MUCH Newsletter May 2011

Hello family and friends,

All of my travels have come to an end for a while. I am back in Illichevsk, resting, doing my computer work, and gathering all of my experiences of the past two weeks in East Central and South Central Ukraine. I had nice weather to experience with the children.

At the Marganets Orphanage, I popped into the computer laboratory to check-up on the use of the equipment.

Every computer was occupied; the students were busy practicing some of their computer skills. I remember discussing computers with the manager in 2005. Could the children have the opportunity to learn to use the computer? It was a big dream, but only a dream. Now, children graduate with computer skills learned in a MUCH-sponsored class. Those skills will help them compete in the job market. Some dreams do come true!

In Froonza, I found that Kolya is walking to the Center for his massage treatment every day. He displayed his exercises for me, showing me how hard he is working to make good progress. His legs are not as strong as I thought, but he is able to straighten them with someone’s help. That is the key! He needs some help to do his exercises to get the maximum benefit. Everyone does their best to help him, but it is Kolya who will decide his future. He must have that “can do” attitude. He is moving forward. At age 13, he has a serious road ahead of him. The authorities anticipate sending him to a retirement facility at age 18. That is how they treat people with limiting disabilities. He must learn to walk independently within five years. You can cheer him on with an email of encouragement..

In Illichevsk, more and more infants are being referred to our massage clinic. These tiny tots who were previously overlooked are now receiving the immediate attention that they need. We are seeing great results with our Early Intervention Program. Previously, children had to wait until they were two-years old to be labeled as disabled. Children as young as three months old are now being treated, and in many cases, are having these medical differences corrected. Thank you for helping us make permanent changes in the lives of these innocent ones.

Ira’s Insights

Having lived on the fifth floor most of my life, I didn’t have any experience in gardening. Now I live in the countryside and many new things have been opened to me. I have learned to plant but the most that I have learned – it is waiting for the fruits of my work or efforts. In the beginning, it was very difficult for me even to imagine what beautiful flowers or sweet fruits could be produced from a thin tree or a seed. The time to wait – was the most challenging time for me! But how I was happy to see results of my work! Flowers and fruits made me very glad. Gardening has been a good experience for me and a very good object lesson for my work with MUCH. Now it is easier for me to see what good fruits will be produced from this or that activity of MUCH.

This time I would like to tell you about one of the fruits that have been produced with the help of MUCH in Ukraine. In one of my previous newsletters, I wrote about the Transportation Scholarship Program for children from difficult homes or children in need. Today there are two girls who are in this program. The name of each is Victoria. One girl is finishing her first year of medical college on a government scholarship, but no assistance with transportation. The other has worked between the twice-a-year, three-week sessions, and is finishing her fourth year of Pedagogical University. For both girls, the help with transportation has been a great blessing. Victoria, who is finishing the 4th year, says in her “thank you letter” to everybody who has been helping her:

“…For 4 years I have been receiving your financial help and it has been a Godsend in my studying! Now I am finishing my studies at the university, and I have a great desire in the future to work with children of preschool or school age, and it is a blessing for me. I like to work with children very much.

I thank God for you who have been helping me for so many years. Thank you that you are open to help those who are in need. Four years ago, I was that person. With your help, I have received ‘the ticket to my future life.’ May God bless you and reward you for your kind deeds!!!”

What great news it is – God has changed Victoria’s life for the better, through MUCH. Four years ago, I couldn’t foresee that university would change her mentality, improve her self-image, or provide her with work. Today it is a real blessing for me to see with my physical eyes all of the changes and results that have been happening in Victoria’s life. Without the assistance of MUCH, it would have been almost impossible for Victoria to study at the university. She is the girl who was raised by a family who removed her from a life-threatening environment when she was 5 year old. A couple of years ago Victoria’s mother died. She hadn’t shown any interest toward her daughter from the time she was taken by this family. The family who took her wasn’t able to provide finances for her to study at the university. Four years ago, when Victoria graduated high school, she didn’t have any opportunities. I think the meeting with MUCH was a historical point in her life.

Next month, Victoria will graduate and earn her Bachelor degree. It is great fruit that the help of MUCH has brought to her life.

From time to time, it happens that we can’t see future results with our physical eyes in what we are doing now. For me, Victoria is one of the examples of unseen fruits that will be produced in the future.

God blesses those who take care of such fruits. May He bless you as abundantly as you have blessed Victoria.

Until next time,
Ira

These four stories from three communities, quite distant from each other, are only a raindrop in the pond of the more than five hundred children whose lives you touch. We want you to help us cheer-on our children; cheer them on to a future that will overcome the limitations that they had when we first met. This month, I celebrate my ninth year living in Ukraine; MUCH celebrates its seventh year of overseeing all that we do.

I will be visiting America (July 19 through October 8) to share more stories about the children, but most of all, how God has provided everything for me, every step of the way. Whether it was financial support from you, translators in each city or village, the teams for each developing outreach ministry, or my sweet Sveta, soon to be my wife, God has provided all in the appropriate time. If you would like me to visit your church, small group, or organization, please contact me.

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark