Category Archives: Special needs children

July 2021

Hello family and friends,
It has been a challenging year and a half with the pandemic. We pray that all is on the mend in your lives and those that you love. Sveta and I looked back on our adventure with leaks in our house while the second floor was being added. At the time, it was a great challenge. The Bible helped us keep things in perspective. 1 Peter 5:10, NASB: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

Mark’s Moments

Dobromel Orphanage

The seaside camp in Odessa region receives special needs children from special need orphanages throughout Ukraine. The Dobromel Orphanage sent their twenty true orphans to this seaside camp in the Odessa region. Something special happens when children see the vast sea in front of them. It is the biggest bathtub they have ever seen. This bathtub is more like a carnival ride, with never ending waves, whitecaps, sand bars and breakers.

In the Carpathian Mountains, our children are used to a very different environment. At the beach, the children are investigating an entirely new ecology. They are introduced to sea creatures that live in shells, sand crabs, star fish, sea horses, and many more kinds of life are there for them to experience.

Natasha, our massage therapist, and another staff member at the orphanage accompanied the children. After missing going to camp last summer because of COVID-19, it is a pleasure for these two to accompany the children!

Sveta’s Journey

Physical Leader Clinic In Chornomorsk

During five years Ilya has been undergoing a massage program, including special physical exercises to master new motor skills. This helps him to improve his coordination of movements and the quality of balance. Ilya’s mother celebrates the success of her child in reading and mathematics, improved memory and attention!

Dr. Natalia’s team works with each child in a comprehensive manner. Massage therapy, physical exercises aimed at acquiring or improving motor skills that are not developed, and specific massage therapy to improve speech. Parents are instructed on how to help their child at home, maintaining results between massage treatments. Usually this is a long process. During the massage treatment, the massage therapist works with the parents to recommend certain physical exercises to consolidate the results achieved.

Three-year-old Misha suffers from microcephaly (a significant decrease in the size of the skull and, accordingly, the brain). He has a delay in motor and speech development. For Misha, this was the first course of massage treatment with Dr. Natalia. Before meeting her, the child’s mother took Misha to various rehabilitation centers, including the famous Gold Angel Center in Odessa, without results. To his mother’s delight, she saw clear results after the third massage of a fifteen day treatment program. The results were: Misha became calmer and more attentive, and she also noticed an improvement in his speech. Many parents of children with disabilities watch anxiously to see the slightest changes in their child. Misha’s mom is very grateful to our mission and sponsors for such a wonderful opportunity that opened up for her son! Dr. Natalia and her team will continue to work with Misha. They watch most attentively as Misha shows positive dynamics.

Living my dream,
Sveta

We are so grateful to all of you who sponsor our children, making it possible for them to receive massage therapy treatment and complimentary exercise. The children thank you. Their parents are, at times, speechless when they see the results.
When MUCH began in 2004, there were no treatments available for children with disabilities. We began by setting an example of what could be done. We showed a new “quality of life” and value toward these children. The massage therapists whom God has prepared for MUCH to enable are showing their communities new hope through their work. Change is taking place in the live of the children, their parents, and their communities because of you contributions, prayers, and sharing of our stories. All of us in Ukraine thank you for your focus upon our children!

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

 

March 2021

Hello family and friends,
Mark’s Moments

Update on Maria

In the February MUCH newsletter, we highlighted the story of Maria. It is amazing how God works. Sveta and I began attending a different church on the opposite side of Mykolaiv in February. Surprisingly, it is located about a half mile walk from Maria’s home. Enna, who also goes to this church, accompanies Sveta’s and my visit to Maria every Sunday after church. We pray for her healing, believing that she will have a new life with a new purpose.

Dobromel Orphanage For Children with Disabilities
Five years ago, Luba, the Dobromel Orphanage (for children with disabilities) librarian, asked to talk with me. She wanted to teach the children computer skills in the library. There were a number of computers already in the library, but the majority of the children did not know how to operate them. She saw a possibility for her to become more than a part time school librarian. Could she use her organizational skills to create a unique learning environment for the children?
As we talked about the children, Luba wanted to know about my expectations for the success of the children. I explained to her that I anticipated that it would take a long time to see big results. I was looking positively at the long term potentiality. Could a child learn to use a program that they could use in a job? If not that, maybe a computer skill that would improve their own personal quality of life.
Now, five years later, Luba has shown that she inspires the children to become something more than they were. Her work with the children with disabilities has created a new interest for them in their other classes. The teachers are very enthusiastic about the children’s new interests in education in general.
Sveta’s Journey
Dobromel Orphanage Computer Class
Maria is in the sixth grade. She is very active. For Maria to sit in one place for an extended time would be a great feat for her. She is neat and well organized. Her physical and intellectual development is normal for her age. Maria reads very well. This skill flows to her development of typing skills on the computer keyboard. Her typing proficiency is coming along more quickly than expected.
In the classroom, Maria is active, and hungers for new knowledge. She enjoys learning various programs on the computer and even more so, on the computer tablet. When introduced to a new program or game, she absorbs the content and puts it to use quickly
Stephan is in the tenth grade. He is an average student in the areas of knowledge, skills, and abilities in his academic subjects. He always wants to be the first, and strives for new knowledge, with pleasure. Luba is his teacher. As she challenges his knowledge, he performs with about 90% correct answers.
Using the keyboard has improved his knowledge of the Russian alphabet. Along with this, his reading skills have become better. When asked to read aloud, Stephan’s pronunciation is still not very clear. He seems to learn new material well. As long as it is in his short term memory, he can retrieve it. Once in long term memory, he needs to be reminded, to hook on to the previously studied material.
Misha is in the ninth grade. He is also hungry to know everything that he is able to digest. His attention has become more focused. Misha is no longer distracted and can keep his attention on the task for a longer time. He is now better able to orient himself in time and space. His memory has improved. Previously, it was difficult to understand Misha when he spoke. Now his speech has improved. He still stutters often, especially when he is worried. Compared to last year, Misha has become purposeful, balanced, and calm.
Luba has adjusted a computer program for Sergei. Even though he is in the ninth grade, he functions at a low level of education. Sergei digests concepts and develops his thinking at a slower pace than his peers. He cannot draw elementary conclusions and has a limited vocabulary. During the conversation, he worries and stutters. Sergei is prone to emotional breakdowns, and his attention is unstable. When he is told what he is to do next, he often needs to have his instructions repeated. Last year Sergei did not want to do the same task for more than ten minutes, but now he has become more patient. He began to understand the meaning of a computer game and its goals. He types slowly, trying to learn how to use both hands.
Luba sees that teaching computer skills is useful for children. It develops their ability to gain knowledge and apply it in practice. Their aesthetic interests are cultivated. Developing computer skills also increases personal creativity, attention, ingenuity, and contributes to the development of logical thinking in these students. Since children have different levels of ability and learning, Luba has an individual approach with each child and prepares lessons according to their personality and mental capability. She is pleased with the results she sees with her students. The fact that for some of the children it takes several years to accomplish the desire results, Luba remains pleased. It is so wonderful to be happy with what you are doing for the children and especially if you are doing it for the children with disabilities!
Living my dream,
Sveta
Sveta and I are so very grateful to all of you who read our stories, share our stories with your friends, pray for the children, Sveta and me, and for those who share financially. All of you are what makes MUCH move forward. Thank you for your participation. God Bless You!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta
You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:
http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

It is not Santa Claus or children’s stories that this season is about,

But rather it is children, be they tall or short, thin or stout.

All children need to be told the truth, while they are very young,

That Christmas is a relationship about which songs are sung.

Society can try to change the meaning with decorations and things,

But it will always be the Christ Child for which the season rings.

Yet, it is not a relationship for a season,

For the Christ Child came for an eternal reason.

He came to be with you every day,

To be a part of your life in every way.

God came as the Christ Child to communicate with you and me,

He sent His Son not only to set us free.

God wants a relationship with us as His children every day,

Not for a season, or a holiday, or to celebrate in some mystic way.

So tell the children while they are young and can believe,

The story of the true Christmas, that they may always retrieve.

Let it be deep in their minds and warm in their hearts,

That relationship with the Christ Child would never be apart.

The children are the future, they should be our main focus,

We must teach them truth, not some magical hokus pokus.

The Ukrainian children pictured above,

From the transition home, are desperately in need of truth and love.

Tell the children so they may hear the true Christmas story today.

Let them have the chance for relationship with God in every way.

Relationship with God is the reason for the Christmas Season!

Have a very merry of Christmas this year!

Mark and Sveta

November 2020

Hello family and friends,
The roof is on the house, the windows and doors are installed, Sveta and I are insulating the attic, and winter has arrived. We completed phase one of our project, six weeks past our deadline, and $300 over budget, but we are very happy with how things are at this point. The exchange rate was 26 -28 UAH per $1.00 over the five month period. As stated in previous newsletters, this project is funded with Sveta’s and my personal savings. There is plenty of work to do in phase two. Pictures will be in the January newsletter.

This year our Christmas fundraiser will have three ways to donate.
1. You are welcome to donate by check or PayPal as before.
2. If you use Facebook for social media, you can create a fundraiser for MUCH on your Facebook page, asking your friends to donate. We will send directions of how to do this on December 6. It is very easy to do.
3. If you are unsure, you can make a regular donation and try the Facebook fundraiser.

Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope received $59.61 from the AmazonSmile Foundation for the third quarter! Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice (Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope) we hope. Shopping through AmazonSmile for your Christmas gifts is the easiest way to donate to Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope. It adds up when you shop AmazonSmile!

Mark’s Moments

You haven’t heard much from our massage therapists. Recently, Sveta asked our massage therapists to respond to this question. “How has being a massage therapist for MUCH touched or changed your life?” Here are answers from two of our fourteen therapists in their own words:

Albina wrote:
When I come to the Transition Home, I understand that what I am doing is necessary for the children. Most importantly, I share my love with them. I give them a massage, but also the opportunity to feel wanted and needed. I have a child of my own. I understand perfectly how important this is, especially when the child orphan.
In return, children give me pleasure through their sincere communication. They are all different, and each is interesting in their own way. Even on the most difficult days, coming to them, I can rest my soul and get recharged with positive emotions for a long time.

Alla wrote:

I was surprised by your question. I had already begun thinking about noticeable changes in my life. I thought to myself, “How did she know?…” Then I understood that it was by her own experience. In a word, my daily routine is significantly saturated. I work from 9 to 5. I used to run home to rest. Now, after work I give a massage, sometimes a few. I’m getting tired. But this is a pleasant weariness. It is because I feel much worse when there is no one to receive my massage.

I am in constant tension. Will there be anything to write a report about at the end of the month. During my first months, there was a general nervousness. This is worse. So let there be a lot of massage recipients. When there is someone to receive my massage, the feeling of being useful, needed, and doing good is added to the feeling of pleasant fatigue. Periodically, my feelings are supported by visible results in my patients.
I understand intellectually that everything is in God’s hands, but I still worry and get nervous every month. I confess, there was the thought: “Why do I need this? I am nervous, with constant tension, and am under pressure. I can’t sleep, eat, or rest until there are children on the horizon who need me.” This is my life now. There are the pros and cons. As I am writing to you I am thinking: “If I knew then what I know now, would I have said yes to becoming a massage therapist? My answer is “yes.” I choose the challenge over an empty and less meaningful life. Thank you for your question and concern. God’s blessings!

 

I remember when I first came to Ukraine as a missionary. It was a great challenge. Even so, I soon found more purpose in my life that ever before. This is what I see happening in the lives of our massage therapists.

Sveta’s Journey

For different reasons, many parents abandoned their children immediately after their birth. When their child is found to have extreme diagnoses, some parents make extreme decisions. Many decide to give away their child. No one can judge them. Perhaps, in the future, many of them regret their actions. Others, perhaps in an alcoholic fog, do not even remember that they have a child.

But thank God that these boys found a home and family in an orphanage in the village of Stepovoya. Here they are loved, the employees try to organize the lives of the children. They provide social relationships with other people, taking place in the limited space of the orphanage. Aside from social skills children are taught basic life skills.

When Andre’s mother brought him to the orphanage, he was twelve years old, but he could not sit, or walk. During his first year at the orphanage, Andre learned to walk and sit a little.

Eleven-year-old Anton, has numerous complex diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, congenital anomaly of the brain, and profound mental retardation. When he recently arrived at the orphanage, he received massage therapy for the first time in his life. Every day, the massage therapist, with the help of another caregiver, tries to teach Anton to stand and walk with support. They believe that their persistence will lead to at least a partial improvement in the child’s condition. This has happened more than once with other children at this orphanage. When you put your heart into a child with love, patience and faith, God manifests different types of miracles.

Eleven-year-old Denis has cerebral palsy. He lived with his mother and brother in a one-room apartment. Seven years ago his mother brought him to the orphanage because she did not know how to help her child. Subsequently, his mother died. His older brother, who was registered in a psychiatric hospital, embarked on a slippery path to crime. The child perceived massage therapy absolutely without emotion. But after a while Denis began to recognize the massage therapist with a smile.

Seventeen-year-old Nick’s leg muscles atrophied due to cerebral palsy. The child also has profound mental retardation. Boy has contractures in his knee and foot joints. While receiving massage therapy, Nick began to smile for the first time. He spends most of the day in a wheelchair, and therefore massage is very important for him. This treatment helps prevent bedsores.

Dan’s parents refused to even look at him in the maternity hospital. The child has severe mental retardation. But this does not prevent him from being the first mate for adults. He is always going somewhere. He is often running, and seldom sits still. He is very talkative, and loves to listen to music. Massage therapy brings great pleasure to Dan. For him, it is like rest for an adult after a hard day at work.

Boys are deprived of the warmth and care of their relatives. These functions are performed by Natasha and Ira, our MUCH massage therapists. They are staff members at the orphanage.
Natasha and Ira told us that they love the children very much. When they provide massage therapy, they simply pass on their love to the children, not even thinking that this is work.
Through your financial contributions, our therapists are changing the lives of so many children. Can you imagine the breakthrough of seeing a child smile for the first time. You made that happen! Thank you so much for your interest in the children of 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

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

May 2020

Hello family and friends,

Mark’s Moments

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

Please Donate

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

March 2020

Hello family and friends,

Our apricot trees are starting to blossom, but they hesitate, waiting for the final frost of the season.

Our church service was divided into home groups of ten people each. The busses are running less often, and limiting passengers to ten at a time. Few people are out and about. Sveta and I, our family and friend remain healthy. Life moves forward.

Mark’s Moments

Our Patricia Koehler Memorial Transportation Scholarship Program continues! In 2007, the program sponsored its first two students. Since that time, five students have graduated university through our program. Nastya, our most recent graduate, is a conductor of music. Her program required eight years of study. She married last summer! This year, MUCH sponsors three students from three villages.

Daniel, 19 years old, is in his fourth year of college, studying radio technology. He wants to expand his education. The field of anesthesiology has caught his interest. As he studies this medical application, he will also learn how to apply his college training, and advance his university training to repair anesthesiology machines. Daniel will continue his education with the help of MUCH for another four years.

Julia’s mother, Daniel, and Julia

Julia, also 19 years old, is in her second year of university. She is majoring in Economics. She is one of five children in her family. Two of her brothers are married. Julia’s parents and other siblings are living in Poland as missionaries. Her father started a church to minister to the Ukrainian labor force in one city in Poland. Julia’s mother, Svetlana, was in Chornomorsk the night that Sveta and I visited the students. She made a special effort to visit us to express how grateful she and her husband are. I met Svetlana, Valodya, and their young family in 2002. They have struggled financially all of their lives. They send MUCH sponsors a very BIG THANK YOU!

Anya is 17 years old. She is in her first year of university, studying computer technology. She rides three different busses, taking one and a half hours each way. Her goal is to be a computer programmer, and work from her home. Also, she wants to use her new knowledge to help her church with different projects. Her father is drawing his pension. He fought in the Afghanistan war. Her mother operates a personal greenhouse, but only receives a decent seasonal wage.

Sveta’s Journey


We think that you will like our 2 minute video that compliments these stories: Mentally Challenged Children Learn to read using the computer.
Julia is 13 years old. She has changed a lot over the past seven years since I first met her. This precious child arrived at the orphanage in Dobromel from a Baby House. She was diagnosed as “Mild mental retardation”. Her parents were deprived of parental rights. Julia often cried, was embarrassed by her peers, separated herself from the other children, and strove for loneliness.

For these seven years, Julia has repeatedly received massage therapy. She had flat feet and scoliosis. Our MUCH massage therapist, Natasha, achieved good physical and psychological results.

 

 

Four years ago, Julia began studying how to use a computer. This was not so easy for her and for other children with intellectual disabilities. These lessons are taught by our MUCH sponsored teacher, Luba, in the orphanage library.

Julia became sociable, looking for communication with adults and with children. In her efforts to study the computer she is very happy about the smallest results! Learning to use the keyboard helps Julia learn letters and build words and sentences. She is learning to read.

Luba works with students from the sixth to tenth grade inclusively. These children have emotional-volitional disorders and other difficult diagnoses. For girls and boys this is a favorite lesson. After all, the children not only learn, but also play on the computer. Luba uses special developmental game/programs that are “initial computer science for children.” Educational games inspire the children to learn.

Basically, all children are unable to focus on one topic for an extended period of time, so Luba motivates them to learn in various ways. At first they may play on tablets and computers, and then they have to do scholastic work on the computer or vice versa.

Mary is 13 years old. She is very emotional and impulsive. She has a mild intellectual disability. It’s hard for Mary to focus on a specific subject. Her attention is unstable and distracted. Because of her inconsistent and slow thinking, it is difficult for a her to remember the material that is taught. She gets tired quickly.

Thanks to the keyboard simulator, Mary studies the arrangement of letters on the keyboard. She is learning how to properly use and perform basic operations with the mouse. These lessons help Mary to focus and keep her attention on a given topic. Thinking through her actions, she is learning to make rough projections about her day.

Victor is 11 years old. His attention is unstable, his perception is slow, the child remembers the material after much repetition, he cannot draw conclusions on his own. But despite this, Victor knows all the letters, and reads the words. Victor cannot practically retell the contents of what he has read, but he answers the questions well. He is a very neat student. He creates clean calligraphic writing. In the classroom, Victor is calm and wants to seek new knowledge. He comes to computer class with joy and Luba is very pleased with him!

Luba hopes that the skills that children acquired in her lessons will be useful in their future lives.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Thank you for your interest in our newsletters, our children, and Sveta and me. May God keep you healthy and safe in this challenging time.

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

August 2019

Hello family and friends,

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

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

Mark’s Moments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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

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

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

 

July 2019

Hello family and friends,

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Mark’s Moments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

Some achievements of our little friends!

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

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

The heartbreaking story of Anna

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

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

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

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

You can Donate here

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

 

June 2019

Hello family and friends,

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

Mark’s Moments

Stepovoya

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

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

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

Children everywhere love to have their pictures taken.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Ovidiopol

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

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

Transition Home in Marganets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta