Category Archives: Massage for children with disabilitiees

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

May 2018

Hello family and friends,

What can you do with $10 in America?

We can do MUCH more in Ukraine with $10!

$10 = a ten day course of massage for a child!

Imagine the results that YOUR $10 can have for one child in Ukraine!

$180 will train a caring person to become a massage therapist!

Imagine the influence that $180 will have on an orphanage, a village, a family.

We need your Help!

Donate

We have three people wanting to become massage therapists in two villages. They need financial assistance to take the three month training course. In return, they will give massage therapy to MUCH children for twenty hours a month for nine months for free. They will also give massage therapy to MUCH children for twenty hours a month, receiving the payment of $1 per hour from MUCH. The general course of massage therapy is ten days.

Yura, in the red, white, and blue jacket, is a pastor in the village of Shostakova. He and his wife manage our projects with the village school. Yura is very interested in learning massage therapy and working with the special needs children in Shostakova and the surrounding villages.

At the Stepovoye orphanage, there are two staff members who want to become massage therapists. The need is great for these children. You can help these two staff increase their professional care for these boys.

Donate

Sveta’s Journey

Last week, together with our pastor and members of our church, we visited an Stepovoye orphanage/boarding school for boys with disabilities, our second visit. When children of different ages entered the hall, we were moved to see how the boys who could walk normally supported other children who could not walk without support. Our hearts were full of tears and compassion for these children. We were moved to see their concern for each other, friendliness, and trusting faces.

Many of these children are left here by their parents because of their disability. Many parents cannot take care of their children with disabilities because of financial need. We had a wonderful opportunity to hold the children’s hands, tousle their hair, and look into their eyes.

How necessary it is for these children to receive massage therapy!

Massage affects the body in a number of ways. Here are three. First, mechanical action results in better circulation of the blood and lymph systems. This is necessary to prevent bedsores in children who spend their days in a wheelchair or in bed.

The second effect is a neural-reflex action. Parts of the body do not function on their own due to injury to the brain. Massage stimulates the end receptors, sending the signal to the brain. As the repetition deepens the signal pathway, embedding the process in the brain, the signal can be initiated from the brain.

The third effect of massage is a humoral-hormonal effect. This effects the digestive system, releasing endorphins, creating pleasure and improving the operation of the digestive system.

All massage therapists of our mission touch the children not only with hands, giving them massage, but the most important thing is that they touch them with love. Love is from God.

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In the orphanage in Dobromel, 11-year-old Yulia has received two courses of massage. Natasha, our massage therapist, already sees excellent results. The girl had insufficient clarity of basic movements, incorrect walking gait, weak regulation of muscular movements, difficulties of independent performance of motor exercises, low level of orientation in the environment, slow memory, and fuzzy speech.

Thanks to massage, the reflex excitability of muscles decreased, blood circulation and lymph flow improved, and the child developed positive emotional interaction with the other children. She began to stutter less and increased her vocabulary. She has improved speech and thought processes.

At the Veleeky Luben orphanage, ten-year-old Ivan is diagnosed with autism. After several courses of massage, Ivan’s results were blossoming like a flower. Last year, when the boy was brought for his first massage, he did not want to undress and did not allow anyone to touch him. Thanks to his love for children and his professionalism, Igor, the MUCH massage therapist, helped this child change, and open himself to the love of those around him.

We observe how varied types of massage affects children according to their needs. We are so amazed and happy to see how these children are changing, thanks to the massage program of the MUCH mission!

How necessary it is for these children to receive massage!

Living my dream,

Sveta

Donate here!

Change Ukraine a little bit at a time!

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

April 2017

Hello family and friends,

We hope that each of you had a pleasant holiday celebration. Sveta and I spent our Sunday afternoon with friends. Lena met us at the bus stop and we traveled to our house together for lunch. Tanya arrived later. It was so nice to see these three friends together share old times and new direction in their lives.

Sveta prepared buckwheat and chicken, garnished with garlic greens. Hard boiled eggs and grated beets, both topped with mayonnaise and greens. Pickled tomatoes and pickled cucumbers added unique flavor. Finally, Sveta’s mother’s preserved vegetable salad completed the festive meal.

Mark’s Moments

Marganets School #3

When we were at this school in the fall, we visited the fourth grade class. They showed us what they were doing with the computer tablets that MUCH provided. This time we visited the first grade class to see what they are doing with the computers tablets that were designated to them this year. The children surprised us with their artwork. They are ready to learn to use computer technology! Why wait until they are older. Director Nataliya has the vision for her school to move forward now!

 

The big surprise came when I asked Svetlana, the first grade teacher, if she knew how to use the computer tablets before they were given to the school. She told us with big excitement that she had to teach herself first, then she could teach the children. That is how far behind small towns and villages in Ukraine are with education tools.

By improving the teaching tools, MUCH is changing the potential of this school. This will have long term effects on the future of Ukraine. Better education changes countries; it is changing Ukraine. This teacher thanks you!

Marganets Transition Home

Sveta and I met these two friends at the Transition Home in Marganets. Inseparable five year olds, Irena and Sasha go to Yana together to receive massage therapy. You were introduced to them in our March newsletter.

It was a delight to watch Yana give each of them a massage treatment. In the process, Sasha had many questions. Looking at his picture, can you imagine what his inquisitive conversations could be? Yana thanks you for the opportunity to bring emotional healing to these children!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irena kept busy with her art work while Sasha enjoyed his massage.

These are only two of the thirty children who live at the Transition Home. Each child has a different story. Each story will break your heart.

MUCH has sponsored the Transition Home through our clothing program for more than seven years. We started the massage therapy program here this year. We see good progress.

Not only are these children from broken homes healing emotionally, but most are being placed in good Christian foster homes. Some are being adopted. We are pleased to partner with these professionals.

Massage Therapy is an ongoing program. We have nine massage therapists working in four cities and one village. At the current exchange rate that is around 27 UAH for every $1, the massage therapy programs cost a total of $800 per month to maintain. We have one more massage therapist waiting in the wings for funding in the large village of Ovidiopol.

If you are one of the 250 people receiving our newsletter regularly, please know that only about 20 of those 250 who receive our newsletter support our programs regularly. Imagine, if nine new sponsors gave $10 each month, we could support a massage therapist in Ovidiopol.

Our help with Education is about projects. We learn about the needs of a particular school, and we raise money for the specific projects. You have seen our Christmas fundraisers each year as an example.

Imagine, a yearly project is about $4000. If 200 people gave only $20 each, we could easily provide the education needs of a village school each year. A village school serves the children from two or three surrounding villages.

Think of the impact you can have on the life of a child!

Become a MUCH sponsor and give a donation today!

Sveta’s Journey

Chornomorsk

Mark and I visited Chornomorsk in March. Mark spoke to the students of the Transportation Scholarship Program. He talked about the value of education and the impact that they can make on their community. He also told the students that higher education is not only about learning information, but more importantly, it is about learning how to think.

When you know how to think, you can teach yourself many things. We see how committed they are to learning. They fully understand that MUCH and their parents invest love and finance in them. The gratitude of the students is expressed not only in words, but also the excellence of their study. These four students are doing a good job with their studies! Mark and I are glad that we have such an opportunity to encourage (left to right) Arthur, Nastya, Anya and Daniel through those who support the Transportation Scholarship Program! They are very grateful about the ongoing support from MUCH. They thank you!

One woman approached Mark and told him that seven years ago, when her daughter Valya was three years old, the doctors diagnosed the girl with Pes valgus of the feet and rickets. These further lead to disability.

Throughout the year the girl received several massage therapy courses. Valya’s mother is so grateful! She thanks all of you very much.

Now Valya is walking better and has no pain. Her mother’s face is shining with joy! It’s so nice to meet parents who are happy that their child is healthy! All good things come from God!

Valya received massage therapy through MUCH. We are leading the way to correcting some disabilities of children in Ukraine.

Very heavy knapsacks and the wrong position to sit at the desk led to poor posture and pain in the back and cervical spine of the twin sisters Olga and Anya. Ira, our massage therapist conducted a course of therapy for these girls. Now Olga and Anya do not feel pain, their postures have been corrected. Ira gave them recommendations for physical exercises to strengthen the muscles of the back. Olga and Anya’s Mom expressed great gratitude to us and the sponsors of MUCH!

I deeply believe that twelve years ago God opened the door to massage therapy and continues to bless children through MUCH! Three massage therapists Natalia, Tanya and Ira help children and comfort their parents in Chornomorsk!

Living my dream,

Sveta

We need YOUR help to move MUCH through another twelve miraculous years.

Let’s begin today!

Thank you in advance! The children thank you! Ukraine thanks you for helping to change their country!

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

August 2016

Hello family and friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

February 2016

Hello family and friends,

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It is 37F as I write this letter, but the sun is shining and the wind is blowing the clothes dry. It is time to start the tomatoes inside, prepare the land outside, and think spring. Sveta is chomping at the bit, so to speak.

In Sveta’s Journey, she shares our first picture result from the Christmas Fundraiser!

Marks Moments

Your purchases on SmileAmazon have earned MUCH $41.59! Shop SmileAmazon

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Sveta and I haven’t written much about our church life in the newsletter. Here is a brief explanation of our ministries in our church. Two years ago, the pastor of the church where we were married asked us if we wanted to be members. We had attended Sunday services for about four months. We accepted his invitation joyfully. In the same meeting, he asked if we were interested in any particular ministry. We said that we would like to begin a healing ministry. He thoughtfully said, “We will go forward step by step.” Now, each Sunday while the worship portion of the service continues, we have a few chairs in the back of the church where people may come for prayer for healing. Our team has grown from two to eight.

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Within six months of attending the pastors home group, Sveta and I asked permission to begin a home group of our own. We live on the edge of the city where there are a number of people from our church. Quickly, our home group grew and one of the members was ready to lead a group of her own. While we were in America, four more home groups began. The need was evident. It seemed that the church was waiting for an example.

The people in our home group now attend other local home groups, leaving Sveta and I to meet another need in the church. We have discussed using our home group setting for teaching new and spiritually young Christians the foundation beliefs of the faith with the pastor. He has approved this and we will begin in March.

Our church is interested in the work that MUCH does and is interested in participating. In our city of almost 500,000 people, there are a number of orphanages. Our church has visited some of them and wants to expand their connection with the children. We will see what new opportunities develop in the future

Sveta’s Journey

December2015

In October 2011, Mark sent me to Dobromel, northwestern Ukraine, to give a twenty-day massage therapy demonstration. He was confident that there would be results within twenty days, but to tell you the truth, I was not. It was a very difficult time for me, but in the end of the twenty days, I did see results. I will share about some of the children who continue to benefit from massage therapy and the exercise items that you provided through the Christmas Fundraiser.

I will tell you stories of two of the boys in this picture. Sasha, on the far right, came from a Baby House a number of years ago. (A Baby House is an ill managed facility where the system maintains life for infants and preschool children who are without family.) He was quite wild when he first arrived at the Dobromel Orphanage. In social settings he was unable to interact calmly with other children. In the classroom, he sat on the window sill, looking out the window. After a number of massage therapy treatments, Sasha became calm, sat at his desk in the classroom, and became more sociable with the children.

Igor, second from the left in the same picture, was new to the orphanage last year. Mark and I watched him in a classroom setting. He demanded attention, acting out while the teacher was instructing the class.

Paul, our second massage therapist, connected with Igor through the massage therapy treatment. Paul has a great personality and interacts well with the children. Now, Igor is doing much better in the classroom.
His interaction with the children has improved, also.

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I wish that you could be a ‘fly on the wall’ to see first hand the big changes in the children that I see when we visit the Dobromel Orphanage. Thank you so much for your contributions to the Christmas Fundraiser. You can see in this picture the items that Natalya, our first massage therapist, bought with your financial gifts. She compliments her massage therapy treatments with exercise, using different instruments to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the children. They send you a Big Thank You!

Living my dream,

Sveta

We are seeing big changes in the children as each year goes by. Sveta and I, and all of the MUCH team thank you for reading our newsletter and participating in our work through financial support, prayer, encouraging letters or Emails, and sharing about our journey with your friends.

You can see all of our videos at our Youtube site http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch
Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

 

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

October 2012 Newsletter

Lots of computers, but no teacher to open the minds.
Hello family and friends,
September in the hills of Dobromel met Sveta and me with temperatures in the low 50s F. We traveled through light rain from L’vov to Dobromel, but had four days of crisp autumn weather to share with the children. An hour of video clips and 313 pictures captured the activities and class work of the children. Sveta will share more in her article below.
It is time, once again, for the MUCH Christmas Fundraiser. This year we will focus on two new programs in Dobromel. At the Dobromel Orphanage, our first priority is to support a computer program that will put 20 computers already in place, to use. The director has a classroom full of computers with a complete PowerPoint system, but no staff position in the budget to pay for a teacher.
A great education tool!
The government does not see the value. Our goal is to raise enough money for January through May of 2013, and the September 2013 through May 2014 school year. This will pay a teacher to educate pupils in the realm of computer skills that will directly affect the futures of the children. The total cost of this program for these fourteen months is $1750.
We saw results from the first month!
At the same orphanage, we would like to add a second part time masseuse at the orphanage. We have seen such great results in the first five month of this year; see Sveta’s Journey in the June Newsletter. MUCH bought a massage table for the orphanage massage room, and Natasha, the masseuse/exercise therapist, continues to do her job well. The application possibilities of massage for the 120 children with special needs continue to grow. A second masseuse will create additional services for as many as 20 children a year. The cost to run this program for fourteen months, the same time period as the computer program above, is $2800.
The total goal of our Christmas Fundraiser for 2012 is $4550.

Sveta’s Journey

What is surprising to me is that the government has allocated funds for the purchase of computers, and the orphanage is equipped with a computers classroom, although, the government does not provide a staff position for a teacher to conduct lessons. In the beginning of this school year, the director of the orphanage could not start the computer lessons for children because there was no teacher. The director said that he will find someone to teach, but, of course, he will need funds to pay for the work. We pointed out that MUCH is interested in sponsoring education programs, and there is a desire in our hearts to find the means to pay for this work.

With quality documentation and good results, we believe that the government will provide a teacher position and will pay for his work in the future. First, they must try out the program and create these opportunities. That is where MUCH comes in. Children with physical and mental disabilities need an initial level of education. The computer can improve the technique off teaching, and provide computer skills. There are many programs written to help special needs children learn more easily. All of this will help them to fit into society more smoothly.

Computers provide new ways to learn basic knowledge, develop hand eye coordination for activities such as typing skills, and bring the world to the student through the internet, opening a huge library of knowledge. These machines increase the rehabilitation of mentally challenged children to a new advanced level, expanding their social circle and ideas about the world, helping to develop cognitive abilities.

For $1750, the director can staff a computer teacher for a year and a half of school time, helping these special needs children. Will you share your Christmas giving with them? It will change their lives forever!

Almost all of the children in the orphanage need massage. Last October, the director, the nurse, and I, visited each class of children for whom I was giving massage. The director personally examined each child, having him or her raise the shirts. As he viewed their spines, he was surprised how many children have problems with their spines. The director sees a great need for a second masseuse. Unfortunately, at this time the regional authorities do not provide funding for staffing this job. The director will prepare reports on the results of massage for the children; the staff will supply evidence of the changes they see in the children after a course of massage. He will meet with a doctor who specializes in treating children with physical or mental disabilities to obtain qualified assistance in obtaining an official position for a masseur/masseuse.

For $2800, we can add a second masseuse, providing massage for a year and a half of school time for these special needs children. Will you share your Christmas giving with them? It will begin to change their lives after the first month of massage.

Some of our little freinds!
When Mark and I visited the Dobromel Orphanage, the children and the teachers were all glad to see us. We were also happy to see our little friends again and spend many days with them. This time we saw a lot of new children, first graders and older children. Among them was the child R. – a very beautiful girl (wearing the red shirt – left).
A new boy Y., came to the orphanage/boarding school after spending his first six years in a Baby House. Here is an example of a Baby House. He is an orphan. We do not know how he was raised until this time, but many of his actions express aggression. When I talked to Mark and the children on the street, he took a big stick and tried to hit us. I took it from him and hugged him, but he pulled away and hit me with his little hands. What were the conditions he lived in and how did he grow up? Surely, he did not feel love for himself and no one caressed him. This conclusion could be drawn from his aggressive behavior.
A big step up from the Baby House.
Natasha, the masseuse, gave Y. a 20-day massage. She says that he has changed a bit compared to the first days of the school. Natasha has a lot of patience and love for children. It was very difficult to massage this child; she needed time to give him some instruction.
First grade, a time for change
The atmosphere in the boarding school is full of love. I like the attitude and policy of the educators and teachers individually toward each child. The atmosphere has discipline and love! Here the child will feel and see love, and learn discipline. We saw the happy faces of the children. As you can see, they are joyful.
Of course, no one can replace a good family and good parents with an orphanage/boarding school. Although, for many children who lived in dysfunctional families, the orphanage is much better. During this visit, I saw good changes in the children – especially the youngest ones. They have become more disciplined, understanding the rules of behavior in their own community and the community at large.
We may not speak, but we want to communicate!
Mark and I have captured on video how the lessons are held in the classroom. Classes are formed by age, but in each class, there are children who have different levels of intelligence. For example, in seventh grade, three boys and one girl (right) are not able to speak well. It is difficult for them to speak and their level of understanding is very low. Teachers give these children simple tasks to write, or draw simple circles, sticks … With the computer class they could work independently with materials that are specifically for their level of intellect.
Pictures give memories for the children
We handed children photos from our previous visit (left). It was so great! The children were waiting for the new pictures, so, the next time we want to bring to each child a small photo album.
Keeping my pictures safe!
This idea came to us after R., a boy of 9 years old (right), had shown us how he stores your photos. He unbuttoned his little suit jacket and proudly showed the photos that he folded several times and “carefully” stored in the inner pocket of his jacket.
Our Dobromel masseuse, Natasha, sends to all of you, dear American friends, very much thanks for your attention and love for the children. We also express our gratitude to you and the Ukrainian people who also take part in these programs.
Living my dream,
Sveta
We are hopeful, friends, that you see the great needs of the children that we highlight for our Christmas fundraiser this year. Please consider them as you make your Christmas plans. May God bless you as the season of giving draws near.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

June 2012 Newsletter

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

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

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

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

A. battles Downs Syndrom with massage.

and his staff were seeing

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



Sveta’s Journey

Welcome to Dobromel, Mark!

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