Category Archives: Ukraine Missionary

September 2020

Hello family and friends,

Here is the latest quarterly contribution update from AmazonSmile because of your purchases! This is the easiest way that you can contribute to MUCH. When you shop Amazon, make it Amazon Smile.

MUCH received $66.87 last quarter from AmazonSmile. MUCH has received $1,002.32 from AmazonSmile to date.

If you are not shopping AmazonSmile, you can begin  here and choose Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope as the charity that you want AmazonSmile to donate to. You can learn more about this program on this site. 

On June 8 we began a project that would test our patience and build our character. We planned to have the roof removed and add a second floor. As of September 21, the beltway is curing and the wood is being treated with fungicide and fire retardant. 

The roof work will begin next week. Our workers are busy every day. The exchange rate is 28 UAH for every dollar. The cost of living is such that our project is affordable, but still expensive for us. Our personal savings is going a long way on this project.

With fifteen inch thick walls, the inside of the second floor is a little less than eighteen by thirty feet.  

With the exception of the bathroom, the second floor will be one large room. As a multipurpose room, it will house guests, serve as a conference room, small group meeting room, and a room for prayer and healing.

Sveta and I look forward to the day when the windows and doors will be in, the walls will be stuccoed and the first floor corridor complete inside and out.

Mark’s Moments

Before COVID-19 entered Ukraine, I was invited to visit International Messengers. This mission team uses English to draw young people. The director, Caleb, an America missionary, was going to be out of town that Friday. I was asked to come as a native English speaker. It was here that Sveta and I met Dasha, a Ukrainian missionary with International Messengers.

Recently, Dasha visited us in our home from the North side of Mykolaiv. It took about a forty-five minute bus ride and thirty minutes walking. We spent the day talking about missions, her life as a missionary, and the outreach that she does with International Messengers. The discussion finally arrived at a common ground location of our two organizations.

Dasha was looking for opportunities for some of her girls to reach out to help meet the needs of others. It did not take long for me to connect the needs of MUCH children with Dasha’s girls. MUCH children have a very limited social life. Dasha’s girls needed to care for others.

She talked to her girls, Sveta talked with two MUCH massage therapists on Dasha’s side of Mykolaiv, and everyone was in agreement. The children and their parents were ecstatic! As we partner with Dasha, we are eager to see the results.

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Sveta’s Journey

The Transition Home in Marganets has no days off or vacations. Children are moved here all year round. New ones come, some are assigned to families. Some children are returned to their old families, other children are returned from their new families. All of the children dream of becoming a part of a family that will accept and love them.

Here is Maria’s story. Her mother led an immoral lifestyle. She often forgot to pick up her daughter from school and teachers could not find her mother for weeks, so Maria was brought to the Transition Home many times. Maria’s mother was given several opportunities to fix her life, but everything remains the same. As a result, she was deprived of her parental rights and the Transition Home director began to prepare a new family for Maria. This summer, one family took Maria into their lives, but for some reason, two weeks later, they returned Maria to the Transition Home.

Maria continues to dream of living in a family where she is needed. Albina,  the massage therapist, encourages her and helps her to believe that one day she will be in a family. The girl has scoliosis. After the second ten-day course of massage therapy her posture has become much straighter.

Many children pass through the hands and heart of Albina. Since the beginning of this year, 44 children have received massage therapy by Albina, some of them for 2 or 3 courses of ten-day massage. Most of the children who enter the Transition Home do not have physical disabilities. Their pain is in their hearts, wounded souls, with many feeling useless and lonely. Albina brings portions of healing and hope through her interaction with them. We see an amazing value in the outcome from massage therapy for these children! We are constantly seeing very positive results.

Six-year-old Dima was also taken away from his mother, who leads an immoral lifestyle. He lived in the village. His mental development corresponds to the age of a two-year-old child. He does not understand what adults say to him. Dima is hyperactive, and his reaction to massage movements was very violent. It was not easy for Albina to work with this boy. But the results were noticeable. After a ten-day course of massage, Dima began to pronounce some words, and he became somewhat more calm.

How necessary love is for children to correctly develop in all areas of their lives, and then give love to others from themselves!
Living my dream,

Sveta

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Please consider donating to MUCH to help children with emotional problems and those with disabilities improve their quality of life.

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Blessings of love and healing,
 Mark and Sveta

July 2020

Hello family and friends,

Sveta and I hope that this letter finds you happy, healthy, and looking forward to a great August, and a new school year for the children. COVID-19 has challenged the world for more than seven months. Let’s work together to overcome all of the problems in the economy and society that have developed during the pandemic.

In this newsletter, Sveta and I will share two stories about children who are not in the MUCH program. Ukraine, with the lowest GDP per capita in Europe, struggles to provide a bright future for its children. Here are two stories that demonstrate the longing of children to have a better life. They show through the hope in their eyes their desire to grow both in learning and in Spirit.

Mark’s Moments

Three years ago, Sveta met one of our neighbors, Alla, from the next street over, on her way to the city. As time moved forward, we visited our neighbor and her husband on a number of occasions. Our visits were pleasant, and the conversations led to speaking about Christianity, our mission, and their own outreach to an orphaned boy, Kolya. They had taken him under their wing, inviting him to stay with them on the weekends for seven years. They took him to church with them on Sundays, teaching him the spiritual things that he never learned in the orphanage.

Alla’s husband, Volodya, taught Kolya many responsibilities and skills around the house. They worked together in the garden, a mainstay of life in Ukraine.

While living in the orphanage, Kolya took a liking to a certain girl. She was 14, he was 15, (not exactly a Sound of Music story). The girl became pregnant, and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Olga. Because the mother was still attending school at the orphanage, Olga was moved to a Baby House. She lived there until the mother graduated from the orphanage, four years later. The mother took Olga from the Baby House to where she was living. After a short time, the government became aware of her lifestyle of alcohol and boys in the house. Olga was taken from her mother again and placed in an orphanage. She lived in the orphanage for two years.

All of this was happening while Kolya was being shaped and molded into a good father by Alla and Volodya. He and Alla loved Kolya very much. They built his character, and encouraged him to take responsibility for the life that he helped bring into the world. They encouraged him to raise his daughter with a better life than he had lived at the orphanage.

Volodya traveled to Russia to visit with their children and grandchildren. While there, he died suddenly. Alla immediately organized her trip to Russia for her husband’s funeral.

She asked Kolya, a young man now, to care for her ninety-three year old bedridden aunt. Kolya cared for her before and after work. When Alla returned, she decided to sell her house, and take her aunt to live with her in Russia. She offered her house for Kolya to live in while it was on the market.

Alla asked Sveta and me to be a friend to Kolya and Olga. In a sense, the grandparent baton was passed on to us. We received it with pleasure.

This year, Kolya organized his parental documents and brought Olga to live with him. Last week, Sveta and I had a nice surprise. Kolya came to visit us with his daughter, Olga. We had a great time!

We are so happy that both Kolya and Olga have a new life together. This is a type of love that Sveta and I seldom see. We are so happy to be a part of their lives.

Sveta’s Journey

During the quarantine period, Mark and I did not visit our children in orphanages and did not meet with children who receive massage therapy through our mission. But the work continues and we keep in touch with our massage therapists by phone and see the results of their work in their progress reports. We hope to see our lovely little friends again soon!

A couple of weeks ago, our church organized a two day camp for children. This took place on a tiny plot of land not far from the river. Roma, his wife Anya, and their two little girls shared their yard for camp. (Roma, mostly by himself, totally rebuilt what was a little dacha house.) Roma and Anya, who directed the camp, serve children at our church with all their hearts! They have big dreams for the children.

 

It’s so great for kids to spend time together in the outdoors! There was just enough room for six tents. Our 5 year old grand- daughter slept in a tent. What an adventure it was for these city children to experience.

 

 

 

 

The first night the children set up their tents. Later, they had conversation about the two greatest Commandments with Mark and me. Together with the children we discussed these two Bible topics. It was interesting to hear the opinions of children, and their observations. They wrapped up the evening, watching a movie projected on a sheet, between two trees.

 

 

Saturday began, of course, with breakfast. To their surprise, the morning activity was to prepare lunch as a competition between two teams. It was a sight to see. After lunch, the children participated in other competitions and played games! The big event was swimming in the river! After supper Mark and I discussed with the children about building Biblical character in their lives. Finally, the children, exhausted after a long day, did their best to stay awake to watch a movie under the stars!

Cooking dinner was one of the competitions. It was very thrilling and exciting for the children to cook. And for us adults, it was interesting to watch how they did it. They cut carrots, peeled vegetables, marinate meat … When the jury was evaluating the tastiness of the dishes, the children stood and looked with tension at the expression on our faces. Which team’s food was cooked tastier?

This camp compensated for our failed meeting with the MUCH children. It was a pleasure for Mark and me to be a small part of the lives of these wonderful children!
Living my dream,

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Sveta
I think that you could drop a missionary anywhere in Ukraine and he or she would find children in need of love, direction, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are so many children, even within a one mile radius of where we live, we will never run short of the work that God sent us to do. Thank you for reading this newsletter, and thank you to sponsors, and those who pray for the children and Sveta and me.

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Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

February 2020

Hello family and friends,

Good day to you this February afternoon. Sveta and I hope that you are having a great beginning to your year. Ukraine has had a mild winter so far. Today, high winds are uprooting trees in the city, tearing materials from flat rooftops, and tossing around anything that is not tied down.

Mark’s Moments

Back in November, Sveta and I visited an orphanage east of Mykolaiv. We didn’t know the director, but thought that it would be a good opportunity to introduce our massage therapy program to him. For seventeen years I have waited for God to introduce me to the people that He had prepared. This time I didn’t wait. That was my first mistake. When we met the director, we told him that we provided massage therapy for children with disabilities. That was my second mistake. He immediately informed me that there were no children with disabilities in his orphanage. He then made it clear that he had no more time to talk with us.

Two weeks ago, Sveta was invited to participate in a program called “Happy Family.” This seminar was created to prepare individuals to share about morality in the school system. The man leading the seminar was Paul. Sveta and I met him last year when he visited our church. He spoke about his program to help children in the orphanages find families. After the second session of the seminar, Paul invited Sveta and me to visit with him and his wife to chat about our mission.

This introduction was definitely orchestrated by God. The first time that we met, Paul was not ready to initiate massage therapy into his program. Now he was, and he had the facility to do it in. Paul and his wife Elena, have three children of their own and adopted five more. With big hearts for children, they set the example for their program.

Paul and Elena are very in tune with the emotional needs of their adopted children. We discussed our two programs, one in Dobromel, and the other in Marganets, where massage therapy was having great results dealing with emotional needs. Paul told us that they had access to four hundred children in their program that could benefit from massage therapy. I shared how our program works, with training and partial payment. He agreed with the program and said that he would begin searching for two young women who may be interested in becoming massage therapists.

It was a great meeting. When I wait for God’s introductions, thing move forward smoothly. Praise the Lord!

Sveta’s Journey

I am so glad that at the end of the “Happy Family” seminar, we will be able to conduct classes for high school, college, and university students. It is so wonderful to tell children about God’s principles of relationships before marriage. We want to improve and affirm family values before families begin. My heart burns to bring at least one child to an understanding of what God’s will is for the family. When children are becoming adults or parents, they can be happy in the most important place, in the family. This is where they will find understanding, love, support and unlock their potential. I look forward to this wonderful time!
How wonderful it is when children can learn before starting a new family! Perhaps we will never know about our influence on their lives, but I am deeply confident that we can influence children in a positive way. I remember when I was 16 years old I saw an elderly couple. They walked along the street holding hands. During the Soviet Union times this was so unusual. A dream arose in my heart to keep love in my family until my very old age. I wanted to walk hand in hand with my husband. But no one me taught how to raise my children with love and grow together. Only after many years of hardship in my first family, I found God’s love. When I met Mark, my dream came true! According to polls from high school students, they all dream of great pure love. But this love must be received from God and they must learn to grow in love. This is what we will teach.
A constant influx of children flow through the Transition Home in Marganets. Their parents do not know how to raise and love their children. Many have chosen to escape the family challenges in life through alcohol. Children come here with wounded hearts, embittered, unaccepted and misunderstood in the family. This child has been shuffled to the Transition Home and back to her alcoholic parents, for three years.
Of course, they find acceptance here, a partial healing of their soul. Our massage therapist, Albina, has a huge heart for these children. Through massage treatment, children find love, acceptance, and understanding. Some children have physical and medical problems such as scoliosis and bronchitis, but mostly these are children who need emotional and psychological recovery.
And this is where Albina helps them. These two sisters, whose mother cannot provide for her children, are forced to live in the Transition Home, as are many, many other children. In 2019, Albina treated 74 children. The flow of children through this facility is constant. Some come for the day, others live there for up to nine months. Seven of the children that Albina treated received two or three ten-day courses of massage therapy over the one year period.

Thank you very much, dear family and friends, for the financial and prayerful help. Without your support, it would be impossible to provide such great help for MUCH children.
Living my dream,
Sveta

God continues to improve the quality of life for His children. Be a part of it and be blessed! Thank you for your help!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

October 2019

Hello family and friends,

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

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

Mark’s Moments

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

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

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

Massage Therapy Training

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

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

Alex

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

Nick

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

Anya

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

Stas

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

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

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

Living my dream,

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

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 2017

Hello family and friends,

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

Mark’s Moments

The War Continues

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

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

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

Veleeky Lubin Orphanage


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

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

Ternava Village School

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

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

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

Dobromel Orphanage

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

April 2017

Hello family and friends,

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

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

Mark’s Moments

Marganets School #3

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

 

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

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

Marganets Transition Home

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Become a MUCH sponsor and give a donation today!

Sveta’s Journey

Chornomorsk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

Let’s begin today!

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

April 2016

Hello Family and friends,

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

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Mark’s Moments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

ANNA


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

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

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

PAUL

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

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

 

March 2016

 

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In Mid March we had snow flurries! The freezing temperatures come and go, but spring in Ukraine is just around the corner. My friend from Louisiana told me that he plants according to ground temperature, so we are thinking in that direction.DSCN3001

 

 

Our tomatoes are planted and growing toward the sunshine. I knew that those toilet paper rolls would be good for something. — Sveta planted the onions outside yesterday.

 

 

Mark’s Moments

May of 2002, I boarded a plane set for Ukraine. Everything that I owned was packed in two suitcases and a hanging bag. I was moving to Ukraine for the rest of my life, although I was unsure of many things. I was certain of one thing. My faith in God would be tested more than it ever had been. I knew one person in Ukraine and I knew that I would help children. Everything else came to me a day at a time.

It happened that the father of this one person would lead me to Marganets. He would become my manager there. I had money from an American organization that I was to deliver to a church in a city call Illichevsk, wherever that was. July 7 I would begin CDTS (missionary school) in Ternopol, Ukraine for 5 months.

My faith would now be put to a test of time. I settled in Illichevsk in April 2003. By that time I had grown spiritually by leaps and bounds. Even though I was involved in the food program in Illichevsk and my clothing program in Marganets, I had much free time. The American work ethic would not let go. Eight months of waiting for God’s next step for me left me in one big knot of stress. And that led me to the development of the massage therapy program for children with disabilities in March of 2004.

The next twelve years tested my faith in many ways. God was my provider, and I was constantly challenged not to forget that fact. I was introduced to people most unrelated to my mission. Surprisingly, they would unknowingly lead me to a new outreach for the mission. Along the way, there was much down time. Thanks to the missionary school, I learned to hear the voice of God. I developed that relationship, and continue to practice listening for His voice.

Sveta and I met in 2010 and were married in 2011. Together, we look to God for provision. We love the children of MUCH, grow in faith in our church, and grow closer together as “one body, one spirit, one ministry, in Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 4:4)

Sveta’s Journey

Dobromel and Marganets have facilities that we commonly call orphanages. Technically, the term is ‘internat’. The children who live in the facility may be:
– true orphans,
– children whose parents have lost parental rights,
– children who had to leave their homes because of alcohol, drug abuse, or immorality in the family
– children from difficult homes
– children who live in such poverty that the parents are not able to care for them

In addition to these situations, all of the children in the two orphanages that we help have some type of physical or mental disability

The children at the orphanages who do have families, seldom go home or are visited by their parents during the school year. Some do go home for the summer, and sometimes on holidays. For most children, the orphanage is more of a home than any other experience in theirs lives.

The children at the Dobromel and Marganets orphanages require more time to learn what other pupils learn in less time in regular schools. Although education is very important for these children, that which is most important is the care and protection of the children.

DSCN0180Luba is the librarian and also one of the MUCH computer teachers at the Dobromel orphanage. She works very well with the children. She has wonderful compassion for the needs of the children. Her patience is remarkable! She projects her enthusiasm and love to the children.

Normally, Luba teaches five children. Because of her kindness, she has accepted five additional children. Two children must share a chair and a computer, but their hunger to learn about the computer eliminates their comfort zones.

These children need individual instruction. Luba has devised a plan to meet this need. She works with two children at a time who are on the same or similar skill levels. During this time, the other students are paired, a better student with one in need of help. They review the previous lesson and practice.

The children are very excited about learning new computer skills quickly. Luba considers their memory skills and different levels of learning. Some need to repeat and practice to maintain their new skills. It is a challenge for Luba to encourage the children to repeat the process over and over until they grasp the concept. Others have difficulty grasping the concept and putting it into practice.

Last year, we purchased one computer tablet for children in Luba’s class who can not speak. We wanted to see how it would result in contrast to the physical keyboard and monitor computer. We spoke with Luba recently, and she said that the kids really like the touch screen, and they tend to prefer the tablet. But it is too early to acquire more tablets because she must be close to the pupils to control their actions. Many of the children are unpredictable.

Of the 120 children at the Dobromel Orphanage, only 5% of those who have families, have computers at home. The children really like studying computer lessons. Luba uses interesting and easy-to-play games so that children with intellectual and communication disabilities can learn to use the mouse, keyboard, and examine other simple things on the computer. This is a great opportunity for children to learn to use the computer in this boarding school/orphanage. We believe that many of them, even with learning disabilities, will make great progress.

Living my dream,
Sveta

Sveta and I thank you for your interest in our work with the children. They are so very grateful. Their lives are changing in amazing ways. Better health, better education, and new experiences are making their world grow day by day. You are changing their futures. We all thank you for your prayers and support.

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 2013 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,

The first of September fell on a Sunday this year. Even so, the school system brought in the ceremonial First Bell where the children dress in their best clothes or school uniforms and honor the teachers with flowers. The ceremony includes music and speeches, kicking off the school year with enthusiasm and new energy.

For MUCH, September brings our focus to education scholarships, and the great need for seasonal clothing for the children in the Marganets orphanage and school. In our scholarship program, Vika is in her last year of medical college. She wants to continue her medical education and become a doctor of microbiology. See her video.

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Two other girls in Illichevsk desire to continue their education. They talked about their vision for their futures in this interview.

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Moving is always a great adventure. There are seasoned movers, novice movers, and those who see it as a challenge to overcome, something like a contest. A young couple we know took the challenge. The husband said to his wife, “We can pack in three days!” When I told Sveta that we would move in April 2014, she began to pack in July 2013. It is a good thing that she did.The rent went up quite a bit in August, so Sveta looked at me and said, “I’m ready to move when you are!”

I have been visiting a language school as a guest speaker for the past two years. During my final visit, one of the students asked me why I wanted to leave Illichevsk. It is a seaside resort, and a very clean city. Soviet and post-Soviet people often remain in the same city, in the same flat or private home most, if not all, of their lives. After a moment’s thought, I realized the truth. I replied, “Sometimes we get too comfortable in our lives and need to be pushed into something new and challenging. We need something that will bring out our best selves.” There is a phrase that goes something like this “Comfort those who are bothered, but bother those who are comfortable.” I was getting comfortable.

When Sveta and I got married in January last year, we pushed ourselves from our individual lives into a life that causes us to become selfless toward each other. On September 21, we moved to a village south of Nikolayev where we will live until our house is built. Now, living with her parents and her brother, we push ourselves out of our comfort zone to become selfless toward them.

The travel distance between Illichevsk and Nikolayev is about 124 miles. Waiting for buses and travel time, usually takes us about five hours and three bus changes. We hired a truck to move us, and friends helped us load and unload. The travel time was close to four hours. It was a full day for Sveta and me. Our work has begun! In June we had started digging the foundation for our house that we will build in a year or two. Sveta and I began by moving the Together 2topsoil from the foundation area to the back of the property where we will have a garden. (Sveta and I are pulling a two-wheel-wheelbarrow in this picture.) We are very excited about our new adventure.

My time and opportunity have come to expand my personal involvement in ministry. Our involvement with MUCH will remain the same. Ira Kolosova, my previous assistant and contributor of the Ira’s Insights articles for the MUCH newsletters, will manage the ministries in Illichevsk. Sveta and I will visit Illichevsk, Dobromel, Marganets, and Froonza twice a year, as we currently do. In the house that we will build, there will be a multipurpose room that will give us opportunity to minister to the village community with programs such as exercise for the elderly, Christian small group meetings, Bible study, and other social activities.

Life in the village is quite the challenge if you are used to city life. The many luxuries that were within walking distance in Illichevsk are now a twenty minute bus ride away. Any project that I may do must be very well planned to avoid spending the day traveling to and from Nikolayev.

On the other hand, our opportunities to reach out to people in the village may be greater than they were in Illichevsk. In the village, everybody knows everybody. I think that many people know about me already, even though I have only met two people from this village of Galitsinovka.

Sveta and I are pushing ourselves into the reality of the vision that we have talked about for the past year. Exercise for the elderly will begin with Sveta and me encouraging each other to exercise. Once the garden is finished, we will have a large area to exercise in. We are almost unpacked, so we will begin soon.

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The first week of October we will be in the cold northwest at the Dobromel Orphanage. It is always interesting to me to see new and old buildings beside or across the street from each other.

 

The results of Soviet times effect the buildings as well as the people. What a great contrast of these two pictures that are across the street from each other in Dobromel.

The second week we will visit the Angelina Foundation Maternity House near the city of Zhytomyr, east and bit north of L’vov. Marina narrates their story. Take a look!

Our goal is to better understand the lives of girls from the orphanage system, the problems that they face after leaving the orphanage, and what is available for them. It has been on my mind for about nine years as we ministered to the children at the Marganets Orphanage.

Sveta’s Journey
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I am waiting for our visit to the orphanage. I am thinking, “What can I prepare for the children when we will have meetings with them? What interesting and instructive things can I do to leave a good mark on their lives?” I remember a year ago; I prepared a few games and tried to get the children to play them. I was not successful. I was saddened to tears.

Under the terms of the game, children were divided into two teams in a competitive manner and as quickly as possible they were to bring some balloons to the finish point. I explained to them the rules of the game, but the children were focused on the fact that each of them wanted to have a balloon. There was a disappointment among the children. The children did not want to join in the game; each child wanted to have his or her own balloon.
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Mark said that I have a talent of very good communication with the children, asking about their lives, their dreams, and encouraging them. Therefore, I decided not to create games. We would bring God’s love through us, through our communication with them.

Living my dream,

Sveta

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

Thank you for continuing with us on our journey of service to the people of Ukraine, particularly the children.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta