F and above. On the brighter side, the corn-on-the-cob is delicious this year. The fruit and vegetable in Ukraine are so abundant and tasty!

School begins here September 1. That reminds me, when you shop for school needs or holiday gifts, use smile.amazon.com to set up Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope for your choice of charity to generate donations with your Amazon purchases. You would be surprised how much your purchases help MUCH.

Mark’s Moments

Two years ago, Sveta and I, sitting separately on the bus, were returning from a visit to the “down town” of Mykolaiv. Two people in front of me got off and a young woman and six year old boy got on the bus and sat in front of me. Sasha was very animated and I began a conversation with him, understanding that he had communication problems. His mother, Julianna, apologetically turned to me and began to explain in Russian. I smiled and shook my head. I continued with Sasha. The second time that she spoke to me, I turned to Sveta and ask her to translate for me.

Sveta was shy and needed to be “motivated”. I asked her to tell Julianna about MUCH. We switched seats, and the two began a long conversation about Sasha. He is autistic. She would bring him across town, a one hour trip by bus, three times a week to receive a complex treatment that included massage therapy. They exchanged phone numbers. Julianna and Sasha got off the bus two stops before our stop.

A week later, Julianna called Sveta. Sveta gave her the phone number of Anya, one of our newest massage therapist. Giving in-home massage therapy, it was difficult a first, but Anya has a special way with children. That summer, Anya invited Sasha to the Capernaum summer camp. It was a great experience for him.

Two weeks ago, Sveta met up with Julianna, again on the bus. She told Sveta of the great love that Sasha has for Anya. Julianna also shared that Sasha is more communicable. He will attend second grade this year.

Julianna continued her story, now about her second child, Liza. She was born with dysplasia, and later could also not bend her knee. Her massage treatment began when she was six months old. Liza was one year and three months old when she began to walk. This wonderful event occurred after the third ten-day massage therapy treatment, combined with exercise.

Julianna and her husband are so grateful to MUCH and Anya for the results that their two children have. Sponsors and those who pray for our children, we thank you. Because of you, the future of this family has change in big ways. THANK YOU FOR BEING A SIGNIFICANT PART OF MUCH!

Sveta’s Journey

Oksana began to give massage therapy when these twins were two and a half months old. Masha and Natasha were born premature at 29 weeks, low weight, and were very weak. They were in intensive care and then in the hospital for 1.5 months. Masha was born with less weight than her sister, underwent heart surgery, and was weaker than Natasha. After the first course of massage, both sisters began to raise their heads while lying on their chests, hypertonicity decreased.

Now the twins are seven months old and Oksana has completed the second ten-day massage course for the sisters. She is using exercise also, to prepare them to crawl, and to move from a lying position to a sitting position. By the end of this second massage course, Masha and Natasha became physically stronger, the hypertonicity of the limbs was completely gone, they became more active and are trying to crawl.

Their parents are very pleased with the results of Oksana. The pediatrician also sees many positive changes after the massage treatment and expressed gratitude to Oksana. The next massage course is scheduled in two months. Parents received a task from Oksana of what exercises should be carried out for their daughters during this period. It is so wonderful to see the results! It brings joy to parents, Oksana and to us! Masha and Natasha, you fell into blessed hands!

Early intervention through massage treatment is one of the wonderful treatments that help to normalize the lives of children with developmental disabilities. It improves their quality of life and level of function. This treatment at an early age helps children keep pace with their peers increasing their chances of success in life. Thank you dear sponsors for investing in the future of the most vulnerable members of society, the children. God bless 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

 

July 2019

Hello family and friends,

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Mark’s Moments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

Some achievements of our little friends!

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

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

The heartbreaking story of Anna

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

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

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

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

You can Donate here

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

 

January 2018

Hello family and friends,

The Christmas fundraiser was a success!
We raised more than $4000 to help
four village schools and two Orphanages
Sveta and I are ecstatic!

Sveta has been busy connecting with the directors of the village schools. She wired the
money to each director or manager. They are in the process of ordering the educational
equipment to be put to use immediately. We will have receipts for every purchase soon.
Mark’s Moments
Take a look at our latest three videos. If you only have 6 minutes to spare, be sure to see our 2017 update video.
On our last visit to America, friends ask me if Ukraine is changing for the better. I say emphatically, “Yes.” Here is a current article that suggests that corruption is under attack. In Ukraine, a Successful Fight for Justice, Then a Murder It is not a pleasant story, but it does show that truth is what Ukraine is moving toward. Corruption is on the way out.

It is interesting to read how some journalists represent Ukraine. This article about the new police force in Ukraine is not exactly 100% correct. Read the comments at the bottom of this link page. I have lived in Ukraine for 15 years and I have watched change take place in different cities. I see the new young police force in our city. I see a generation of young people who want to change their country. When you read about Ukraine, challenge everything. With fake news and propaganda hackers, we must test the sources of all that we read.

I think that this article helps me, someone with high hopes for Ukraine, to better understand why the anti-corruption programs are not moving forward faster and better. Bringing about change in a country the size of Ukraine is not easy. What I found most interesting was how it seems that the Oligarchs have more control of the country than the government. MUCH continues to operate without any interference for any organization. It seems that the needs that MUCH meets will remain.
We see problems of corruption in Ukraine on different levels of government. Last year, a disgruntled employee anonymously brought false changes against a direct of an orphanage. The investigation went on for about 6 months. The director was found innocent of all charges. The orphanage is in Western Ukraine, very pro Ukrainian.
Currently, the director of a school that we have been working with for three years is in a similar
situation. This time, someone wants her job. After all possible complaints have been proven false, one was made up. We sent a letter in support of the director to the proper authority. It was returned to us, explaining that it was written in an incorrect format. The school pro Ukrainian, is in eastern Ukraine, influenced by pro Russian sympathizers in government. And the beat goes on.
Sveta’s Journey
Very often doctors are in a hurry to prescribe antibiotics for a child or a shock dose of treatment to relieve themselves of responsibility. If doctor prescribes a “weak” medication for a child or one that has “slow-effect,” it will have mild results. When this happens, it appears that the doctor is not so qualified. I saw it when our grandchildren were ill. The parents requested the doctor to make a house call. He prescribed antibiotics without knowing the results of the previous tests.
When Sasha was three months old, the doctor diagnosed him with dysplasia of the hip joints. If
treatment did not begin on time, pathology of the musculoskeletal system and even disability could occur. The doctor ordered the child be put in special stirrups, and remain in this apparatus for five months. The mother of the child decided to try another treatment, to begin a massage therapy treatment.
Oksana, our massage therapist in Mykolaiv, gave Sasha two
ten-day courses of massage therapy. Oksana and Sasha’s mother saw positive results. The baby’s legs were symmetrically and painlessly spread in both directions. After seeing these results, Sasha’s mother visited the doctor for a new evaluation. The doctor confirmed that the baby’s dysplasia of his hip joints was corrected. He made a new diagnosis and
cancelled his recommendation of needing stirrups.
A second similar story occurred with a four-year-old girl, named Victoria.
The child was repeatedly sick. Obstructive bronchitis of an allergic and
infectious nature lowered her immunity system. The main problem was shortness of breath and a clear lack of oxygen. The girl was regularly treated by a pulmonologist and took antibiotics quite often.
This time, when the doctor prescribed antibiotics for Victoria, her mother decided to delay using them. She decided to turn to our massage therapist Tanya and her child received a 10-day massage therapy course of drainage massage and massage to correct her spine. It was an unpleasant procedure. During the massage treatment the girl cried. Unfortunately, the pain was necessary.

Such a hard massage therapy is necessary in her situation and because of it, we saw good results. When in the middle of the massage course mother with Victoria visited the doctor, the doctor was surprised when he listened to the baby’s lungs. Her breathing improved. Chryps, the wheezing, decreased. The doctor said that antibiotics were no longer needed. How wonderful! Victoria did not need antibiotics! Massage therapy was the correct procedure for this illness!
We are so very grateful that God opened the door of massage therapy for Mark thirteen years ago. Because of his need and success, hundreds of children have been treated with positive results. Mark and I are thrilled to be a part of this and see the results!
Living my dream,
Sveta
Our goal for 2018 is to find more monthly sponsors to maintain and grow our massage therapy and Transportation Scholarship programs. The village school projects will continue as once a year fundraiser. There is so much to do here in Ukraine. God’s timing and your compassionate support will move us forward.

Thank you friends of MUCH!
You can see all of our videos at our Youtube site:
http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

July 2017

Hello family and friends,

Sveta and I are working on many projects as the summer races by. Our eight-year-old grandchild, Sonya, enjoys helping Sveta harvest the onions and green beans. I am making progress on the exterior insulation. The other morning I went to the church that we attend and help stack wood for the winter heating system. We have a circulating hot water heated floor system. The cost of gas is too high, so few years ago, the church turned to wood heating.

Mark’s Moments

In last month’s newsletter, I shared some of the process of how MUCH has grown over the past fifteen years. On a more personal and spiritual level, the grassroots process is like this. I listen for the voice of God. When I am clear that it is His voice, His direction, then I do what He says.

Last year, God put three more village schools on my heart to assist with their education needs. Sveta and I investigated each school, talked with the director, and evaluated the need. We looked at the physical condition of the school, the classrooms, and the floors, to understand the governments lack of interest in the school, and the administration and teachers interest in the school.

In each of these three schools, it was clear that the teachers were investing what they could, to do the best that they could for the students. Unfortunately, the teachers don’t make enough money to make a significant contribution.

Will the next Galileo come from a Ukrainian village? Let’s invest in them and find out! This may be a three year project for each school. Fortunately, MUCH has funds to begin the project. Our first provision will be for September 1,2017. Please begin to pray for the success of these projects.

Here are some details that may help you understand the common needs that we find is each village school.

Northwest Ukraine, on the border of Poland — Migovo Village School

 

 

 

 

 

This is the building for the high school children. There are four or five classrooms in this building. If you walk further up the hill behind me, you will see Poland. — In this Chemistry classroom, the director of the school stands toward the front of the class.

The teacher who approached me about help for this school was very shy to talk with me. When she finally got up the courage to ask for help, she only asked for one computer, their greatest need. We talked some more, and Sveta and I agreed to visit the school the following day. We rode in an old car on dirt roads that were peppered with potholes.

When we visited the chemistry class, we learned that nothing had been updated or provided since Soviet times, at least twenty-six years ago. Two new windows and four desks were provided by the directors relative as a gift. The government has done nothing for this school.

South central Ukraine, northeast of our city of Mykolaiv — Shostakovo Village School

 

Between Sveta and I stands the director of the Shostakovo school. To the right of Sveta is Dasha, the first grade teacher. This school of about seventy children is a little better than Migovo. They do have a computer. The Chemistry class at this school is a big room with some technology, but no chemicals to do experiments. The gymnasium is in the “dungeon” of the school. They need sports equipment and some items as simple as jump rope. When we visited in early spring, it was very cold in the gymnasium.

I talked to the director about resurfacing the blackboards with blackboard paint. I asked if they would do a test blackboard. She looked at me with big eyes and said, “We will be happy to do it over the summer.” This school is focusing on building maintenance in the following way. At the end of last school year, the parents of each class pooled their money to buy a new door for their children’s classroom. The parents of Dasha’s first grade class of six students needed outside assistance to come up with the money for their classroom door. Dasha uses her personal computer to inspire her class.

South east central Ukraine, north of Marganets — Maximovka Village School

I first visited this school a number of years ago to talk with the children in the English class. The teacher was my translator at the time, and is now our manager in Marganets. This young woman was very aggressive about creativity for her English classes.

Dissatisfied with the English material available, Inna created her own English study book and teachers manual. Some of the teachers bring their personal computers to enhance the classroom experience.

On our last visit, I talked with the director about the education equipment needs of the school. She showed us the school, stopping in different classes in progress. It was clear that the school was not a big concern of the local government. The Chemistry class was in need of chemicals for experiments, like the other schools.

Each class on every grade level is in need of many items of education equipment and materials. It was that way with Marganets School #3 and Ternava schools that MUCH has helped in the past. This is why MUCH always has children waiting for help, whether in education or healthcare. The government is in a state of change, as is the country.

It seems that the needs are pretty much the same wherever we go. Decentralization of the government is bringing control of spending to the local government. We are seeing road repair happening, but education does not seem to be such a great need.

I see change happening in Ukraine, although it is slow. The Ukraine Economic Update – April 2017 by the World Bank shows progress of the Ukrainian economy. The article and video at the bottom are very informative.

Sveta’s Journey

In Chornomorsk, Dr. Natalia continues to show progress with the children providing wonderful results. Mark and I watched how the children worked at following all the instructions of the massage therapist and coach with great desire. Children want to walk and run as other children do. They want to be with other children in kindergarten and go to school. They want to draw and do everything that healthy children can do. We see a huge thirst in their eyes and they are ready to work to change their lives. But they need help and encouragement from their parents and others. Thank all of you for helping the children in an invisible way. God sees your works of mercy through MUCH.

Last month, the parents of six-year-old George, carried him to the clinic to receive massage therapy. The boy has cerebral palsy, increased spasm in the legs, and he cannot walk on his own. After a 15-day course of massage therapy, ozocerite (black wax) applications, and special physical training, the spastic action in his muscles decreased. George can now walk a short distance using both hands for support! This was the first course of massage therapy for him. Dr. Natalia sees that the boy has a positive dynamic and it is necessary to continue receiving massage therapy. Thank you Dr. Natalia for your passion to help children.

For five-year-old Ann with the diagnosis of cerebral palsy, massage therapy began in January 2016. During this time the girl received nine courses of massage therapy. To date, Ann is already confidently sitting in an Indian pose with a flat back. She is sitting on balance board that rocks from side to side. You can see the difficulty for her to stay sitting upright. Day by day, Ann is painfully making progress.

She grasps objects very well with her right hand, but her left hand does not open so well yet. Ann has decreased the tone of tense muscles and her speech significantly improved. In this picture her task is to raise the bar with both hands to the level that Valya requests. The exercise program that parallels the massage therapy and other treatments is one big key to Ann’s progress.

 

Do you remember when your child began to crawl? The natural process begins at about seven months old. This is not the case for many of the children that we work with. Ann is five-years-old and must be taught the process. Valya is breaking down the activity into steps. Put this hand here first, then move this knee here …

Thank you sponsors for helping make this treatment possible for Ann!

Parents are deeply grateful that their children have the opportunity to receive a massage therapy!

Living my dream,

Sveta

One of our massage therapists may retire in the near future. We ask for your prayers for provision of her replacement.

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 2013 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,

July brought sunny weather and many guests. It was very pleasant to visit with family and friends. The August evenings are becoming cool, but the days remain hot. I look forward to September 1, which will bring an immediate change of season, and the first day of school for the children.

Our midyear fundraiser was successful. Thanks, to the many MUCH sponsors who came to our aid. With the 500 + children that we serve, we have a big budget.

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Excursion to the Geographical
Center of Europe
This part of Ukraine is the
center of east/west Europe

What happens to the children of the orphanages during the summer months? They go to camp! There are many government-owned camps remaining from Soviet times. The children are sent to camp according to age groups. This year, Natasha, the massage therapist at the Dobromel orphanage, and her seven year old daughter went to camp with the children. It was a great time for all!

 

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Each week had a theme. One week was devoted to sports activities. Other weeks provided excursions, picnics, and climbing in the mountains of Carpathia. The children visited a shallow lake where they participated in the popular mud bath. Can’t you imagine the fun the children had smearing liquid mud over each other.

(Something that I missed in school was understanding that Russia is part of eastern Europe. The Ural Mountains, Ural River, and the Caucasus Mountains are the geographical land border of the eastern edge of Europe.)

Sveta’s Journey

Natalya B. is one of our massage therapists in Illichevsk. She uses multiple massage techniques combined with special exercises and medical equipment. Her individual approach for each child and her great love that she projects toward her little patients achieves great results.

Ivan is 2.5 years old and he has Cerebral Palsy. This child was born with a severe disability, with asphyxia and was in intensive care three months. Doctors said that the child was hopeless and advised parents to give him to the Baby House for children with severe disabilities. However, the parents did not agree with the predictions of doctors and took their child home. Up to age six months, the boy did not focus on or follow an object with his eyes. He could not roll over from back to stomach, and back again, and could not do what healthy children at this age do.

After three twenty-day courses of massage, when Ivan was one-and-a-half years old, he got up on all fours and began to crawl and to sit without support, but he still could not walk.

P1010014 - CopyA

Ivan wears the “Adele” suit

To date, after regular massage courses, Ivan has good progress: he can walk with the support of adults holding one hand, and he speaks elementary words. He is a very sociable and outgoing child. Contrary to the predictions of doctors, this child lives, grows, and develops!

Natalya B. has worked with him since he was three months old. Along with massage, she uses other devices, one which is the “Adele” suit.

 

This medical costume has adjustable elastic straps that create resistance for the muscles. This suit creates a muscular skeletal framework that holds the limbs in the correct position for movement. While wearing this medical costume, Ivan develops new reflexes and activates cells in the motor center of the brain. This improves the ability to achieve movement, coordination, and even speech. It is amazing!

To see our video of these two children, click here.

P1010062 - Copy (3)AThe second child, Jan, who receives massage therapy from Natalya B. is a wonderful girl. About two years ago, Mark and I first visited the family when they moved to Illichevsk. We wrote about her in the February 2012 newsletter. Jan could not roll over or hold her head upright. Her parents do everything possible that can be done to help their child: regular massage courses with special passive exercise, stimulation training on a horse, medication, and one time they took Jan to the Dolphinarium. It takes much time and money. Her parents have a huge appreciation for your help. Thank you MUCH sponsors for your financials support. They are very grateful and gave us a video where Jan swims with dolphins.

After two year of massage treatment, Jan began to hold her head up. She can turn her head, and follows moving objects with her eyes. She responds to voice, can do some voluntary movement, and has improved posture. Jan’s parents are immensely happy seeing these results. We saw tears in her mother’s eyes when she told us about her daughter.

Again, please accept this big appreciation from the parents and from us. Mark and I are very thankful that you support us as missionaries in the Ukraine. Let God’s blessings abundantly come into your life! God bless you!

Living my dream,
Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site

Most times that Sveta and I visit a child receiving massage at his or her home or in one of the clinics, I am overwhelmed by the hope that I see in the eyes of the parents or grandparents. Progress is slow, but the parents are so hopeful for their children. They thank you, the children thank you, and we thank you for your loving support.

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

August 2012 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,

It has been hot recently, in the mid 90s. But, then again, it is summer. Sveta has coaxed me to swim in the sea a few times this summer. The water has had a cool temperature, just right for swimming. The ½-mile long beach has been packed with vacationers from Western Europe and Russia. The Illichevsk beach remains free, although it has become very commercialized. There are many ways to spend your money.
My focus this summer is to write articles on Sveta’s and my blog about the education needs of the children. My series begins with “What About Education? – Intro,” and, if you are on the Internet, you can find it in the second article, Wednesday July 11, on this page http://tinyurl.com/bqevdjv. With each article, I am building the foundation of environment and need of the children in Ukraine. This series will come to a conclusion soon, and will be followed with a series on Health Care and how MUCH is involved.
MUCH is not an organization created to educate the children of Ukraine. It is our intent to evaluate what is current, and be a catalyst for inspiration or change to create opportunity that will improve the options of the children. Here in Illichevsk, our Transportation Scholarship Program (TSP) does this. Our long-term goal is to alter society through education. Our focus is not to teach our thoughts and beliefs, but rather to encourage and challenge the children to continue on to higher education that is already waiting for them.
I believe that this will break the cycle of poverty, giving the teenagers a bigger picture of what is available for them to do with their lives. With a picture of something more than their past lives and how they were raised, these teens will not only have the opportunity for higher education, but will realize that there are people who care enough about their future to help them. Some of the teens who do want this are not able to afford the transportation to and from Odessa every day. That amount is about $2.50 a day for an hour of travel each way! Imagine that!
In Marganets, the staff and administration are committed to the 156 children in their orphanage. It is government-run, but this one is operated so much better than others in Ukraine are. Their focus is to challenge the children to find their highest abilities and excel. For some of the children, these areas are in computer or music and dance. MUCH believes that these classes are preparing the children for their futures in a bigger perspective, developing thought processing and new patterns of thinking, which were touched on in the June Newsletter.
A third course of study that MUCH supports in Marganets is provided by a local church. In the beginning, we asked them to meet with the children and teach about morality and self- respect, with a focus on prevention of drug and alcohol abuse. For children in an orphanage system, this can be the biggest influence on their lives. Taught by loving teachers, the children can develop character that will carry them through the difficult times that they will face in their futures.
MUCH has been influencing the lives of children in Ukraine in these ways for six years. Our desire is to expand our education programs and inspire the teachers to do more. The government is not likely to add to the budget, so MUCH sponsorship may be the only way to express to the teachers that we care about what they do.

Several months have passed since we met with the parents and their daughter, A., in their home. This time, while visiting the massage clinic and the doctor/masseuse Natasha B., Mark and I saw good results from A. Her parents give a lot of attention to the child. Four times a year A. is being treated in a children’s multi-therapy clinic called “Golden Angel” in Odessa. She receives medical treatment and massage therapy, and during the summer, the parents bring A. daily to an Equine Therapy program near the town, where she rides a horse in a small walking circle.

Sveta’s Journey

Contact with the horse gives A. many positive emotions, helps relax her spastic muscles, and builds tone in her legs. Contact with the horse warms up the muscles and joints of the legs and pelvis, and also develops coordination. The girl is very patient and she is accustomed to numerous procedures, training, and massage. Her parents are actively involved with the child at home. They use a special suit that holds the muscles of the extremities in the correct position. We reported on A. in the February Newsletter that she could not raise her head. During this visit, she is able to raise her head and hold it in a raised position for a count of 60 seconds or more. This is great progress.
D., an eight- and-a-half year old, is a very interesting and clever girl. She is an extraordinary child! When she learned that Mark would be at her massage treatment, and that he would be taking pictures of her, she carefully prepared for the meeting. She wore her best dress, jewelry, and her grandma braided her hair beautifully. D. met Mark about 4 years ago, and she loves him very much. When it came time to say goodbye, it was clear that D. did not want to part with Mark.

She has Cerebral Palsy, but she goes to a regular school and has almost no free time. She regularly receives massage treatments and visits a dance choreographer for lessons in stretching muscles. The stretching exercise is very hard work for her. Currently, D. is interested in working with beads. She showed us her work, a beautiful bracelet for her wrist. D. loves animals, especially horses and dreams of working with them in her future.


Two years ago, D. underwent surgery to lengthen the muscles in her left heal cord and her right hamstring, behind her knee. Before, she could stand only on her toes. After the operation, she is now able to stand with her foot almost entirely flat on the floor. She receives a single injection of a medication called Disport, to relieve spasticity of her leg muscles once or twice a year, depending on the results. It costs 1500 grevnya ($187.50) per dose for her. Currently, MUCH is not involved with the cost of this injection treatment.

It is very important when doctors and parents notice the child’s deviation from the norm in infancy. Actions taken in time, especially before the child reaches the age of one year, can greatly alter the development of the baby. M. began receiving massage treatments when he was one month of age. He is now 1 year and 8 months. During this time, his muscle tone has been restored. His mother is delighted with the good results, and understands the importance of massage for him.

V. (right) has hemi-paresis, and he began to receive massage at the age of three months. Now he is two years and four months old. During this time, he has received massage treatments and also has good results.
Our hearts were saddened when we learned the story of this next boy. I. (below) has a very rare disease and has already suffered a complicated surgery to remove his colon. Mark and I visited him at home. I. is now a patient of our masseuse, Tanya. The doctor caring for I. has prescribed
massage as mandatory. He states that it is very necessary to receive massage as an important means to help restore the function of his body. He is a beautiful child!

Thanks for your help! You are sincere and good people. You are well aware of the complexity of situations and in the past have been ready to provide much needed assistance. Charity is one of the most important works in society. With your help, needy children receive timely assistance and can always count on your support. People involved in charity, by helping others, get moral satisfaction from their work.

Living my dream,

Sveta

You will be hearing more about our efforts toward education and health care as we enter the fall season. MUCH is made up of many different people. I am only one here in Ukraine who moves things forward. There are thirty-one people of Ukraine, in three cities and two villages, who are involved to some degree in making the work of MUCH happen. In America, the MUCH board of directors guides my financial decisions here in Ukraine, and the sponsors of MUCH make it possible to carry out the work that God guides me to do. Finally, but equally important, are those who lift us up in prayer in America and here in Ukraine. The children thank you all!

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta