June has been comfortably warm, something like winter in Florida. The garden is growing, the orchard is producing, and life is good in our neighborhood. This summer I will complete the final third of AAC insulation on the outside of the house. The two-thirds of AAC that I installed last summer has made the house warmer in winter, and cooler in the summer. We will use stucco as a decorative finish.
A question was recently asked, “How do you find schools to help or massage therapists who are interested in special needs children?” This is a great question! The answer is that God introduces me to people in different situations. He prepared the people ahead of time that He wanted to do the MUCH work.
My first contact was Anatoliy in Marganets. The following three outreach programs developed over a period of ten years.
His passion for the special needs children at the Orphanage was the beginning.
Within a few years, God put the Transition Home children on his heart.
A few years later, School #3 became a burning passion in his heart.
During the same ten years, the following additional ministries began in this way. My first contacts were from my missionary school experience, CDTS, in Ternopol. After that, I lived in Chornomorsk (named Illichevsk at the time). I made contacts with other missionaries, and short term missionaries through the Evangelical Baptist Church in Chornomorsk.
EBC Food program — I was asked to bring money to this church from America for a village church and camp. I was introduced to their Food Program and MUCH became a sponsor. Victor Sapegin was my contact.
Massage Therapy Program in Chornomorsk — My need for massage therapy led me to massage therapist Dr. Nataliya Borisovna for help.
Massage Therapy in Froonza, Crimea — Short term mission couple, William and Wynna, introduced me to the needs of this child.
Dobromel Orphanage — Missionary friends, Ukraine Challenge, the president of Lviv Baptist Seminary — A Pastor in Borislav, Volodya Grishko introduced me to the Dobromel Orphanage.
In the past five years, the following ministries blossomed.
Veleeky Lubin Orphanage — Director of Dobromel Orphanage, Vladimir Yevstahovich introduced us to Stepan Eyosevovich, Director of the Veleeky Lubin Orphanage.
Mykolaiv Massage Therapy Program — Director of Young Life in Mykolaiv, Illya Peryevoznuk was on the construction team that worked on our house. His passion to help the disabled drew him to MUCH. Massage therapy will connect the children with Young Life and their camps for the disabled.
I was not researching how to grow MUCH, but rather waiting for God to show me where to go, what to do, and who to help.
It is really amazing how God provides opportunities for Mark and me. We never know what to expect day to day. Through people and circumstances, we connect with children in need of our help. When we do, we evaluate the needs and determine if they are within the focus of MUCH. We present the MUCH Board of Directors (BOD) with the new needs, and God confirms or rejects the program or project through the wisdom of the BOD. A fundraiser is our next step. It is at this point that we look to you, friends of MUCH, for financial help and prayer. Thank you for your generous giving.
We help the children with physical and educational needs, but our greatest goal is to touch the spiritual portion of their lives. We are so pleased to receive such wonderful opportunity to tell about Jesus, pray for children and adults, and correspond with some children. Fifteen years of interacting with administrations of orphanages, schools, and parents have built relationships of trust and faith.
On our last visit, we were introduced to a young teenager by our massage therapist. (We will keep the location private because of the sensitivity of the story.) While evaluating the massage therapy of three children, this teen walked in on her own. She wanted to talk with Mark.
In a previous meeting, we learned about this teen and her brush with suicide because of an online game. She received guidance and new direction while there. Also, she received two ten-day courses of massage therapy. A special tenderness and sensitivity developed between the massage therapist and the teen. This opened a door that began the healing process.
When the girl began talking with Mark, she asked why he chose to live in Ukraine. Mark explained that God called him to live in Ukraine and help the children. She was surprise on a number of levels. She, like many people, wondered why anyone would want to live in Ukraine. They discussed finding purpose for ones life as more important than finding the best place to live. Then, she asked questions about God. She was fascinated that someone could have a relationship with God. As her time was limited, Mark saw that she wanted to know more. He asked if she wanted to write more questions to him by E-mail. She agreed. Before she left, Mark asked if we could pray for her. She was very open to this.
With each letter, the girl asked deeper questions about life, and about God. As I translated each letter, I saw that she realized that Mark, as an adult, saw value in her. They communicated freely, giving new opportunity to discuss God on a more personal level. We believe that the seed of faith that was planted in her heart will grow and bear fruit.
We believe that each opportunity to communicate God’s love, whether in a brief or long-term friendship, will create a positive change in that individual’s life. Mark and I are very grateful to God for these opportunities.
We thank you for being receptive to the call of God to help MUCH carry out His plan for the children!
Living my dream,
MUCH massage therapy programs operate through the summer in Chornomorsk and Mykolaiv. Twenty-two children are receiving massage therapy each month in the summer. You can change the life of one child. $20 will pay for 20 massage treatments for your child in July. Thank you for reading our stories and considering our children.
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