Category Archives: Ukraine Missionary

January 2021

Hello family and friends,

We received $3,060 for our Christmas Fundraiser. Our goal is $7,500. Thank you to all who gave to sponsor the massage therapy program for the children with disabilities. We are hoping that other friends of MUCH did fundraisers on Facebook.

We have been blessed with snow, temperatures as low as +1F for a week or so. We think that is enough of that kind of blessing!
In November, I promised some pictures of what we completed on our second floor project. Here are pictures of the two roofs, doors and windows, and the inside. Sveta and I floored the attic with OSB and covered it with RockWool insulation.
This spring we will complete the roofs with soffit and facia.
There is plenty to be done on phase 2 of the project. For now, the plan is to save, save, save!

Mark’s Moments

Nadya in Ovidiopol
Ira is the MUCH manager in the Odessa Region. She is also the wife of the pastor of our church, here in Ovidiopol. She introduced Mark and Sveta to Alla, a second massage therapist, and me in my home in Ovidiopol, west southwest of Chornomorsk, in 2019. Later that year, Alla and I were students at the massage therapy training course in Odessa.
Alla and I began working as massage therapists in our town of Ovidiopol in January 2020. MUCH sponsors four children a month for each of us.
I decided to work out of my home. I have three children. My son is 15, my daughter is 13, and my youngest son is 7 years old. In August of last year, my husband died of a heart attack. This loss, of my husband and father of three, added to our challenges of life in Ukraine.

How does being a massage therapist for MUCH change my life?

 feel and know that I can be useful for my loved ones and especially for people who do not have money. For me it is very pleasant to give them warmth and hope. Massage therapy for children is a very good avenue to tell parents about God, that He loves them in a special way, and He cares.
My three children have begun to have a different attitude toward me. They respect me more. They always ask, ‘Mom, can you help my friend with certain physical problems?’ Not only do they ask for help with massage, but now, they also ask for my advice.

I really enjoy improving myself. I find a lot of useful information about massage therapy and special exercises through various videos. I use this knowledge in my practice.
For everything, Glory to our Merciful Lord!

Marganets Transition Home Winter Needs

The children who live at the Transition Home are often taken from their parents without much warning. Many times they are taken with only the clothes on their backs. In some cases, the clothing they are wearing is all that they have.
During the Christmas Season, the director asked for funds to provide indoor foot wear (slippers) for twenty-two children. They may live in the Transition Home for up to nine months. An extra five pair were purchased for children in the day program. The children of the Transition Home thank you, sponsors of MUCH, for making their winter a little brighter.

Sveta’s Journey

What do you think can cause attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity in a child? ADHD has a number of causes with a variety of reactions, such as social maladjustments, lack of calm physical movement, and low self-esteem. Below is a story of two brothers who struggle through life in this way.

Alex and Stas


The mother of six and seven-year-olds, Alex and Stas, had difficult pregnancies with prolonged labor. The doctors believe that these two problems are the cause of the diagnosed ADHD.
The boys have very tense neck muscles. This, in turn, does not allow the nervous and vascular systems of the brain to work normally. They cannot concentrate on learning new things, and are restless. When they start a game or some activity, the boys cannot complete it, and quickly switch to another interest.

Alex and Stas’s mother turned to Nadya, the massage therapist of Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope, for help. During the first days of the massage, it was very difficult for Alex and Stas to just lie and enjoy the massage. 

They tried to get up and had to run about the room. But gradually, when the tense muscles began to relax bringing a calm experience. The boys felt peaceful and seemed to pause a little in their need for movement. After a ten-day course of full-body, relaxing massage, the boys’ mother and Nadya saw results. Alex and Stas became calmer and more attentive. Three months later, Nadya recommended that the parents repeat the massage treatment for the brothers.

Maria

Nadya gives children massage therapy at her home. The room that she specially equipped for massage is not as warm as the rest of the house. For the winter season, she moved her massage treatments to another room. For little patients like Maria, it is important to keep warm. At the age of four months, Nadya was already giving her massage therapy. Maria had a pronounced flexor hypertonicity of the extremities. At eight months old, she was receiving the second ten-day massage course. By the end of this second course of massage, the problem was solved. The child’s parents are very pleased with the result. In addition to the massage treatment for Maria, her body was being stimulated to initiate crawling. For this, the muscles of the child must be strong enough to support her body weight. When a child crawls, it develops memory, spacial orientation, and visual-spatial perception.


Exercises on the ball delight Maria! This is a great workout for the inner ear and balance, (vestibular apparatus)! When she started to crawl a little, this surprises her! The world around Maria looks completely different! It’s so wonderful to reach the goal by yourself, to crawl, and take what you want!

Katya

How important it is to detect a problem in a timely manner and immediately begin to solve it. Katya had first degree scoliosis. When her parents discovered this problem, they came to our massage therapist, Nadya. A fifteen-day course of massage therapy and exercises on the ball helped correct this diagnosis. After the first therapeutic massage, Katya said to Nadya: “I fell in love with you very much, I like the way you give me massage.”

All of these problems seem insignificant at first glance. But massage treatment today, for these children and many others, is the solution for how their health will be when they become adults.
Many thanks to everyone who helps us carry this ministry to children in Ukraine. Thank you for your prayers and financial assistance! God bless you and your families!
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

November 2020

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

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

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

Mark’s Moments

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

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

Alla wrote:

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

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

 

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boys are deprived of the warmth and care of their relatives. These functions are performed by Natasha and Ira, our MUCH massage therapists. They are staff members at the orphanage.
Natasha and Ira told us that they love the children very much. When they provide massage therapy, they simply pass on their love to the children, not even thinking that this is work.
Through your financial contributions, our therapists are changing the lives of so many children. Can you imagine the breakthrough of seeing a child smile for the first time. You made that happen! Thank you so much for your interest in the children of MUCH!
Living my dream,
Sveta
You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

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,

DSCN3166 (1)

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.

DSCN3168

 

 

 

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