Hello family and friends,
May brings us to the end of another school year. Let’s look back and see two ways that MUCH has influenced the children through the Christmas Fundraiser.
Before we do, I will honor my mother, and the part that she played in the development of MUCH.
May 11, 2016, Patricia Murphy Koehler moved from this life to her eternal reward. I would like to share with all of our MUCH readers, sponsors, and friends some brief stories of how Pat, my mother, influenced what became Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope, and how it influenced her.
In September of 2000, I announced my ‘calling’ to move to Ukraine. Mom was impressed with my spiritual direction. She was very supporting of my ‘calling’, but she had the normal concerns of a mother. For the next two years, Mom shared related newspaper articles and other current information that she thought would help guide me. When I began to sell all of my possessions, Mom asked what I was going to do with my duplex. I said that I would probably sell it. Without rental management experience, she offered to manage it for me. Mom was not afraid to tackle anything.
My passion was for children in need. I believed that I would feed the homeless children in Odessa, Ukraine. One week before I moved to Ukraine, I had not developed a solid plan, and only knew one or two people in Ukraine. As Mom and I ate lunch one afternoon, she looked at me with caring eyes and great concern. She said very gently, “So Mark, what will you do, stand on the street corner and hand out bread?” I told her that if God called me, He would provide direction. It was at this point that Mom’s faith began to grow.
Toward the end of 2003, it was clear that my ministry was established. It was also clear that to continue, I needed a non-profit status to allow for tax deductible contributions. Mom realized all of the factors involved and set about creating Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope and the non-profit status without any legal help. This task was complete in March of 2004.
Until that time, Mom and I were in constant contact, moving ‘my mission’ forward. Mom was my biggest cheerleader. When she created the non-profit, MUCH, she solicited board members. Among them were my brothers and my sister. Mom was the driving force, with God as her fuel, to move MUCH forward.
Also in 2004, now under the guidance of a board of directors, we began the massage therapy program for children with disabilities. This was a great joy for Mom, having taught students to be teachers of children with disabilities at Slippery Rock University for twenty years. She was atop all of the medical details that were discussed at the board meetings.
Mom was the treasurer of MUCH, carefully watching over the financial process along with the finance committee. From the beginning, it was Mom’s conversations with friends and acquaintances that grew the support of the mission. Her own contributions grew as the mission blossomed. Until her stroke in 2014, Mom poured her heart into MUCH.
For twelve years, Mom set to the task of taking her part of God’s work in Ukraine as her personal ministry. Every couple of years Mom would tell me, “Mark, because of your faith, my faith is growing.” The truth is, her faith was growing because she engaged in the mission. Mom’s faith in God grew because she was a vessel that God was working through. This had always been the case in her many endeavors. MUCH required Mom to believe in what she hoped for and have full confidence about what she could not see. This was the faith that was growing in her over the years. And it was this faith that prepared her to meet Jesus face to face on May 11.
Pat, my wonderful mother-in-law, was more than I could ever have dreamed. She was a beautiful, kind, tactful, and intelligent woman, and she loved me.
My mother-in-law was an example for me. Her life was filled with helping others find their gifts and talents. I heard many stories of many people that she helped to climb the steps in their fields of study. It was so impressive to me. It was not as if she gave a one-time financial gift, but rather, she helped people see their hidden talents and opened opportunities to use them. It was a gift from God, and Pat used it fully.
Mom loved God and loved people. She believed in the Son of God and lived the golden rule: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”
It’s hard to part with loved ones, particularly when you share a common Spirit. Mark and I believe that we will meet her in Heaven in the mansions of our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The work that Mark and Pat started in 2002 continues. God is the director, we are the vessels.
The fifteen computer tablets that MUCH bought for the school are stored in a safe, in a secure room. Each of the elementary classes is scheduled to use the tablets in their classroom at different times of the day. In this fourth grade class, two children work with one computer tablet. The children were very excited to show us the video programs that they created.
The children of grades one through six are using the computer tablets in each of the subjects to enhance their learning experience. Internet access is available throughout the school. I call this a Christmas gift that keep on giving. Thank you MUCH sponsors!
Lighted Sandbox table
The lighted sandbox was another gift from the Christmas fundraiser. The school psychologist and speech therapist use this sandbox to connect with the emotion, creative thought, and self expression of the child. They are having many great positive results.
We saw great joy on the children’s faces when they worked in the sand. Mark and I watched as the children and School Psychologist showed us how they use this gift from MUCH.
Sponsors of MUCH, we are very grateful to you for helping the staff of this school improve their programs to connect with the children in the best ways. Your gifts are improving their education, and helping to heal the brokenness of the children. Thank you very much!
Living my dream,
Two years ago Anatoliy Vlasov, the visionary for the programs and projects in Marganets, left this life to go to his final reward. This May, Mom, the heart and soul of promoting MUCH, has also moved on to her final reward. What will become of MUCH? As always, God will provide. MUCH is ready for more missionaries. We will talk more about this in the June Newsletter.
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