Category Archives: Special needs children

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

May 2018

Hello family and friends,

What can you do with $10 in America?

We can do MUCH more in Ukraine with $10!

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

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

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

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

We need your Help!

Donate

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

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

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

Donate

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How necessary it is for these children to receive massage!

Living my dream,

Sveta

Donate here!

Change Ukraine a little bit at a time!

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

August 2017

Hello family and friends,

Sveta and I will be in America between October 14 and November 28, give or take a day. If any of you would like us to visit with you, we would be very happy to do so. Please reply to this newsletter, or write to us at [email protected]

After a very hot July, the first half of August challenged our patience. Finally, the temperatures cooled and the gentle rains visited us. We had a productive vegetable garden this summer. The fruit trees are producing more each year.

Life is good for us in Ukraine. Our son is finished with all connect with the military. He is back to work in his old job. His wife has started an internet based clothing design business. Her business is keeping her busy. Our daughter is doing well with her home based hair care business. Her husband is working in a family remodel business, and has started a rabbit farm. The grandchildren, ages 8, 7, 6 and 3, are showing interest in piano, swimming, dance, and organizational concepts.

Mark’s Moments

When I moved to Ukraine in 2002, my general focus was to provide humanitarian aid for children. MUCH moved forward in this direction. As we did, we saw something missing in this lives of the children. That something was knowledge of God. Communicating with the children, we saw a void of love, compassion, and involvement of adults in their lives. Who would tell the children about God? Who knew about God to tell the children. I have learned that in many cases, the children learn about God and draw their parents to church.

MUCH has always been a Christian organization. Who we are is not changing. What we do is not changing. Our goals are expanding, growing from sound roots.

As we put more focus on education, we will use that connection to draw the children to God. We are taking example from Ukraine Challenge, who have been providing camp experiences for children for many years.

We are talking with local translators about camps that focus on sports, English language, games,and maybe life skills. These topics will lead to discussion about God. That is the general goal. Finding enough people to staff the camps is a challenge. We will also be looking to short term missions to come help us.

Our church in Mykolaiv is providing camps for local children from schools in our district. They held three camps this summer. They were short on staff at times. Never-the-less, we want to build a team to help Yura and Dasha in Shostakovo, (July newsletter), provide a camp for the children of the three villages that attend the Shostakovo school. Yura is building church community in these villages as a spiritual leader. Dasha teaches at the school, so the two of them have the perfect opportunity to follow-up the camps with regular get-togethers with the children.

We would like to do this with each village school as God provides the people and the funding. The first step is building a relationship with the children and the school through provision of education equipment. As the school administration come to understand who we are, we can offer to provide a Christian camp experience for the children. If they agree, we need to be prepared to staff a camp. Our end goal is to connect the children to a church or Christian youth organization in their area.

Sveta’s Journey

The Transition Home in Marganets is a nine month waiting facility for children taken from difficult homes. They will be placed in a foster home, or an orphanage/boarding school. These children are very emotionally troubled. Children in the Transit Home do not have many physical limitations, but they have a huge number of emotional and psychological problems. Their character was formed under adverse conditions. Now, being in Transit Home, each of them is waiting for the decision of their destiny and this is stress for these children.

Massage therapy improves the psychological and emotional sphere for these children. Our massage therapist, Yana, has been working at this facility for only seven months. During this time, she gave massage treatment for 35 children. Six of them underwent two courses. Yana, with her personal character, such as kindness and a gentle individual approach to each child, compassion and a great desire to help these children in their difficult times, helps them to receive a partial healing of their wounded soul.

From several of Yana’s reports, I will show the emotional results in a couple of pictures. They show happier, more content children. I think that it will help you to see how much help Yana provides for the children.
1. Natasha was afraid to be touched. She gradually got used to Yana’s gentle touch. After each massage treatment she became more calm and balanced and her emotional state improved.

2. Igor had frequent colds and was sometimes whiny. After the massage treatment, his mood and his general condition improved.

3. All massage treatments for Vanya were accompanied by communication. At first, he was sharp, rude, and made many claims to others. After several days of massage treatment Vanya became more gentle and his emotional state improved.

4. Marina was a restless, irritable girl, at first she did not want to take off her clothes before the massage treatment. By the third procedure she began to undress herself. By the fourth treatment the girl began to perform all the physical exercises that must be performed after the massage treatment. Marina stopped becoming irritable and nervous.

5. Dima gladly accepted all the procedures, happy for the attention. At first he only smiled and nodded his head at all of Yana’s questions. By the fifth procedure Yana heard him speak his first words.

6. Nina is very kind; she answers questions with pleasure. She likes to sing songs during the massage therapy. Her posture needed attention. The massage treatments provided better posture for Nina. At the end of each procedure, Yana and Nina always hug each other.

7. Valya answered Yana’s questions inaudibly, she was a very touchy child and demanded increasing attention. After several days of massage treatment, Valya began to trust Yana and she changed a lot.

To remove psychological stress, to calm the child and develop a positive attitude to his or her body and to him or herself as a person, massage therapist Yana selects relaxing techniques of classical massage and individual methods of communication with the child. Thanks to this, the child experiences a feeling of emotional connection with Yana and trusts her. This allows the child to acquire a state of psychological security and improves the child’s development process.

Thank you for making it possible to bring Yana on to our team. Thank you for caring our children here in Ukraine. It is a big job, and it is growing each year. This year we will touch the live of more than 700 children through massage therapy, education, and clothing. The children thank 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

March 2017

Hello family and friends,

In 2014, we moved into our unfinished home in Mykolaiv. Each year we make improvements, making the house warmer, drier, and cozier. Sveta was working in the garden this week and her eyes twinkle once again. I am ready to finish the external insulation of the house and am making plans for the workshop/summer kitchen. God has blessed us abundantly with our little home.

Mark’s Moments

The hearts of our two new massage therapists in Mykolaiv are on fire. Each therapist began to reach out to their community, offering home visit massage therapy for children with different diagnoses. They began in January and are building their clientele. This has been working out well. We are seeing results in the first month of treatment.

Anya in Mykolaiv

Anya is working with Philip who is diagnosed with hyperactivity. Home visits are a bit more difficult. Finding a work surface that is comfortable for the massage therapist, and is comfortable for the child, can be a challenge. Another situation that the therapist must deal with in the home visit is the presence of siblings. In this situation, Philip is calmed by watching cartoons while Anya focuses on the massage treatment.

Oksana in Mykolaiv

Oksana is working with George, 14 years old. His diagnosis is kyphoscoliosis. His spine is curved forward more that normal in the shoulder area. Also, you may be able to see in the picture that his spine is also curved side to side instead of being straight up and down.

George complained of upper back pain. He received a 20-day massage therapy treatment. His mother saw changes in George’s posture and emotional composure. His pain was alleviated and George was feeling much better.
Oksana bought her own massage table and treats some of her clients in her home. Her work is straight from her heart. She has two small children of her own at home.

A Deeper Passion

This month, as Sveta has been talking with the our therapists, they are asking about another possible opportunity to serve children. In Mykolaiv, there is an orphanage that serves children with physical disabilities. Our therapists are very interested in investigating the feasibility of focusing their work on the children at the orphanage. This sounds very good to me!

Sveta’s Journey

Dr. Natalia in Chornomorsk

Ilya lives in Chornomorsk. He began to receive massage therapy when he was 1 year old. This timely treatment that we call “early intervention” makes new connections in the brain while the brain and body continues to develop.

Through massage therapy, the “walking” motor skills are trained to develop correctly. The muscle tone of the weaker muscles is improved, and the opposing muscles can now develop together. This causes the brain to work correctly.

Ilya was not interested in the world around him; he could not speak or walk. Step by step there was progress. At first he learned to crawl. It was not easy to achieve such an activity. Then he began to say some words. Although this is normal for healthy children and it happens easily, for Ilya this was the result of much time, and the joint work of Dr. Natalia, Ilya’s mother, and grandmother.

During the last five years, his mother and grandmother have done their best to help the child. All of these years, Ilya has received help from MUCH by receiving massage therapy. Dr. Natalia saw how difficult life was for Ilya’s family and she has also contributed to their need. Last year she invited Ilya’s mother to work as an administrator in her center.

Today, Ilya is speaking well and intelligently. He can construct complex sentences. This is a great achievement for a child with his diagnosis. This little boy learned to walk somewhat independently relying on a moving object (chair). Dr. Natalia believes Ilya has promise and she plans to teach him to walk without support. She wants to improve his intellectual potential so that by the age of nine, he will be prepared to attend a special school.

It is a long process. Even so, when we see such extreme progress, we can better understand the long term value of the work that our massage therapists are doing every day.

Marganets School #3

The Marganets School #3 students are very enthusiastic about sports. MUCH has provided the equipment and team shirts; the teacher provides the education and leadership; and the students provide the energy and joyful noise.

Now the children really feel that they are a team! They are united not only by their desire to take part in competitions, but also by wearing the same uniforms, they feel like a real sports team! Their teacher, Igor, is always grateful to you, dear friends, for such great support. He thanks you for helping him do his job better.

Also at School #3, about thirty children participate in the clothing program. Orphaned children and those who live in poverty are in great need of clothing, particularly in the winter months. MUCH provides funds for these needs each month.

You would have to meet the children to truly understand their great need. They are very thankful! Even so, their lives are so challenging, it is difficult to see smiles on their faces for very long.

The children thank you for your care about them!

Yana is our new massage therapist. She began this new program for MUCH at the Marganets Transition Home in January 2017. Children who come to this place may not need physical healing, but their wounded hearts need healing. Interacting with children through massage therapy treatment, the massage therapist not only touches their muscles but also their souls.

Almost all the children did not want to undress to receive massage therapy. When asked to do so, they looked at Yana suspiciously. She did not insist. Rather, with patience, she lovingly spent time with children, chatting and preparing their hearts to trust her. On the third day, the children agreed that Yana could give them massage therapy.

She worked at establishing a trusting relationship. Some teenage boys have ceased to be cruel and loud. One girl name Anya was restless and irritable. At first she did not want to do physical exercises and did not want to take off her clothes for the massage therapy. She started undressing herself by the third procedure, and on the fourth visit, she did all the exercises with pleasure. She especially liked to blow up the balloons, an exercise for her lungs.

Vanya was happy to participate in all of the procedures. At first, he only smiled and nodded his head at all of Yana’s questions. From the fifth procedure, she heard the first words from his mouth.

Our dear friends, thank you for helping us touch the lives of these precious children. God bless you and your children!

Living my dream,

Sveta

Nine MUCH massage therapists in five cities in Ukraine are changing the future of this country. Maybe one of our children receiving massage therapy will make a great contribution to Ukraine, or the world. A more concrete reality is that by setting examples of compassion and human rights for these children of great need, communities are changing their mentality. People see hope, and are standing up to speak for children who cannot speak for themselves.

Thanks to each of you who read our newsletter, share our stories with your friends, and lift us up in prayer as we continue to follow God, sharing His blessings with the children of Ukraine.

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

September 2016

Hello family and friends,

Our search for God-led people to join our mission continues. We are looking for people to fill the positions of children’s ministry and tech support ministry. If you or someone that you know has a passion for children, please share our website www.muchhope.org with them. We can be contacted at [email protected]

Sveta and I traveled in September. We rode in the train for nineteen hours from Mykolaiv to Lviv, northwestern Ukraine. There, we met the director of an orphanage for children with disabilities that is located in the village of Veleeky Lubin. He and his driver took us to the orphanage to investigate their needs in respect to the philosophy of MUCH. From there we rode in a bus to Cambir where we changed buses to continue on to Dobromel, a total of two more hours. After spending five days with the children of the Dobromel Orphanage, we rode in a bus to Lviv, and then in the overnight train to Kiev. There we stayed two days with friends who coordinate the Ukraine Challenge mission. It is always good to talk with our friends and other Americans who are visiting on short term mission trips.

Mark’s Moments

Veleeky Lubin
Stepan Yoceepoveech, the director of Veleeky Lubin Orphanage, showed us classrooms, their medical rooms, a fully functional dental room, and the playground. He and his wife, who is the nurse, shared a small lunch with us. Sveta’s and my goal was to see if they had needs similar to dscn3884those at the Dobromel Orphanage. It was very clear to us that they had all of the material equipment that they needed. So, how could MUCH help?

The same as the Dobromel Orphanage, they did not have additional teachers to teach computer classes. They have a beautiful computer room. It seems that the government likes to give the appearance of a fully operational orphanage, but in reality, they are not interested in committing money to the monthly cost of additional teachers for the program. They do not have a massage therapy program for the children, but they do understand the need. We are investigating different possibilities.

For MUCH to begin new programs, after they are approved by the Board of Directors, such as funding a computer teacher and/or a massage therapist, we will need more regular monthly support. The support that operated the clothing program in Marganets that we recently closed will support one massage therapist at $100 per month. We would need an additional $62 per month to support a computer teacher. If you have friends who are passionate about children, particularly children in Ukraine, please share our story with them.

Sveta will share about our time with the children at the Dobromel Orphanage in Sveta’s Journey.

dscn4150Our time in the Kiev area, north central Ukraine, was centered in Voronkiv, at a church camp. The church provides camp for three weeks in the summer for children with disabilities.

Buddy and Janada, coordinators (and much more) of Ukraine Challenge (UC), took us to visit three other churches that UC is sponsoring. These churches are in the process of being built or expanding. It was exciting to see hunger for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these villages and small communities on the edges of cities.
dscn4168 dscn4171 dscn4173
We talked about many things with Buddy and Janada. Most important to me, we talked about our purpose as missionaries in Ukraine. Their twenty-one year of service to Ukraine and our fourteen year of service to Ukraine approach the same goal. We are helping the people of Ukraine help themselves to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ through action and word. It is an honor for me to be a missionary in Ukraine, being part of this country in the midst of change.

Sveta’s Journey
The Dobromel Orphanage is my favorite place of all the places that Mark and I visit. Maybe it is because I lived in the orphanage while I gave the twenty-day massage therapy demonstration that started the program there. I always look forward to meeting with the children and our team of two massage therapists and two teachers for the computer classes. Children greet us, and every day during the week we hug them, talk with them, and take their pictures. Whenever I hug the children, I use this great opportunity to pray for them and bless them. I see in their eyes a big need for love and acceptance.

This year, the Ukrainian Ministry of Education (MOE) has finally created an official computer class and provided a teacher. The program created by the MOE teaches theory only, and is taught only two hours a week. When the teacher began her first class, she was very surprised to see what the children already knew about the practical application of computer. Because she was hired by the MOE, she is required to teach the given curriculum.

Therefore, the two computer teachers, Olga and Luba, supported by MUCH, will continue their work. Our teachers work with the children five days a week for one hour each day. It is important for these children to learn and apply their experience every day. It is so wonderful that Olga and Luba can choose the programs which are necessary for their particular group of children and also create an individual plan for the different learning style of each child.

dscn4034Olga not only teaches children computer skills, but she also encourages each child with hugs and words of encouragement. She builds nice relationships of trust with the children.
 

dscn4012

Volodya continues to change. I was surprised when I saw this former fidgety, naughty, and wild boy in the computer class. During the whole lesson, Volodya was doing his work patiently and diligently. He was proud and happy to show us the text which he typed. It’s so wonderful to see such a huge change in the lives of these children!

Olga takes a short break in the middle of the lesson. With her fluency in English, she combines learning English words and sentences with physical exercise. The children surprised us with how quickly they grasped what they were taught, in spite of the mental limitations of some of the children. Olga has a great love to help the children. She takes an individual approach with each child.

Luba teaches her computer class in the library. She has a beautiful maternal love and patience for the children. She is instinctive about what programs will help them in the future. In her library, she uses older computers which sometimes lock-up. This causes the children to become upset because they cannot continue their work. They have to turn off the computer and reboot it, taking computer time away from them. When this happens, they look at their classmates with envy.
dsc02745
She also works with two computer tablets provided by MUCH. Luba uses these tablets to work with non-verbal children like Misha. We wrote about him in previous newsletters. This visit he surprised us! He learned several words and began to understand some of the actions that Luba taught him! It is not so easy to teach children like Misha. It requires patience and waiting for the results. Luba has a lot of patience!

With MUCH money we acquired a printer for the library computer class. Children learn to print text and photos with great pleasure!

Olga and Luba began the first month of the school year dsc02793with a review of what they taught last year. It is common for children to forget over the summer what they learned during the previous school year. The children surprised their computer teachers with how much they remembered. It is obvious that the children want to learn how to use the computer. They are very interested in using the computer and are showing great results.

Mark and I saw many physical changes in the orphanage at Dobromel. One example is the newly remodeled adjoining rooms that were created for the massage therapy and exercise programs. A wash basin was also installed in the room for the therapists to wash their hands between massages.

The director of the orphanage always has a vision to improve the quality of life and rehabilitation for the children. The government does not always support his vision financially. With money from MUCH, we helped move some of his projects forward. In future newsletters we will talk more about these projects.

Living my dream,
Sveta

We thank all of you who make our mission a reality! Without your prayers and financial help we could not carry on with our work.

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