Category Archives: Massage for children with disabilities

Helping children, families, and soldiers!

Hello fa and friends,

You know, dear friends, that now you are helping not only children and civilians in Ukraine, but also the military, in particular, our son Misha and his team; and our friend Dasha’s husband and his team. They protect the people of Ukraine.

Our son and his team often change locations, it is necessary to dig trenches and build temporary fortification underground structures for protection. We bought a chainsaw, an electricity generator, binoculars, and two water filter systems for the guys. Our son said: “Mark and Mom, you can’t even imagine what a huge help this is and how nice it is to feel supported.” He and the guys asked me to convey a big thank you to all of you! We are also very grateful to you!

Mark’s Moments

Sveta and I have returned to NW Ukraine for a three week visit with our daughter and three grandchildren. That is the best reason, but there had to be more reasons to endure the twelve hour bus ride. Sveta and I both needed some dental work, she had a Ukrainian document that she needed to have processed ASAP, and she has the opportunity to complete her driver training course.

Our daughter took us for a walk through the Ivano-Frankivsk Center tourism street. It is foot traffic only, and is an older historic section of town. You can see in these photographs that they honor the soldiers who have given their lives for their country. These bigger than life pictures fill the street for about a quarter mile, (440 yards). It is a powerful reminder of the awesome cost of this war.

Early in the war, all of the children at the Dobromel Orphanage who had family to go to, were sent home. The remaining children were true orphans. They were sent to other countries, to start a new life in foreign government facilities. This left the orphanage empty, and waiting for more children. As the war in our city of Mykolaiv intensified, the children in the Mykolaiv orphanages there were sent west. About one hundred of them ended up at the Dobromel orphanage.

Natalia M. continued her massage program with this group of children. Many suffered emotional trauma from their experience with the war in the places that they called home. Along with emotional trauma, poor posture and scoliosis appear. In the first picture, you can easily see the results that this girl has received. Natalia M. uses her massage skills, but even more importantly, she inspires the children with her love and enthusiasm.

Natalia believes so deeply in her work that she is successfully operating her own massage therapy clinic in her own city. Natalia M. is a perfect example of what MUCH is all about. We are so very proud of her success.

Sveta’s Journey

Life in our city of Mykolaiv is to live under shelling and bombing every day. But our friends with whom we communicate via the Internet do not complain and do not lose heart, they expect victory. Within five months, they got used to living without clean drinking water from the tap. Washing machines and boilers are out of order, unable to withstand the highly salty and dirty technical water that flows through pipes. They are accustomed to washing by hand while using a minimum amount of clean water. They are accustomed to using three to five liters of water for bathing.

It is necessary to save water for which you have to go to the place of distribution of clean water and use a special wheelbarrow or hand truck to bring this precious liquid to your apartment.
When my friend Lyalya told me all of this on the phone, at the end she added: “Don’t think that I’m complaining. I got used to it and have adapted to it.” She was unspeakably happy when she saw that money from our mission had come to her account: just in time! She was on her way to church, walking so as not to spend money on the bus (the prices for everything had increased several times).

Currently, we are providing massage therapy for twelve children a month in Ukraine. We have only three massage therapists in Ukraine. The other eleven have either relocated in Ukraine, or moved to other countries. About twenty children at the Dobromel orphanage participate in computer training programs. We have two children in the transportation scholarship program that we support when they are having classes in person rather than online. The other children who benefit from MUCH are in the families that receive humanitarian help through the teams that we support.

When MUCH supports our Ukrainian men at war, we are protecting the children of Ukraine! Thank you for your support!

Massage therapy is helping autistic children overcome the trauma of war.

Dr. Natalia started the massage therapy program with me in 2004. Many things have happened since then. About ten years ago, she opened a private clinic in Chornomorsk, a city by the Black Sea, not far from Odessa, Ukraine. She invited her son, who completed medical college, and a second massage therapist to build her clinic business. It has blossomed since that time.
Before the war, she had begun to specialize her time working with children with severe disabilities. She was seeing good results. She decided to continue her work after the war started on February 24. Now she is working with children who migrated from eastern Ukraine to her city, Chornomorsk. The emotions of many of the children with severe disabilities intensified because of the war. These are the sensitive reactions of two children from eastern Ukraine who are autistic. Massage therapy helped these children overcome the emotional trauma caused by the Russian invasion.

Autistic children live in their own world of protection and communication with their environment. When that is disrupted, their whole nervous system is stressed. They do not want to talk, closing communication. They do not want to eat, and their bowel and bladder functions do not operate correctly. The behavior of these children had changed to a large degree.
Dr. Natalia uses a variety of techniques to accommodate each child individually. She realizes that many children cannot lay in one position for a long time. She also provides toys to help the children focus on something other than the activity of the massage. Sometimes the child will sit in her lap during massage, or sit directly in front of her while she provides massage techniques, specifically for the overall needs of the child.

In these two cases, each child received a relaxing massage over a ten-day period. By the tenth day, all of the physiological functions, sleep, appetite, mood, bowel and bladder were restored. These children were once again peaceful and communicating.

Much is so very grateful that Dr. Natalia stands strong, a patriot for her country, and a committed doctor for the children that come to her. Let’s help her keep her clinic operating and helping refugees from eastern Ukraine who are in great need of her services.

Thank you so much for your part in the war effort through MUCH. Thank all of you who share our stories with your friends, pray for our children, and sponsor the financial needs of MUCH!

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

May 2021

Hello family and friends,

Massage therapy provides many results. Here are 25 reasons that may give you a better understanding of massage therapy. Over the past sixteen years, MUCH massage therapists who are all Ukrainian citizens, have been treating a variety of needs for children with different types of disabilities. In our early intervention treatments, they are correcting physical and non-symmetrical problems that will lead to disability.

Stepovoya

 

At the Stepovoya Orphanage for Boys, about twenty-five of the fifty boys are unable to walk. Spasticity is one problem that massage therapy addresses. Relaxing the muscles helps the child to be calm and experience a better quality of life. The best result for these boys has been an increase in the quality of their immune system. Many of the boys would spend time in the hospital over the winter months. During the winter of the first year of massage therapy treatment, most of the boys who commonly would need hospitalization, did not. Their immune systems were greatly improved.

Downs Syndrome can be treated with massage therapy, creating improved muscle tone and motor function. The younger they receive treatment, the better the results can be.

The boys who are mobile and have the mental capacity to learn, are developing life skills at the orphanage. Whether in the military or in the orphanage, one of the first things that you will learn to do is to make your bed. For the boys, it is a big task, a mental process that require many steps.

A higher life skill that some of the children are learning is cooking. Handling a knife to cut up vegetables for a salad may be simple for you, but for these boys, many basic skills and processes that we take for granted are new and sometimes difficult tasks for them to learn.

Every child is a precious gift of God. Look into their faces and see them as a gift to experience.

Ira and Natasha have been a part these boy’s lives for some time. Two years ago, they became massage therapists and entered a new relationship with the boys. Now their love blossoms into a deeper experience of healthcare. The degree of healing that takes place through massage therapy brings a better quality of life to each child in a very individual way.

I was so pleased to see the boys experience planting trees. Working with living trees that bring life, beauty, food, and even the air that we breath.
It has been my personal experience planting and being a caretaker of trees in our yard that makes this picture so meaningful to me.

The Stepovoya team makes every opportunity for the boys to experience nature and planting life. Bright colors, fresh air, and the open spaces excite and motivate the boys to participate with enthusiasm.

Massage therapy helps the boys become calm, happy, and to participate at their best in every activity!

Thank you for following our stories of what God is doing through MUCH in Ukraine. Please continue to pray, share our stories with your friends, and contribute when you can.

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

 

April 2021

Hello family and friends,

When I first moved to Ukraine, my purpose was unclear. I knew that I would be helping children, but the details would be revealed as time moved forward. One thing was clear; I was not called to Ukraine to plant an American business on this soil. By 2004, it had begun to be clear in my mind that the mission was not to fix problems in Ukraine. Rather, if I could enable people to realize their passion and move forward with it, that would be enough. The deeper realization of this in my mind developed overtime.
In America, the majority of people are not leaders, builders of new ideas and businesses, but rather the majority are the gears that make the great machines operate. The same is true in Ukraine. After generations of being the gears, the labor force, of the Soviet Union, the people of Ukraine were ready to build their own dreams. Even so, a small percentage will be true builders of businesses. In the sixteen and a half years of experience with massage therapy, MUCH yields 28% of the therapists starting their own massage therapy business. Here are their stories.

Dr. Natalya

God directed me to Dr. Natalya because my own need for massage therapy. She was renting the back room of a three room flat from a very elderly man. She worked with adult clients, but her heart wanted to provide massage therapy for children with disabilities. She partnered with MUCH in 2004, giving two patient hours for children with disabilities.

Over the years, she increased her medical rehabilitation education, and worked at additional facilities. By 2017, she operated a professional rehabilitation facility of her own in Chornomorsk. She, and three specialists in her employ, are serving the children of this city. Dr. Natalya has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Natasha M.

The director of the Dobromel Orphanage introduced Natasha to me in 2010. My wife, Sveta, gave a twenty-day demonstration of massage therapy that showed results in September 2011. Natasha began the massage therapy program at the Dobromel Orphanage for children with special needs in October of that year.
After a few years of treating children with various types of disabilities, she took a great interest in how massage therapy could interact with speech therapy. Natasha was so inspired, she acquired a masters degree in speech therapy.

By 2018, She was ready to open her own massage therapy clinic in her city of Cambir. Natasha rents a room in this cheery business building. Above the door on the right is her sign, “Studio Massage”. She continues her work at the orphanage, and has her clinic operating with another massage therapist as her employee. Natasha has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Sveta’s Journey

Ira O.

Sveta and I met Ira in the church that we were attending in Chornomorsk in 2012. She had been a nurse for a number of years, specializing in giving injections. One Sunday after the service, she proudly announced that she had completed her training in massage therapy. I leaned over to Sveta and said, “We should talk with her!

She began working with MUCH in the Policlinic. The following year she changed to home visits, and expanded developing her personal clients. Her specialty is early intervention, working with infants and children from two months to two years old. Ira has made a name for herself. Although she does not work out of a clinic setting, she works full time, visiting her patients in their homes. Ira has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Oksana V.

Oksana (on the right) took an interest in 2016 to learning how massage therapy could help children with disabilities. She completed the training program and became certified to provide massage therapy.
Setting up a massage table in her living room, she began inviting parents with children in her district of Mykolaiv to receive massage therapy. Within a year, Oksana had enough patients on a regular basis to rent a small room in the exercise business “Fit Curves”.

Take a look at the nine certificates on her wall. Face massage, lymph drainage massage, and children massage are some of the extra knowledge and skills that she has learned in the past five years. She continues improving her ability to serve all of the massage therapy needs of her patients.
Oksana’s passion is for the infants. Being a mother of three children, she understands the value of early intervention. She is providing wonderful opportunities for infants to overcome physical differences that could become disabilities. Oksana has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Nadya

Nadya has been working with MUCH for seventeen months. After completing her training, and being certified, she quickly organized a room in her home that she could use for a massage therapy clinic.

Ovidiopol is spread out over eight miles. There are no high rise apartment buildings that are commonly found in most cities and towns in Ukraine. To build a home visit practice would be difficult and financially impractical.
Nadya’s first year has proven to be successful. We look forward to seeing what she will accomplish these next few years as her practice continues to grow and develop. As time moves forward, we believe that Nadya will meet the goal of MUCH!

I am so happy to be a part of what God is doing through MUCH in my country.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Thank you for following our stories of what God is doing through MUCH in Ukraine. Please continue to pray, share our stories with your friends, and contribute when you can.

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

 

 

February 2021

Hello family and friends, 

Hello spring!

Have you pruned your fruit trees? Spring is right around the corner. Days of sunshine are more abundant. Sveta is ready to get out and work with her roses and vineyard. Our nineteen fruit trees are mine to care for.
Sveta and I are very happy to hear that Americans are receiving vaccination to combat COVID-19. You can read about the most recent vaccine beginning activity in Ukrainehere. This news from Radio Free Europe is dated Feb 23.
MUCH focuses on working with infants and children. For some of the little darlings, development comes early, and others, with time. But there are some youngsters for whom MUCH can only provide treatment that will maintain a plateau of progressive change. Such a story is told in Mark’s Moments, below.

Mark’s Moments
Three years ago, MUCH enabled two Christian young women to become massage therapists in our city of Mykolaiv. One of them, Anya, was introduced to a teenager, Maria, who has severe cerebral palsy. She has worked with this girl for three years. This year, a third Christian massage therapist that MUCH enabled in Mykolaiv last year, is also providing massage therapy for Maria. Oksana (in picture) is very happy to be working with her.
Maria is seventeen years old. She has grown, and maintains her weight. Spasticity is a big problem when it is time to move Maria. Because of COVID-19 and Maria’s own bout with illness, she was without massage therapy for four months. Sveta visited with Oksana this time and saw how much of Maria’s progress was missing.
Her arms and legs are stiff and very challenging to manipulate. It is very difficult for Maria’s grandmother to bath her and dress her.
Her grandmother is not a healthy women, and has high blood pressure. She has raised Maria since she was 6 year old. Maria’s parents divorced, and only this one grandparent had compassion for her. It was typical that children with severe disabilities are abandoned by their parents and most relatives. That is changing as more medical services are becoming available.
A Ukrainian family raised money for this child. When Sveta passed it on to the grandmother, she was in tears. She said, “I knew that God would provide money. I didn’t expect it to be this way.” Her financial need is so great. She scrapes by with her small pension and even smaller government provided pension for Maria.
MUCH home-visit treatments are serving children who would normally not receive any regular help. Six of the thirteen MUCH massage therapists are home-visit therapists. The rest either have their own clinic or work within a government orphanage, or transition home.
Sveta’s Journey
Periodically, during the quarantine time, when many children were at home since last year, orphans continued to spend time in the orphanage. Of course, it’s not fun to know that your friends are with family and you are in the orphanage. Even so, several snowy days brought them joy

I remember the time before my marriage to Mark, when he asked me to provide a twenty-day massage therapy program. I agreed, and lived at this orphanage. I was to provide massage treatment for the children and share the results with the Director of the Dobromel Orphanage. I provided massage therapy treatments during the day. In the evenings, some of the children gathered in my room.
Of course, I missed my son, daughter, and especially my one year and three month old granddaughter. One evening I was so sad that my heart sank with self-pity. I cried and thought, “What am I doing here? God, why am I here when my daughter needs me at this time to help her with the baby? My parents need me too.” My face was flooded with bitter tears and at that moment I heard the Lord inside me say to me: “You are not here forever, soon you will return to your family. And these children have nowhere to return to. Imagine how hard it is for them to deal with this situation. These children are mentally and physically challenged; they also need family and love. “

My tears instantly stopped, self-pity disappeared, and compassion for these children settled in my heart. Since that time, compassion and love for them always accompany me. I am sincerely happy when I see the results of massage treatment!

Last year Misha, (in the dark plaid coat), received four ten-day massage treatments. The boy’s posture improved. Thanks to the speech therapy facial massage, he began to speak better. He expressed himself with an emotional tone, instead of mono tone.

This year, the boy’s aunt promised to take him to her home for a few days. But she did not come and the child took it very hard. The boy closed himself off from others, became aggressive, and he again displayed behavior representative of mental disorders.
Natasha, the massage therapist gave Misha a ten-day course of relaxing massage therapy, including drawing with sand on a color lighted sand box. Misha drew a house, a family. This symbolically resembled what he had not yet been able to express. He was filled with fears, high emotion, and psychological trauma. Drawing was like an evaluation of his emotional mood. It is also one of the lessons of game therapy. After the complex massage treatment, music therapy and drawing with sand on the sand box, Misha’s psycho-emotional state stabilized. Misha became friendly and a smile shone on his face again.
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

August 2020

Hello family and friends,

Our long, hot, summer has come to an end. It has been the most interesting one in all of my years in Ukraine. In the July Newsletter I wrote about our long term ministry plans for the property. Our first step was to add a second story with roof. After working with two contractors, we finally found some workers who wanted to work continuously.

The front wall with three window seats and the back wall are waiting for the beltway that will be finished by September 10. The back wall will continue upward, creating a vaulted roof and ceiling. Down the road, we anticipate solar panels on the roof. This is becoming very popular here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had water damage on the first floor in June after the roof was removed. Until last night, we had very hot days. More rain visited us until this morning. A small area in the bathroom was leaking, but nowhere else.

I came down with a fever at the end of August. While caring for me, Sveta also acquired the same illness. While I continue to regain my strength after nine days, Sveta, that strong Ukrainian woman, bounced back within three days! God is good!

Mark’s Moments

COVID-19 has not stopped the work of our massage therapists. It has stopped our growth and reduced our support in the first half of 2020. We had three people ready for massage therapy training, but this has not developed because of COVID-19 and MUCH shortage of funds.

In our February Newsletter, we told about a couple working with 400 children in the Happy Family program. They were ready for massage therapists, but COVID-19 got in the way.

A friend of ours from Poltava knows someone interested in massage therapy, but MUCH funding is not available at this time.

All other activities of MUCH continued during the first half of 2020 as in every other year. It seems that this fever that Sveta and I had, is going around in Ukraine. You can pray for our manager Ira Kolosova. She has a fever at this writing.

It is difficult to say much about COVID-19 in Ukraine. The infection rate continues to climb, but new cases are requiring new rules. Our border has closed to foreigners. The regions are regulated according severity of illness. Mykolaiv region remains on the safer side of danger. I visited a virtual Home Town meeting by the American Embassy in Ukraine the other day. In general, things are better in Ukraine than many other European countries, as I understand it.

Green

Sveta’s Journey

Mark and I planned to visit several families with disabled children who receive massage therapy under our MUCH program in our city of Mykolaiv. We thought that by September COVID-19 would be under control. Parents invited us to meet them and their children. But since the quarantine was tightened, we decided to postpone our meetings.

Our massage therapists continue their work, and parents continue to open the doors of their homes, even during the quarantine period. They are seeing great results. Their children, small or big, with severe disabilities, and very high muscle tension, are in great need of help.

Many children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, hemi-paresis, or tetra-paresis, receive a ten-day massage course every month. This sixteen-year-old child cannot walk and spends all of her time in bed. Her grandmother who alone takes care of her granddaughter, has a difficult time turning the girl over during the day and the child stays in one stable position for a long time. Progressive muscle imbalance can lead to dislocation of the hip in the hip joint. Blood circulation is impaired. These and many other problems can be stopped and prevented from developing through massage therapy. After the massage, muscle hypertonicity is noticeably reduced and this brings great relief from pain for our dear children.

Two brothers, eleven and seven years old, have the same diagnosis of autism and scoliosis. Victor is very calm and self-contained. Ivan is super active and fidgety. It was not easy for Anya to give him massage therapy. The boy was constantly struggling and spinning. In the middle of the ten-day course, Ivan calmed down and enjoyed the massage therapy.

Parents of children with autism notice that after massage, children’s behavior becomes more social. Language skills improve, anxiety reduces, and concentration increases. This significantly improves the quality of life for the children. And this is very encouraging for parents!

Soon after Sasha was born eleven years ago, our massage therapist, Tanya, was contacted for help. Sasha was born with a traumatic doctor error, leaving him in a vegetative state, unable to do anything for himself. After eleven years of massage therapy designed specifically to relax dominant muscles and strengthen weak muscles, Sasha continues to live. We have seen small signs of progress. In his case, the best that we are seeing is an improved quality of life.

He has a three year old brother and his family continues to love him. Life continues for this family in a positive manor, mostly because of the treatment and personal interaction of Tanya with this family.

When I read the reports and the results of the work of our massage therapists, I see even more value of massage therapy home visits. The massage therapist becomes a part of the family, opening up and releasing pain for them. Parents look forward to the arrival of the massage therapist. Their life, like the life of their children, is limited by a narrow circle of people and the walls of their apartment or house.

Together with our massage therapists, dear family and friends, you are part of these families and bring relief, expanding the lives of parents and children! Thank you very much!

Living my dream,

Green


Sveta
Please consider donating to MUCH to help the children with disabilities improve their quality of life.

Please Donate

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

February 2019

Hello family and friends,

February has been an unusually warm month for us in southern Ukraine. Low temperatures were in the 20s F, highs were in the mid 30s F. It is true that the post-soviet generation can be found standing outside, talking with friends, in the coldest weather. Although, as soon as the temperature is above freezing for a couple of days, many people are found to be out in their garden, preparing the soil. To my surprise, some have already completed their spring planting. As for Sveta and me, we pruned our fruit trees, grape vines, and rose bushes. We are ready for spring. Even so, there could be more snow before the spring is over. We just never know.

Mark’s Moments

In the summer of 2017, Sveta and I visited the Stepovoya Orphanage for Boys with Physical and Mental Disabilities. We were visiting with a group from our church. Since that time, the director has been replaced and we have visited a few more times. Each time, Sveta and I talked with the director about massage therapy for the boys in his facility. He was absolutely in agreement with our program, but was having difficulty understanding how to implement it.

Natasha and Ira

Finally, with all of our ducks in a row, he introduced us to Natasha and Ira. Both Natasha and Ira work part-time. Natasha works as a care taker of the children, while Ira is the social worker. As we interviewed them to participate in the massage training course, they asked questions, wanting to understand the program that we were offering. I can imagine the unasked question, “Who are Mark and Sveta, and why are they giving us this opportunity?”

After completing the course, Ira and Natasha hold diplomas from their massage therapy course posing with their course instructor.

Natasha told Sveta that this opportunity has changed her life. As a wife and mother living in the village an hour outside of Mykolaiv, she saw no opportunities in her life that could change. (The common phrase is, “This is my life, what can I do?”) Now, with a diploma, she can give more of herself to children at the orphanage, changing their lives through massage therapy.

Vlad

Ira wrote in one of her progress reports about a 17 year old boy who receives massage therapy. His name is Vlad. He was born with spina bifida (open spine) on his lower back. Both legs are unable to function normally. He also has a flat foot problem that is common to cerebral palsy, which is his diagnosis. He can stand, but cannot walk. He can pull himself along the hand rails on the walls.

Vlad likes the massage therapy very much. He pulls himself along the hand rails each day, showing up at the therapy room on time. Ira gives Vlad a full body massage. She begins with conversation about his favorite singer. While they talk, Ira begins by asking Vlad to straighten his leg at the knee. They move on to massage therapy, step by step. At the end of the treatment, Vlad always gives Ira a big “Thank you!” — I can’t wait to read about the rest of the wonderful stories from the Stepovoya Orphanage.

I am continually amazed at how God has connected the dots over the past sixteen years. Sveta and I have made ourselves available, and God has used us. (Dennis Lennon shared this phrase with me in 2000, and I have lived it ever since.) The progression of introductions for massage therapy were: Chornomorsk, Froonza Crimea, Dobromel, Marganets, Veleekey Lubin, Mykolaiv, and now Stepovoya.

See all eleven of our massage therapists on our website page.

Glory to God for the great things He has done!

Sveta’s Journey

In the end of February, I received a report from our two new massage therapists in Stepovoya, Natasha and Ira. This is their first month of work. From mid-February, they began to give massage therapy for boys with disability in the Stepovoya Orphanage. All boys have several difficult diagnoses. Many children cannot walk and their leg muscles have atrophied. Massage therapy normalizes the work of internal organs and stimulates blood flow to the skin and muscles, helps to avoid pressure sores, and the immunity is strengthened. Natasha and Ira use a rehabilitation Turbota table. It is difficult to work with a child who is not able to lay flat from head to toe. This table can be adjusted for angles and hold limbs in place while the child is receiving massage treatment.

Mark and I were glad to see, through the written lines of their report, that the hearts of Natasha and Ira are full of love for the children. Seventeen boys received massage therapy for 14 days. Here are excerpts from what our massage therapists wrote:

Anton

I saw small results in 12-year-old Anton. He sits in a chair all day. This lack of exercise negatively effects his digestive system. After 14 day of massage therapy, Anton had a normal stool, and his muscle tension decreased slightly. He likes massage therapy. During massage therapy the boy always gives me a big smile.

Andre

Six-year-old Andre, diagnosed with hydrocephalus, almost from the first day, liked the massage treatment. He always smiles. The boy cannot walk. He sits in the chair all day, so massage therapy has good benefits to his circulation.

Igor

Cerebral palsy on the lower limbs of 16-year-old Igor led to atrophy of the leg muscles, especially from the knee to the foot. He also has strong contractures in his joints. During the first massage treatment, he immediately relaxed and smiled. Igor especially liked the fact that I was talking to him. Igor is not able to speak. The massage experience for him was so calming, 30 minutes was like 1 minute, one breath of air. Igor spends most of the day in a sitting position and therefore massage therapy has a big effect on his circulation.

Sasha

Fifteen-year-old Sasha was nervous during the first massage treatment. On his third visit, thanks to the establishment of trusting relationships, calm music and warm massage oil, Sasha began to relax. A few days later when he saw me, he was so very happy to see me in my new job. He was looking forward to his next massage therapy treatment. Sasha can barely walk, but he can stands, holding on to the wall rail. One leg turns inside. While doing massage therapy, I paid a lot of attention to his foot. As a result, Sasha began to more confidently step on his affected leg. Unfortunately, the affected leg has contractures. My work is aimed at overcoming the spastic condition.

******

The director of Stepovoya does not allow pictures of the children. As we see the progress, we will have to do our best to share vivid word pictures with you. Mark and I are very excited about Natasha and Ira in their additional positions as massage therapists! They have a great love for the children.

Thank you, dear family and friends for your prayers and financial support. These children can receive massage therapy and special attention from our massage therapists because of you. They have such a great need! Mark and I are glad that we are also partnering with you in this good deed just as you are our precious family and friends! Thank you so much!

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

May 2017

Hello family and friends,

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

Mark’s Moments

The War Continues

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

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

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

Veleeky Lubin Orphanage


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

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

Ternava Village School

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

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

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

Dobromel Orphanage

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

April 2016

Hello Family and friends,

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The flowers have popped up, green has flooded our yard, and the fruit trees are all in bloom. Spring has arrived and the warm weather is not far behind.

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Mark’s Moments

What good has come from the war in eastern Ukraine? There are new laws in Ukraine created to remove all images connected with Soviet times. The statues of Lenin are being removed from all cities and communities in Ukraine. The removal of the symbol of the hammer and sickle is also a major change.

A change that you will see in our newsletter, Google Maps, and other professional references, is the name of the city of Illichevsk, the home of MUCH massage therapy. The new name is Chornomorsk, which translates as Black Sea. Illichevsk was named after Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov (Vladimir Illya Lenin), using his patronymic (from the father’s first name), Illya.

These are the first steps in changing the face and the heart of a country.

Sveta and I went to Chornomorsk recently to visit the massage therapy and transportation scholarship programs. Sveta will write about our visit to the massage therapists.

At the Thursday evening service at the Baptist church, I spoke about the MUCH Transportation Scholarship Program. We operate the program through this church. It is always a pleasure to visit with this community. We visited the two university students in our program, Nastya and Natasha. It is so great to watch them grow and mature.

I spoke with Nastya who is studying to be a conductor of music. I see positive change in her personality and confidence. She is very happy for the help that MUCH is giving her and thanks all of the sponsors of MUCH for providing funds for transportation to the university in Odessa each day.

Natasha has one more year of university to complete her degree in English to be a translator. She is very excited about the job that she has in Odessa. She works at the Black Sea hotel at the front desk. Her English skills are very important, as the hotel attracts many tourists. She sends her thanks to all of the sponsors of MUCH.

Children’s ministry has not been a part of the MUCH Program. We do have a great desire to add help for the children to connect with God. During our fourteen years of working with the children, we have definitely “won the right to be heard”. We are beginning a process of finding a short or long term missionary to join us in that capacity.

We were introduced to a Ukrainian at the home where we rented a room during our stay in Chornomorsk. Alla, a young woman, is a pharmacist who has a passion for children’s ministry. When I asked about sharing her passion with the children at the Dobromel Orphanage, she showed a growing interest. We have invited Alla to visit the children with us in September. Sveta and I are very excited about what God will do through Alla. We anticipate that she will travel with us once a year.

Sveta’s Journey

Spring is the time for work in the garden. This is the time when we sow seeds in the ground and expect harvest. Whenever I work in our garden, it reminds me of the children. Children, as the soil in the spring, are ready to receive all that is sown. In this great time of childhood we are able to sow good seeds for the future of children. When we focus only on our needs, it does not fully satisfy our emotions. When we see the needs of others, we enrich our inner satisfaction. I believe that your giving and prayers enrich your essence.

ANNA


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For many years, the parents of 11 month old Anna, dreamed about a second child, but nothing happened. When the wife was 44 years old, their son was 25 years old. Last year, this woman was diagnosed with a tumor in her uterus. Of course, she was very upset and even came to the idea that maybe it was her time to die. She shed many tears, and many different thoughts ran through her mind. In the process of a second opinion, it was discovered that she was pregnant! No one expected this, and no one thought it was possible.

So suddenly, everything changed! The girl Anna was born prematurely, at eight months. On examination she was diagnosed with a weakness in her complete muscular system. When she would cry, her abdomen around her belly button would protrude. Tanya began to give Anna massage therapy at the age of two months. During nine months, Anna has received five, ten-day courses of massage therapy.

The last time the child was examined by the doctor, he canceled the diagnosis originally given. The girl’s muscular development has improved. Now when shy cries, her abdominal muscles hold tightly. Anna, in all parameters, corresponds with normal development. Anna’s mother was very happy and grateful to Tanya and MUCH sponsors who fund this program.

PAUL

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Dr. Natalia always sets achievable goals and meets them. She sees potential for one-year and seven-month old Paul. The child was born with the diagnosis tetra-paresis (muscular weakness of all four extremities). Paul could not sit, crawling, or walk. But after seven days of massage therapy the child began to roll to the side with a little help. He began to take a toy with his left hand and shift it to his right hand. Dr. Natalia relaxed and strengthened his hip and shoulder joints and then increased range of motion in these joints. During work on his joints, the boy cried. This is a very painful procedure, but it is necessary. Dr. Natalia taught his mother to do special exercises at home. She said that for this baby, ten days of massage therapy is necessary, and then ten days of rest. This will develop the production of motor skills, making the proper neurological connections. This must continue for at least six months.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Massage therapy and computer classes are changing the health and education of the children at the Dobromel Orphanage. Massage Therapy and the Transportation Scholarship Program in Chornomorsk are giving new opportunities to infants, children, and college or university students. In Marganets, children’s lives are being changed in big ways in three different organizations though our Clothing Program. The children are changing from disabled to more abled, less teachable to more teachable, and poor self images to better self images.

We are grateful to God that He blesses all of these programs, and we see how He acts in His love! We also are overwhelmed at how He is providing for all of these things through you, our faithful supporters. Thank you!

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

 

August 2013 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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

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Ivan wears the “Adele” suit

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Living my dream,
Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta