Category Archives: Massage for children with disabilitiees

May 2020

Hello family and friends,

Mark’s Moments

I believe that it was in 2007 that I was introduced to the Dobromel Orphanage for Children with Mental and Physical Disabilities. For three years, once a year, I would visit the orphanage with a pastor from Borislav. His daughter translated for us. He had a passion for children, but especially for these.

I was uncertain what my purpose was to be with these children. By 2009, I heard God directing me to begin massage therapy for the children at the Dobromel Orphanage. I met with the director in the fall and I explained the opportunity that we were providing in two other locations in Ukraine. I told him that he would need to find someone who was, or was interested in becoming a massage therapist. He agreed to the task.

 

My next journey to Dobromel was in fall of 2010. Before the meeting, I was introduced to Natalya M. who would be the massage therapist at the orphanage. Anatoly translated my conversation with the director as we discussed the exam table that would be used as a massage table. During the meeting, I explained what I expected the results of massage therapy would be, related to the results of our previous six years of massage therapy in Chornomorsk. I continued to explain that Natalya M. was invited to come to Chornomorsk to train with one of our massage therapists for a week. Finally, I promised to send Sveta, who was my fiance at the time, to the orphanage to give a twenty-day demonstration with the children. The goal was that the director and Natalya M. would see “some” results after the twenty days. They did!

Natalya M. had a degree in Sports Medicine which included some training in massage therapy. She was well qualified to do the work. But in her heart she questioned whether she would be happy working with these children, many who had difficult personalities. Within no time, she was seeing results with many of the children. The big story is how this opportunity changed her heart, her life. For the last eight years, Natalya has been creating new approaches to wholistic change, earned her Masters Degree in Speech Therapy, started a specialized approach to massage therapy for children with emotional disorders, and blossomed the personalities of the children.

She has written many thank you letters to MUCH over the years. This month, Natalya M. wrote Sveta and me a very warm thank you letter. We would like to share it with you.

“It’s just not enough to say thank you! By your actions: letters, phone calls and visits, you say that you are close, always close. It means so much to me to know that you are thinking of the children and me. And so it becomes pleasant and warm to know that the expression “Who needs other people’s children?” is not what you are about. Your hearts go out to all children in need.

Thanks to your help, a large number of children are able to fully walk the paths of their lives. For them, being healthy means being happy! This gift of massage therapy services is a great contribution. I see it in the eyes of our children shining with happiness!

Thank you for being able to share love with those who lack it on this
earth.

May the Lord give you peace, harmony and love.
Everything you do is an unforgettable gift to our children.
On behalf of the children and myself, I sincerely thank you
and our sponsors!

P.S. Children are waiting for your visit!”

Do you shop at Amazon on the internet? Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service. Support your charitable organization by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com This is a great way to support MUCH.

Sveta’s Journey

For the third year now, Misha and his family have been fighting for his health. While pregnant with Misha, his mother and father were in a car accident. This resulted in his premature birth.

In the doctors efforts to save his life, they gave Misha more oxygen than he needed, and this lead to the rupture of one of his lungs. Misha also had brain swelling.

During three years, Dr. Natalya and her team worked with Misha, use multiple therapies to bring life and new direction to his brain, anatomy and organs. Massage, medical exercises, speech therapy, special training are some of the therapies that help Misha achieve results in his physical and mental development.

In 2017, Misha received a 20-day course of therapies in October and December. He received nine courses of therapies in 2018. Last year, 2019, he received seven courses of therapies treatments.

He is able to support himself on hands and knees, and tries to sit with support! Misha stands in a veticalizer that supports him vertically. Misha can reach for toys and do other things while in the vertivalizer. His muscle tone has improved.

On Facebook, Misha’s mother always keeps friends in the know, so that they can enjoy the achievements of the parents and the child and those who help him.

Misha is a very cheerful and hardworking child. He is always wearing a smile. He tries his best to help the instructor work with him. His thirst for life and perseverance is already visible in the character of this little boy!

I think that Misha and his parents are a great example for others. They demonstrate how not to lose heart but to go forward with faith. Parents are very grateful to everyone who helps Misha!


Sponsors, thank you for bringing massage therapy and the complex of treatments into Misha’s life! Dr. Natalya brought her skills to MUCH in 2004. She has been developing her specialized team to work with children who have severe disabilities.

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

Please Donate

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

January 2020

Hello family and friends,

Sveta and I wish you a happy and holy new year. May 2020 give you direction, new adventures, compassion for others, and love that will lead your every step of each day.

We would like to begin the year with a story of hope. Jana, a mother of two boys with cerebral palsy, would not give up her search for treatment for her children. Here is her story.

Sveta’s Journey

Dan and Nik

The journey of six-year-old twins, Dan and Nik, has been a long one. Dan and Nik had a difficult birth. Both children were diagnosed with cerebral palsy of varying degrees.

For six years, Jana, the boys’ mother, has been taking her boys to every hospital, and medical and rehabilitation center that she could find. Throughout Ukraine, her experience was that each doctor and massage therapist treated her boys with the same systematic approach. They read the diagnosis, and prescribed the same treatment for the child without ever touching the child. Can you imagine the single mindedness of this post-soviet medical system?

Finally, after six years of searching for a better approach, Jana heard about “ФИЗРУК-Центр”, the facility in Chornomorsk, founded by MUCH’s Dr. Natalia. She called and set up an appointment for evaluation and treatment. Jana, Dan, and Nik, living three hundred and fifty miles east of Chornomorsk, set out on their adventure. After traveling in a couple of buses, the twelve hour over-night train, and more busses and a taxi, they arrived at “ФИЗРУК-Центр”! They were hopeful that they would find better answers here.

From the first visit with Dr. Natalia, Jana was impressed by the integrated and individual approach that the doctor had with each of her sons. The massage therapy that Dr. Natalia does is radically different from the massage therapy that Dan and Nik received in other institutions designed to treat children with cerebral palsy.

Dr. Natalia even takes into account subtleties such as: If she puts Dan on the massage table, his arms and legs will be involuntarily bent, his body muscles will be contracted and strained even more. In this position, doing massage therapy, stretching muscles or exercising joints will not have any effect. Dan is afraid of heights, even the height of the massage table. The child is fearful of many things. Fear increases the spasticity in his muscles even more. When he is on Natalia’s lap, he is calm, and she can work effectively with him. Therefore, after she found a position where Dan’s muscles were relaxed as much as possible, she proceeded with the massage therapy treatment. In this position, it is also easier to twist his spine side to side. Dan has a unique response to positioning. Dr. Natalia can cause a reaction by putting him in a certain position.
One specific therapy that Dr. Natalya is using is a preventative therapy for Dan’s feet. She is working on muscles of Dan’s feet and toes to avoid the development of high arched foot.

Nik, Dan’s brother, became friends with Natalia from the first day. After massage therapy and special exercises, he was busy collecting beans in a bowl. He also showed us how he can stand on his own. Nik was very happy to show us what he was capable of doing!

The boys’ mother shared with us her pain. She could not hold back her tears. For six years, she has been fighting for the future of her sons. We cannot fully understand her pain and the difficulties of her search for treatment for her sons. But we can support her, Dan, and Nik, with our prayers and finance.

Thank you for helping children such as Dan and Nik, and many others! See their two minute video here.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Mark’s Moments

Our Christmas fundraiser results were $1900. I had hoped for more, but maybe I didn’t explain our fundraiser very well. We anticipate our total monthly budget for 2020 to be $2,391.60 per month. My goal was to try to raise as much as possible for the massage therapy program. Beginning in March, we will have fourteen active massage therapists. The anticipated three more in a new location are not in the budget.

The MUCH goal for the massage therapy program may be different in the big picture than I have expressed in the past. I have stated previously that we want to provide examples for the people of Ukraine to reach out and care for their own people. My specific goals are playing out in the way. We provide funds to train massage therapists. Once trained, they practice their new skills with friends and family, building ability and confidence.

As they practice massage therapy, word of mouth advertisement begins, also sharing that they are interested in working with special needs children. MUCH helps with partial payment for four special needs children per month. In private practice, massage therapists can work out of their own homes, but for special needs children, home visits are preferred. Our massage therapists need more than what MUCH provides, so they charge the parents for the balance. The massage therapists working in the orphanages are limited to MUCH payment, but are encouraged to develop their own private practice.

Our goal of four children with special needs per month allows each massage therapist to build a clientele of four additional full paying clients. Depending on the energy level of the massage therapist, one could presumably treat sixteen clients in a month. If they receive a ten day massage treatment, eight clients for each ten day treatment, times two equals sixteen clients in twenty days.

What does this additional business have to do with MUCH? We are not only involved in bringing healthcare to children with special needs. We are inspiring entrepreneurism in heath-care service. MUCH is opening doors that are changing the face of Ukraine, one massage therapist at a time.

Most of the families that we help with our partial payments have big financial needs for their children’s medical treatment. Your contribution is a big help for the family. You are not solving their problem, but you are helping them on their way. “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat.” (Matthew 25:35)

Thank you so much for your contributions. If you don’t contribute, please consider what $22 a month will mean for a child with a disability in an orphanage. MUCH serves children with disabilities in three orphanages and a transition home: Dobromel, Veleeky Lubin, Stepovoya, and Marganets. Your $22 gift will provide a ten-day massage treatment for one child! Thank you! The children thank you!

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

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

November 2019

Hello family and friends,

We wish everyone the happiest of holidays this
Thanksgiving and Christmas Season!

God continues to show us the great needs of
children with disabilities throughout Ukraine.

We will add 6 therapists to our team in 2020, totaling 17.

Our goal is to raise funding for the

17 therapists to work for 12 months!

Our Christmas Fundraiser for 2019 is to raise $18,000!

We Need Your Help!

Donate Here

OR

Make your checks to:
Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope (MUCH)
488 Hiatts Drive
Greensboro, NC 27455

 

We continue to expand our Massage Therapy Program. Our eleven therapists work in four cities and two villages. We introduced Oksana in the October Newsletter. She is training to work in our district of Mykolaiv.

 

 

Two more, Nadya and Alla, begin training in Odessa to work in a third village, Ovidiopol, west of Chornomorsk.

 

 

 

 

Where are we working in Ukraine?

 

 

 

 

 

Which Massage Therapists serve children in which cities or villages?

Dobromel 1 Natalya M
Veleeky Lubin 1 Igor
Ovidiopol +2 Alla and Nadya
Chornomorsk 3 Natalya B, Ira O, and Tanya
Mykolaiv 3 +1 Anya, Tanya, Oksana V, Oksana K
Stepovoya 2 Ira and Natasha
Marganets 1 Albina

Donate

October 2019

Hello family and friends,

When you shop for school needs or holiday gifts, use smile.amazon.com to set up Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope for your choice of a charity to generate donations with your Amazon purchases. This year Amazon has donated $841.27 to Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope. That has provided 20 days of massage therapy for 33 children. You can make a difference for the children of MUCH by shopping smile.amazon.com!

Sveta and I have returned to Ukraine. It was a pleasure to meet with family, friends, and sponsors in North Carolina and Florida. We talked with many people, learning about their lives sharing about ours. We even had the opportunity to talk by phone with a mother in Mexico about her child.

Mark’s Moments

About ten years ago, a good friend gave me a book titled, “The Boy From Baby House 10”. While visiting Paul and Kay in America, we were discussing the topic of the Baby Houses in Ukraine. I brought up the title of John Lahutsky’s book, “The Boy From Baby House 10”. Alan Philps, a British newspaper correspondent in Moscow, co-authored this book about John, living in the Baby House (orphanage for birth to age 6) for eight years of his life. His story is one of abandonment to rescue, adoption, and success. If you want to read Alan and John’s book, follow one of the title links above. Also, John’s book is available at the Greensboro Public library, and probably other libraries, too!

After reading this book, Paul commented, “As an American, it is difficult for me to believe that such places could even exist, and that people could allow handicapped children to be placed in warehouses where they receive little or no stimulation or care.”

I have not visited a Baby House yet, but Sveta and I have it in our plans for November. Our goal is to bring massage therapy to the infants and young children. Their need for touch, hugs, and kind words are very basic needs. They are overlooked because child to care-taker ratio is poor. We have seen great changes take place in the orphanages. I think that the changes in the Baby Houses will be even better.

Massage Therapy Training

Our newest massage therapist in training, Oksana, is the mother of two girls. She works in a textile factory. Her husband is self employed as a remodeler.

Massage therapy is giving her new focus in her life, but more importantly, she can now touch lives. Her work will directly effect the children who receive massage therapy. Indirectly, she will change the lives of the child’s family, and local community. Through all of this, Oksana’s life will blossom into something new. And this will effect her family.

We met with her the other day and she is very excited about this opportunity!

Sveta’s Journey

In September, new children arrived at the Dobromel Orphanage. Our MUCH massage therapist, Natasha, was introduced to the children. As they talked, she evaluated them, beginning to understand their character. Using massage to relax body and soul, Natasha moves on, using exercise, games and the lighted sandbox table, to rebuild the child’s self image, and general psyche.

Natasha is developing her education beyond Sports Medicine. Her work with these children requires more understanding. She wears many hats interacting with the bodies and souls of these precious ones. She is a massage therapist. Other times she interacts as speech therapist, psychologist, exercise specialist, and even artist and friend. Natasha fills the children with love and other good things, helping them to blossom like a flower in the spring time.

Alex

Ten-year-old Alex struggled with fear and poor self image. So much has already shaped him before arriving at the orphanage; undoing the damage is not an issue. Our therapists must rebuild the child. After a month of therapy, Alex’s teachers spoke to Natasha with great joy. They shared about the changes they saw. Now their job is to nurture those changes, helping him establish a new character, a new inner being. The teachers requested that Natasha continue to work with Alex with the full complex of therapies.

Nick

Nick is in 1st grade. In September, he arrived at the Dobromel Orphanage/school with a diagnosis of mild mental retardation and poor posture. Nick is active. He likes to communicate. He is enthusiastic about physical exercises, especially with musical accompaniment. For a month, Natasha gave Nick a massage treatment to correct posture. Particular massage was used to correct pronunciation, since the boy does not speak very clearly. At the end of the massage course, Nick’s posture was corrected and his speech improved.

Anya

Anya is in 2nd grade. Her personality is very closed. The psychologist recommended that she receive massage treatment. Because Anya had attacks of aggression and uncontrollability, Natasha worked with Anya in a playful way. Thanks to Natasha and her massage treatment, the girl has changed. There is no more aggression and she found friends. Anya’s breathing returned to normal, her chest mobility improved, and stagnant lung phenomena and sputum production were eliminated.

Stas

Stas also began in September. His diagnosis was scoliotic posture and mild mental retardation. When Natasha took him to receive massage therapy, she saw a terrible picture. His back muscles were very weak. His chest was sunken. Natasha’s job was to interest the boy in attending massage sessions, as he was very shy and did not want to take off his clothes. She started with finger games. After which he agreed to massage and to perform physical exercises to strengthen muscles.

After a month-long course of massage therapy, Stas’s coordination of movements improved and a more precise walking gait and running form appeared. His endurance and strength of the muscles of the back has increased. He can now hold his spine in a more correct position. The problem with his chest still remains. Natasha continues her work with Stas!

“… serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

Living my dream,

Sveta
Thank you, readers and sponsors, for making these life-changing treatments possible. Without you, none of this would happen. God is working through your hearts and your wallets to improve the lives of more than 40 children every month. Thank you for answering His call!

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

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

 

June 2019

Hello family and friends,

We have been making plans for our trip to America. Five family members and friends have opened their home to us. We still need a place to stay from September 29 through October 3. As soon as a gracious host opens their door for those dates, we can buy tickets while the prices are still low. Thank you in advance!

Mark’s Moments

Stepovoya

On Friday our Pastor and his wife took us to the Stepovoya village orphanage for boys with disability. They brought clothing for the children. Sveta and I went to check up on our newest massage therapists, Natasha and Ira, and to talk with the director. Although it was his vacation time, he made a special effort to be there when we arrived. The director was extremely happy to share the results that he has been seeing since January. The big news was that many of the children normally needed to be hospitalized over the winter months. Because of the massage therapy treatments that they received this year, they did not need to go to the hospital.

The facility serves children who have four levels of mobility. The lowest level of children are unable to move on their own. The highest level of children are mobile, but have problems with movement and mental growth. Our goal is to have a massage therapist for each group. This would allow each therapist to specialize their massage skills.

As we discussed the needs of the children, we agreed that they needed two more massage therapists. The director has one in mind and is looking for the second.

Children everywhere love to have their pictures taken.

 

 

 

 

 

We had a nice visit with some of the children who were outside. Sveta helped one of the massage therapists guide a blind child back to the main building after enjoying some nice time outside.

Ovidiopol

Four years ago, Ira, our manager in Chornomorsk, introduced Sveta and me to the director of a grass roots organization for children with disabilities in Ovidiopol. About a month ago, I spoke with Ira about the needs of the same city where her husband pastors a church. On Friday, we spoke again. As it happens, a young woman in her church has a passion to become a massage therapist and work with special needs children. (The doors keep opening.)

For eight years while I lived in Chornomorsk, Ira was my assistant. Now she is energetically working with the Ovidiopol government and the organization for children with disabilities. One of her many goals is to find a second person to train for massage therapy in September.

Our goal with MUCH is to have four, maybe five people in the massage therapy training program in September. MUCH is growing the massage therapy awareness and availability for children with special needs throughout Ukraine.

Sveta’s Journey

Transition Home in Marganets

Valya has been living at the Transition Home in Marganets for three months. This is the fourth time that she and her brother are staying at this facility. They are waiting for a court decision regarding their parents. How will their fate be decided? Why is the court system so slow to protect these children from the violence of their own parents? It is terrible when children need protection from family closest to them.

Somehow, Valya received a head injury. An operation was required. Her face is disfigured by a huge surgical scar. Valya’s mind was wounded. She is very sensitive to sound. Loud noises will cause her to shrink into a ball. Very often she complained of headaches.

Albina, our massage therapist at the Transition Home, treated Valya with massage therapy. Her mental condition improved somewhat. Valya shows confidence toward Albina who does her job with great love and compassion. The child responds to her by opening her wounded heart to the healing love she feels through Albina.

In the family of five-year-old Katya, scandals of drunken parents constantly occur. They did not care for their daughter. This influenced the character of Katya. She became a withdrawn, scared child, complaining of frequent headaches and continued sleeplessness.

After a ten-day massage course, Katya’s headaches disappeared, her mood improved, and a blush reappeared on her face. She began to show interest in communicating with other children, peace was felt. These are some of the results of living in an atmosphere of love and acceptance!

Albina not only does her job lovingly, but she does more. On weekends, she takes the most difficult child from the Transition Home and spends time with him or her. In edifying communication and spending time together with Albina, children begin to feel that they have meaning and are loved.

How wonderful it is to know that there are such people who are not indifferent to the pain of children. They will rush to surround the soul of a child with love. God connects people like Albina with MUCH to share their love and compassion. This opportunity is possible thanks to our precious sponsors! Can you imagine what a great and beautiful thing you are doing sponsoring our massage therapists and the children that they serve? This is how one sows and the other reaps. Everyone has their own life work. The Lord, Who pours out love through all of us touches baby souls! Thanks to all of you, and glory to the Lord!

“…serve one another in love.” – Galatians 5:13

Living my dream,

Sveta

We send a BIG THANK YOU to all for your involvement with 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

May 2019

Hello family and friends,

We had very nice weather in May, from the mid 70s to the lower 80s. A few big storms blew through to water our fruit trees. Our apricots, apples, peach and quince trees are all producing this year. The cherries are on our table every day or so. I am learning a farmers patience as I wait for big harvests from each of our trees. We need to study more, particularly about spaying. Write to us if you have tips that help keep ants and insects off fruit trees!

Mark’s Moments

School is out, but for two weeks the schools of Ukraine puts on a “camp” program. This year will be the third year for our church to run a Christian Camp at schools during their second week.

I was invited to speak in the first week with the fifth, sixth, and seventh grade English pupils at the school beside our church. Pictured here are the fifth grade children. I enjoyed talking with children and teens about the English language and all questions about life that they have. It is a great opportunity to connect with children of all ages.

They were shy at first, but they warmed up to me as my funny side appeared. They had many questions, but some had to be coaxed out of their secret comfort zone.

From the previous camps, it was learned that some of the children have hidden traumatic experiences. Our church continues to receive permission to do Christian camps, ministering to the children’s deepest needs that the schools cannot address successfully.

Sveta’s Journey

Many children who receive massage treatments have very difficult diagnoses and may never be healthy. But thanks to massage treatments, the pain and discomfort of these children is reduced. Parents also see love and support through our massage therapists. They see that they are not alone in their life challenges. When Mark and I visit such families, the parents always express great gratitude for the fact that you, as sponsors, and we, as missionaries, participate in the lives of their children. They see God’s love through you. We always emphasize that God loves them and their children so much. Some of the parents make a connection with Mark and me. They gladly share with us the lives of their children.

Fourteen-year-old Kate has a thyroid problem, poor weight gain, scoliosis, and osteoporosis. Since last year, she is receiving regular massage therapy every month for 10 days. Originally, when they took a break from massage treatments for three months, Katya’s spasticity of the arm muscles increased.

After a course of massage therapy, she began to sleep more calmly, her fingers began to open and close better. Kate is very receptive to massage to the calming affects of massage.

Our massage therapist, Anya, shares the good results that she is having. Kate’s knee joints are much more relaxed without much effort. Her back muscles have become more balanced especially in the upper region. The lower back muscles are still in hypertonia, especially on the left side.

Katya is being cared for by her grandmother. We talked with her for a long time. She told the story of her hard life and about her granddaughter. It is not easy for her to take care of Kate, but her love for her granddaughter gives her strength and thirst for life. Grandma Katie strongly believes that God will restore and heal her granddaughter.

Fifteen-year-old Maria started receiving massage treatment in December 2018. Here are some of her many diagnoses: congenital malformation of the brain, microcephaly, convulsive syndrome. The calf muscles were completely atrophied, the ankles did not unbend. The girl moves around the apartment in a seated position supporting herself with her arms.

The first massages were very painful for the girl. But after a twenty-day course of massage treatment, Maria reduced the number of convulsions she was having, and her knees became easier to straighten. The calf muscles have strengthened and now the girl can stand on her feet with the help of her mother. Her sleep patterns are much better. When she receives massage, she no longer is crying. The use of anticonvulsant and analgesic drugs has decreased. Maria has become much calmer. Mom asks to continue physical therapy and massage. Our massage therapist, Tanya, also gives massage treatments for Maria every ten or sometimes twenty days a month.

Our massage therapists, Anya and Tanya, have a great love for these children and have become part of their lives. They pray for them, support their grandmother and mother through ongoing communication, hanging out and even make plans for the future for these girls. Maria’s mother is very interested in motivating the local government to provide a neighborhood facility and program for special needs children.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Your contributions are changing individual lives. Grandmothers, mothers, and children are being transformed into hopeful and happy members of society. You are changing Ukraine, causing a ripple effect from the unseen to the epicenter of society. All of Ukraine thanks you for your part, initiating the ripple!

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

April 2019

Hello family and friends,

After a grey and dreary winter, spring has made everything green again. Sveta is planting and watering in the orchard and flowers. Her plans for our property continue to develop. My work on the house insulation and corridor will be complete before we visit America in September and October.

Speaking of our visit, we would love to connect with you. We are making plans to visit sponsors in North Carolina and Florida. Even if you are in another state and would like us to visit you, your friends, or your church, let us know. We would love to visit with you and share our stories. We hope to hear from you by July. That will help us be more organized. We are eager to hear from you!

Mark’s Moments

We began our massage therapy program in 2012 and our computer program in 2013 at the Dobromel Orphanage for Children with Disabilities. Luba, the orphanage librarian, joined the MUCH team at Dobromel to teach computer skills in 2015. I encouraged Luba to find a program to teach the children to use the keyboard. She enthusiastically did some research and found a number of programs. Choosing the best one to meet the special needs of the children, she initiated her program.

In April, Sveta and I visited the Dobromel Orphanage in northwestern Ukraine. We were eager to observe the progress that the children were making. It was a delight to see the children busy with their tasks. Each one showed us their progress with the keyboard. It was so great to see each child actively pecking the keys.

Interested to hear about more results, I asked Luba what changes she saw in the children. Also, I was eager to knowing if the teachers were seeing differences in the children’s performance in the classroom. I was very excited to hear her stories.

Working with the keyboard stimulated the lower functioning children to learn the alphabet. One child who could not read, learned to see words by syllables. Now he is working with words. Reading is not far away! The interaction between children during the computer class is also interesting. Children who are not friends are happy to help other children solve a small problem. This is a milestone for some of the children. Other teachers report that the children are more calm and focussed.

Sveta’s Journey

Recently Mark and I visited our little friends and massage therapist, Igor, in the Veleekey Lubin Orphanage. It was wonderful to hear and see how children have changed compared to last year. Anton is 10 years old. His diagnosis is autism. When we saw him on our last visit, he did not look into our eyes. He always looked away. This is one of the symptoms of autism. He would not allow anyone to touch him. He was sullen. Anton could bite other children if approached, and was protective of his own space and personal little world. He did not initiate contact with other children.

This visit, when I looked into Anton’s eyes, I was afraid that I would scare him away. With a smile on his face, he looked into our eyes without looking away. In his eyes I saw love and trust. The boy has become calm and sociable. Although he does not speak yet, he understands everything. Now he undresses himself and jumps up on a massage table with enthusiasm. Two years ago, no one could touch him. Now, he really likes massage treatments!

It was so nice to watch Igor work with children. Another child that he has been working with is Oleg. He is 11 years old. He has hemiparesis. This condition effects his left arm. Previously, he could not straighten his left arm. The muscle tone was high. Oleg could not dress independently. He could not fully raise his arm. Of course, this brought the boy great discomfort. After three courses of a ten-day massage treatment during one and a half years, his arm is working much better. The boy can dress himself, can raise his arm, bend and straighten it. This is so wonderful!

It is impossible to describe our joy when we see how the children are changing!

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

November 2018

Hello family and friends,

Here is a great opportunity
to give our children of MUCH

A Christmas gift that will
keep giving all year long

Donate Here

$10 $25 $50 $100 Your hearts desire

Our goal is $10,000

for the 2019 Massage Therapy Program

We are changing lives!
Please help us continue our great work!

Mark’s Moments

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have a new massage therapist waiting in the wings for MUCH Board approval. We met yesterday in the new Young Life facility in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.

A Massage room was part of the plan. This Young Life Club is very involved in the Capernaum program for children with disabilities. Massage therapy is part of this program.

MUCH has one massage therapist Anya, in this program and is waiting for approval of a second, Tanya, pictured above.

The grand opening is TONIGHT 11/15/2018

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta