November 2021

Hello family and friends,

This year our Christmas fundraiser will help support the needs of two special children and the women who care for them. Our goal is to raise $7,000 to help these two families, and to support the MUCH massage therapy program.

Mark’s Moments

We highlighted Maria in Mark’s Moment’s of our August 2021 Newsletter and Sveta’s Journey of the August 2020 Newsletter.
Her grandmother, Vera, lives on a limited government pension. With that meager amount, she has been caring for Maria for eleven years. Winter is the most difficult. Utilities cost more than Vera’s pension.

Determined to make it through, Vera uses a heating mat that she hangs in the bedroom to heat the one room of their house that they can barely afford to heat. When we visited last week, the house was very cold, but the bedroom was not as cold. Maria was wrapped in blankets, with a hot water bottle at her feet.

This is the whole-house boiler (left) that Vera wants to turn on for the season. Will you help us keep them warm this winter?  

You can Donate Here

This older tankless gas hot water heater (right) is separate for the kitchen and bath. Vera would use it only when absolutely necessary.

Sveta’s Journey

It is very difficult not to love Maria when you look at her. She expresses herself with a loud joyful noise when she sees us or the massage therapist. Her whole body, arms and legs, show her joy upon our arrival.  With her large expressive eyes, Maria takes in everything that is happening with what seems to be a clear understanding. She does not speak the human language; she does speak with her eyes. When I read the Bible to her and very simply explained what I had read, she became quiet and listened very attentively. From the depths of her eyes she looked into my eyes as if she understood everything. We believe that her spirit truly understands.

In the summer, our meetings with Maria and her grandmother, Vera, took place in their yard. Now that autumn has come, we have moved into the house. But it’s as cold there as it is outside.Vera is not using her heating system because her pension is not enough to pay her utility bills in the winter.

When Mark said that MUCH would help her with the payment, making it possible for Vera to turn on the heating system, she burst into tears. Three days later, our massage therapist, Enna, and I visited them. The house was warmer and cozy. It was clear from Vera’s eyes that she had been crying. She said she couldn’t stop crying since Mark said to turn on her heating system. Her gratitude knew no bounds.

She said, “My heart is overflowing with gratitude to people who are not indifferent to me and my granddaughter! My heart is overflowing with gratitude to God! When Mark and Sveta told me that the heating could be turned on today, I cried with joy. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much for your help! God bless you and meet all the needs that you have! “

Please Donate here

Living my dream,
Sveta

Let’s work together to make this Christmas a great beginning for Vera and Maria!

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

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

October 2021

Hello family and friends,

This year our Christmas fundraiser will help support the needs of two special children and the women who care for them. Our goal is to raise $7,000 to help these two families, and to support the MUCH massage therapy program.

Sveta’s Journey

Alyona is the most courageous woman that I have met. Twelve years ago, she gave birth to a baby boy, Dennis. During the birthing process, the doctor made a mistake. The result was that Dennis had severe damage to his brain and nervous system.
Eleven years ago, Alyona found Tanya, our MUCH massage therapist, and Dennis began receiving treatment. During one of his treatments, Mark and I visited Dennis and Alyona. Although I had seen other children with a similar vegetative state, seeing Dennis for the first time was a shock, and broke Mark’s and my heart.

Alyona has been struggling with many things. She has been raising Dennis with her own strength through her faith in God. Dennis is now 12 years old. We have always seen Alyona’s great love for her son. All of these years, Alyona has been sleeping close to Dennis to warm his slender body. In that time, she has seen two particular forms of progress from massage therapy that have improved the quality of life for Dennis. He sleeps better at night and massage treatments greatly reduced the spastic contractions of his muscles.

Alyona’s husband did not want Dennis, and did not care for Alyona. Mark and I could see the negative effect on Alyona’s life, draining her emotional stamina. I offered to give Alyona a ten-day massage. We talked while my massage did its work. This was the beginning of new energy and new hope for Alyona and Dennis.

Alyona tried to heal the straining relationship between her and her husband. After ten years of raising Dennis with minimal change or progress, Alyona wanted to give her husband a second child. She gave birth to a healthy boy, Kolya. This seemed to create some unity in their family. Two years later, Alyona became pregnant once again. Her husband’s response to this news was a surprise. He told Alyona to either abort the child or leave his flat. In soviet times, abortion was the accepted form of birth control. The Soviet Experiment and its communist theories had fallen apart thirty years ago. Things are different now. Alyona chose life, once again!

Alyona’s parents worked very hard all of their lives. They built a house in the village with their own hands, working every night after a full days work. That kind of life can send you to an early grave here in Ukraine. And it did. Her parents died young, leaving this house and property to Alyona. Without a car, without enough money, and without any relatives to support her, life in Ukraine is a great challenge for her. With the gift of this house, came the corrupt abuse of the gas company, charging her false fees for the time that no one was living at her parents house.

In spite of all of these adversities, Alyona moved to the home that her parents left for her. She found a way to move her children and their things, beginning a new life with God as their foundation. She came to realize certain needs for repair in the house. I was happy to hear that the house has indoor plumbing. Her neighbor was very kind. He installed a faucet in the kitchen and connected the wash machine to the water supply. He did these things without requiring money for his services.

Alyona imagined an area in the yard where her two-year-old, Kolya could play. She created a play area with a sandbox. She found a swing for a few dollars and installed it. Her ideas are without limit, but her finances are limited. She receives disability money from the government for Dennis, and they also provide diapers every month. (The government usually provides less than is needed.) Alyona receives a monthly maternity package that will end when Kolya becomes three years old. She is working on divorce and child support law suits. Alyona rents one of the rooms in her house to an elderly woman for some additional income.

Alyona is due to give birth to her daughter in February. That will cost $700. With the money that she receives from the government and the woman who rents from her, Alyona can pay only about three quarters of one months utilities, much less have money for food or other basic needs. This year the cost of home heating gas almost tripled from the cost last year.

Our goal is to provide enough money to pay off Alyona’s utility debt, pay for her birthing costs, and provide heat for her family through the winter.

Please Donate here


Let’s work together to make this Christmas a great beginning for Alyona and her children!

The November Newsletter will tell the story of a second child and her grandmother. Stay tuned!

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

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

September 2021

Hello family and friends,

Covid-19 has returned to our fair city. There are 348 new cases as of October 3. Some of the schools have closed their doors and have returned to online education until all of the teachers have received their Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. With a seven-day average of 237 new cases, I am pleased to see that our city is taking action. The bus systems are not demanding that people wear masks, but that regulation may come back, too.

Summertime showed very low statistics about the virus. Now that so many people are spending more time inside, and in large groups the statistics have risen from 3 new cases in a day to 237 new cases.
The good news is that Sveta and I received our Pfizer shots. While standing in line, we heard many stories and comments, pro and con, about people still not wanting the shots, or are sitting on the fence about the safety issues.

Mark’s Moment

While I was working in our workshop one day, I noticed that the concrete floor by the wall was cracking. Upon closer inspection, I found that the floor was breaking up by each wall. I took a small sledge hammer and broke up a piece of the floor. To my surprise, the concrete floor was only one inch thick.

Deciding to remove the whole floor, section by section, I became educated about pouring a concrete workshop floor. The broken concrete was a great substitute for gravel, and it was free! Digging down eight inches, I leveled out four inches of broken concrete and gravel, then Sveta and I mixed and poured concrete four inches thick. We have one section to complete. You can see the tools we use.
Pouring a concrete floor in sections is time consuming. Step by step, we will find the end of this project. It may not be beautiful now, but it will be fully functional.

Sveta’s Journey

A number of years ago while visiting the children at the Dobromel Orphanage, Luba, the librarian, approached Mark and introduced herself. She told Mark that there were a number of computers in the library that were not being used. Most of the children and a number of the teachers did not know how to work with computers. Luba asked if MUCH would sponsor her to teach a computer class in the library. Mark was impressed with Luba’s initiative!
In one of their conversations, they discussed expectation. What progress did MUCH sponsors need to see to value and finance the program? Mark explained that any progress would be enough to understand change in the quality of life of a child. It continues to be a long road, but Luba has used the computers to brighten the lives of the children.

Using computers to alter the education experience of children with mental disabilities opens their visual, audio, speech, and tactile communication of their minds. This is nothing new in todays fast paced world of technology. The reality in Ukraine is that computer programmers are popping up everywhere. Programs for the disabled are made available on the internet market. The problem is that the government apparently does not value the potential of children with disabilities enough to provide a computer teacher in the budget of the education system in orphanages for children with disabilities.
Our goal is find some skill that the child, may be able to use in a job situation. Higher skilled children may develop basic office skills. Lower capability children may develop hand eye coordination using the keyboard. Each child is raising his/her quality of life when they learn through the computer.

Vanya, 12 years old, comes from a large family. Of his five brothers and sisters, two who are younger also live in the Dobromel Orphanage. While his family lived in Kiev he attended a regular high school.
Even though Vanya was evaluated and determined to need special education at an early age, he was not place in a special school until just recently.
His education was limited. He never learned to read, or even understand the alphabet. Vanya was enrolled in the ninth grade, because of age rather than ability.

Vanya is easily distracted, and his memory is very weak. He has a restless character, but is not aggressive. He enjoys interacting with his classmates, listening to their conversations and opinions. Vanya wants to imitate them, but is unable to do so.
The computer class is a positive experience for Vanya. He requires repetition upon repetition to lock in a new concept. Luba uses the keyboard to connect the alphabet with the computer. Using many visual attributes of the computer, Luba has begun the long journey of teaching Vanya to read.

Luba shares her loving patience with children in two class periods of seven students per class. They are all challenged in different ways, requiring individual programs. It is a lot of work for Luba . Helping people find their passion is so exciting!

Living my dream,
Sveta

Thanks to each of you who read our stories, and share them in your conversations. Thank you sponsors and prayer warriors for making our journey possible!

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

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

August 2021

Hello family and friends,

Children in Ukraine

August 24 is Independence Day in Ukraine. This year we celebrated our thirtieth year of independence from the Soviet Union and Russia. There were big parades in many of the larger cities. We are grateful to the people of all of the countries who helped the people of Ukraine move through these years of challenges to become the country that we are now.
Sveta’s niece brought her two girls with her from Kiev area to share the holiday. It was so nice to have all of the cousins together for lunch and some play time. Their favorite game was “taxi driver” with the wheel barrow.

September 1 has come and gone. The children in Ukraine have returned to school. This is the first year in many years of my life in Ukraine that the weather has cooled considerably in early September. It reminds me of September 2003 living in Chornomorsk. It was as if someone had turn on a season switch for fall weather.

Mark’s Moments

Every Sunday, Sveta and I visit Maria and her grandmother after church. When the weather is good, we all sit outside in the “driveway.”
Sveta and Vera talked about many things, like finding a much needed wheelchair for Maria. They scoured the internet and found an organization that would provide one for free.
During last eleven years, Vera had limited interact with people. Over the four months that we have been visiting Maria and Vera, we were not exactly aware of all that was happening in their lives. As Vera shared her day to day struggles, we listened, and listened. What could we do? We brought some food each week, maybe enough for a meal or two. We prayed for each of them every time that we visited.

Then something changed! Vera began to realize God’s love through our visits. Step by step, God was working on her spirit and soul. Step by step, He was healing her broken heart. Her relationship with God was returning to what it had been eleven years ago. Vera told Sveta that in the beginning of our visits she did not want to see people in her house. Vera’s soul was broken, but now she was like a flower beginning to blossom. Now, her relationship with God will grow forward! Vera, Maria, Sveta and I miss one another during the week and are eager to see one another.

In the fall of 2000, I asked Dennis Lennon a question about missions. “What preparation do I need to become a missionary?” He answered, “If you make yourself available, God will use you!” That may sound pretty simple, but I have stood on that phrase like standing on a Rock, for eighteen-and-a-half years. I have shared this phrase in my past newsletter. As Sveta and I walked home after our visit, we spoke about this phrase with joy in our hearts.

Sveta’s Journey

Most of the world has been affected by COVID-19 for the past year and a half. For many people, their lives have been altered drastically. Great thanks to God, this has not been the case for the children of MUCH. I would like to share a story of one of these children.
Anna is eight months old. She and her family live in the village of Ovidiopol. Anna’s mother noticed that her child was not developing the motor skills that she should be.

The neuropathologist has diagnosed Anna with liquorodynamic syndrome. The most simple explanation is that the motor, or movement, activities of the muscular system are being delayed in the development of the child. The can lead to cerebral palsy.
After making his diagnosis, the doctor recommended that Anna undergo a fifteen-day course of therapeutic massage treatment. Nadia, our massage therapist in Ovidiopol, was chosen to treat Anna.

Nadia worked with Anna for fifteen days, paralleling massage therapy with exercise. Using a plastic fit-ball, about two feet in diameter, (see the picture), Nadia rested the child on the ball, rolling it back and forth, and side to side. The goal is to stimulate the motor activity in the brain having to do with balance and other movement related activities. Anna enjoys the fit-ball very much.

At the end of the procedures, the parents and the doctor noticed that the symptoms were much less obvious. The muscle tension had significantly decreased and Anna began to make sounds more often, learning to talk! The doctor recommended in three months to undergo another massage course to consolidate the result.
This early intervention treatment is key to reprograming the infants while they are developing. Anna’s parents are so grateful to MUCH for the results that they are seeing in their Anna.

We have been seeing good results in many children through the years. Other parents, whose children receive help through massage treatment, also thank everyone who takes part in this matter. Thank you dear sponsors and massage therapists!

Living my dream,
Sveta

Thank to everyone who reads our stories and shares them with your friends. Sponsors and prayer warriors, thank you for your part in making it possible to do what God has called us to do!

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

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

July 2021

Hello family and friends,
It has been a challenging year and a half with the pandemic. We pray that all is on the mend in your lives and those that you love. Sveta and I looked back on our adventure with leaks in our house while the second floor was being added. At the time, it was a great challenge. The Bible helped us keep things in perspective. 1 Peter 5:10, NASB: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

Mark’s Moments

Dobromel Orphanage

The seaside camp in Odessa region receives special needs children from special need orphanages throughout Ukraine. The Dobromel Orphanage sent their twenty true orphans to this seaside camp in the Odessa region. Something special happens when children see the vast sea in front of them. It is the biggest bathtub they have ever seen. This bathtub is more like a carnival ride, with never ending waves, whitecaps, sand bars and breakers.

In the Carpathian Mountains, our children are used to a very different environment. At the beach, the children are investigating an entirely new ecology. They are introduced to sea creatures that live in shells, sand crabs, star fish, sea horses, and many more kinds of life are there for them to experience.

Natasha, our massage therapist, and another staff member at the orphanage accompanied the children. After missing going to camp last summer because of COVID-19, it is a pleasure for these two to accompany the children!

Sveta’s Journey

Physical Leader Clinic In Chornomorsk

During five years Ilya has been undergoing a massage program, including special physical exercises to master new motor skills. This helps him to improve his coordination of movements and the quality of balance. Ilya’s mother celebrates the success of her child in reading and mathematics, improved memory and attention!

Dr. Natalia’s team works with each child in a comprehensive manner. Massage therapy, physical exercises aimed at acquiring or improving motor skills that are not developed, and specific massage therapy to improve speech. Parents are instructed on how to help their child at home, maintaining results between massage treatments. Usually this is a long process. During the massage treatment, the massage therapist works with the parents to recommend certain physical exercises to consolidate the results achieved.

Three-year-old Misha suffers from microcephaly (a significant decrease in the size of the skull and, accordingly, the brain). He has a delay in motor and speech development. For Misha, this was the first course of massage treatment with Dr. Natalia. Before meeting her, the child’s mother took Misha to various rehabilitation centers, including the famous Gold Angel Center in Odessa, without results. To his mother’s delight, she saw clear results after the third massage of a fifteen day treatment program. The results were: Misha became calmer and more attentive, and she also noticed an improvement in his speech. Many parents of children with disabilities watch anxiously to see the slightest changes in their child. Misha’s mom is very grateful to our mission and sponsors for such a wonderful opportunity that opened up for her son! Dr. Natalia and her team will continue to work with Misha. They watch most attentively as Misha shows positive dynamics.

Living my dream,
Sveta

We are so grateful to all of you who sponsor our children, making it possible for them to receive massage therapy treatment and complimentary exercise. The children thank you. Their parents are, at times, speechless when they see the results.
When MUCH began in 2004, there were no treatments available for children with disabilities. We began by setting an example of what could be done. We showed a new “quality of life” and value toward these children. The massage therapists whom God has prepared for MUCH to enable are showing their communities new hope through their work. Change is taking place in the live of the children, their parents, and their communities because of you contributions, prayers, and sharing of our stories. All of us in Ukraine thank you for your focus upon our children!

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

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

 

June 2021


Hello family and friends,

June brought a lot of rain, but that didn’t stop us from having fun! The grandchildren visited, playing outside in their make believe world.
Sveta planted the Willow tree a few years ago wiith a vision of a shady place for the children. Her vision grew, right along with the tree.

Every sunny day! is an opportunity for barbecued chicken, beef, or pork (shashleek). Our fireman and two cooks did a superb job.
It is a joy to see three generations working together for a common goal!

Sveta’s Journey

When some parents have a big family and do not take care of their children, sometimes older children take responsibility for the care of their younger brothers and sisters. This happened to twelve-year-old Ira. But she could not bear such a great burden of responsibility. She ran away from home. Her parents did not even contact the police about their daughter’s disappearance. She lived on the street and did not go to school. To earn money for food, Ira went to the forest to pick flowers and break off branches from coniferous trees to sell in the “flea market”.

(These photos show Ira in her first days at the Transition Home and the second photo was taken two months later.)

At the “flea market” the policeman’s attention was drawn to Ira. She was selling flowers, her clothes were dirty, and Ira looked very untidy. So Ira ended up in the Transition Home. The girl was washed, lice was removed from her hair, and her outer appearance was transformed. Her inner being was in need of very much attention and love. Because she was coughing heavily, she was prescribed treatment and massage therapy. So Albina, our massage therapist, had the opportunity to touch the life of this girl. Ira embraced the love and care of the people around her. Here at the Transition Home, she receives even more love and care than she was able to give to her siblings at home.

Olya was brought to the Transition Home from another city. The government took her away from her parents because they abuse alcohol and of course do not take care of their daughter. Olya thinks that she is in a general health sanatorium. The environment, sleeping facility, and receiving massage therapy may have given her this idea. It is possible that she does not understand that she was taken from her parents. She really enjoys massage especially hand and palm massage. 

Katya has problems with the muscles of her legs and the doctor prescribed massage therapy for her. After a ten-day course of massage, the calf and ankle muscles relaxed and the pain went away.Olya and Katya became friends here at the Transition Home. They also found a friend in the person of Albina, the massage therapist. She has great love for each child and a personal path to everyone’s heart. All children who receive massage therapy become Albina’s friend. Because to this friendship, their characters, outlook on life, and behavior change in positive and wonderful ways.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Sveta and I thank God for Albina. She is a person who positively influences children. Thank you so much dear family and friends for your prayers and financial help. Without you, these children would not be able to receive the loving and caring massage therapy treatment that they so desperately need.

Thank you for following our stories of what God is doing through MUCH in Ukraine. Please continue to pray, share our stories with your friends, and contribute when you can.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:

http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

May 2021

Hello family and friends,

Massage therapy provides many results. Here are 25 reasons that may give you a better understanding of massage therapy. Over the past sixteen years, MUCH massage therapists who are all Ukrainian citizens, have been treating a variety of needs for children with different types of disabilities. In our early intervention treatments, they are correcting physical and non-symmetrical problems that will lead to disability.

Stepovoya

 

At the Stepovoya Orphanage for Boys, about twenty-five of the fifty boys are unable to walk. Spasticity is one problem that massage therapy addresses. Relaxing the muscles helps the child to be calm and experience a better quality of life. The best result for these boys has been an increase in the quality of their immune system. Many of the boys would spend time in the hospital over the winter months. During the winter of the first year of massage therapy treatment, most of the boys who commonly would need hospitalization, did not. Their immune systems were greatly improved.

Downs Syndrome can be treated with massage therapy, creating improved muscle tone and motor function. The younger they receive treatment, the better the results can be.

The boys who are mobile and have the mental capacity to learn, are developing life skills at the orphanage. Whether in the military or in the orphanage, one of the first things that you will learn to do is to make your bed. For the boys, it is a big task, a mental process that require many steps.

A higher life skill that some of the children are learning is cooking. Handling a knife to cut up vegetables for a salad may be simple for you, but for these boys, many basic skills and processes that we take for granted are new and sometimes difficult tasks for them to learn.

Every child is a precious gift of God. Look into their faces and see them as a gift to experience.

Ira and Natasha have been a part these boy’s lives for some time. Two years ago, they became massage therapists and entered a new relationship with the boys. Now their love blossoms into a deeper experience of healthcare. The degree of healing that takes place through massage therapy brings a better quality of life to each child in a very individual way.

I was so pleased to see the boys experience planting trees. Working with living trees that bring life, beauty, food, and even the air that we breath.
It has been my personal experience planting and being a caretaker of trees in our yard that makes this picture so meaningful to me.

The Stepovoya team makes every opportunity for the boys to experience nature and planting life. Bright colors, fresh air, and the open spaces excite and motivate the boys to participate with enthusiasm.

Massage therapy helps the boys become calm, happy, and to participate at their best in every activity!

Thank you for following our stories of what God is doing through MUCH in Ukraine. Please continue to pray, share our stories with your friends, and contribute when you can.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:

http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

 

April 2021

Hello family and friends,

When I first moved to Ukraine, my purpose was unclear. I knew that I would be helping children, but the details would be revealed as time moved forward. One thing was clear; I was not called to Ukraine to plant an American business on this soil. By 2004, it had begun to be clear in my mind that the mission was not to fix problems in Ukraine. Rather, if I could enable people to realize their passion and move forward with it, that would be enough. The deeper realization of this in my mind developed overtime.
In America, the majority of people are not leaders, builders of new ideas and businesses, but rather the majority are the gears that make the great machines operate. The same is true in Ukraine. After generations of being the gears, the labor force, of the Soviet Union, the people of Ukraine were ready to build their own dreams. Even so, a small percentage will be true builders of businesses. In the sixteen and a half years of experience with massage therapy, MUCH yields 28% of the therapists starting their own massage therapy business. Here are their stories.

Dr. Natalya

God directed me to Dr. Natalya because my own need for massage therapy. She was renting the back room of a three room flat from a very elderly man. She worked with adult clients, but her heart wanted to provide massage therapy for children with disabilities. She partnered with MUCH in 2004, giving two patient hours for children with disabilities.

Over the years, she increased her medical rehabilitation education, and worked at additional facilities. By 2017, she operated a professional rehabilitation facility of her own in Chornomorsk. She, and three specialists in her employ, are serving the children of this city. Dr. Natalya has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Natasha M.

The director of the Dobromel Orphanage introduced Natasha to me in 2010. My wife, Sveta, gave a twenty-day demonstration of massage therapy that showed results in September 2011. Natasha began the massage therapy program at the Dobromel Orphanage for children with special needs in October of that year.
After a few years of treating children with various types of disabilities, she took a great interest in how massage therapy could interact with speech therapy. Natasha was so inspired, she acquired a masters degree in speech therapy.

By 2018, She was ready to open her own massage therapy clinic in her city of Cambir. Natasha rents a room in this cheery business building. Above the door on the right is her sign, “Studio Massage”. She continues her work at the orphanage, and has her clinic operating with another massage therapist as her employee. Natasha has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Sveta’s Journey

Ira O.

Sveta and I met Ira in the church that we were attending in Chornomorsk in 2012. She had been a nurse for a number of years, specializing in giving injections. One Sunday after the service, she proudly announced that she had completed her training in massage therapy. I leaned over to Sveta and said, “We should talk with her!

She began working with MUCH in the Policlinic. The following year she changed to home visits, and expanded developing her personal clients. Her specialty is early intervention, working with infants and children from two months to two years old. Ira has made a name for herself. Although she does not work out of a clinic setting, she works full time, visiting her patients in their homes. Ira has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Oksana V.

Oksana (on the right) took an interest in 2016 to learning how massage therapy could help children with disabilities. She completed the training program and became certified to provide massage therapy.
Setting up a massage table in her living room, she began inviting parents with children in her district of Mykolaiv to receive massage therapy. Within a year, Oksana had enough patients on a regular basis to rent a small room in the exercise business “Fit Curves”.

Take a look at the nine certificates on her wall. Face massage, lymph drainage massage, and children massage are some of the extra knowledge and skills that she has learned in the past five years. She continues improving her ability to serve all of the massage therapy needs of her patients.
Oksana’s passion is for the infants. Being a mother of three children, she understands the value of early intervention. She is providing wonderful opportunities for infants to overcome physical differences that could become disabilities. Oksana has successfully met the goal of MUCH!

Nadya

Nadya has been working with MUCH for seventeen months. After completing her training, and being certified, she quickly organized a room in her home that she could use for a massage therapy clinic.

Ovidiopol is spread out over eight miles. There are no high rise apartment buildings that are commonly found in most cities and towns in Ukraine. To build a home visit practice would be difficult and financially impractical.
Nadya’s first year has proven to be successful. We look forward to seeing what she will accomplish these next few years as her practice continues to grow and develop. As time moves forward, we believe that Nadya will meet the goal of MUCH!

I am so happy to be a part of what God is doing through MUCH in my country.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Thank you for following our stories of what God is doing through MUCH in Ukraine. Please continue to pray, share our stories with your friends, and contribute when you can.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:

http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

 

 

March 2021

Hello family and friends,
Mark’s Moments

Update on Maria

In the February MUCH newsletter, we highlighted the story of Maria. It is amazing how God works. Sveta and I began attending a different church on the opposite side of Mykolaiv in February. Surprisingly, it is located about a half mile walk from Maria’s home. Enna, who also goes to this church, accompanies Sveta’s and my visit to Maria every Sunday after church. We pray for her healing, believing that she will have a new life with a new purpose.

Dobromel Orphanage For Children with Disabilities
Five years ago, Luba, the Dobromel Orphanage (for children with disabilities) librarian, asked to talk with me. She wanted to teach the children computer skills in the library. There were a number of computers already in the library, but the majority of the children did not know how to operate them. She saw a possibility for her to become more than a part time school librarian. Could she use her organizational skills to create a unique learning environment for the children?
As we talked about the children, Luba wanted to know about my expectations for the success of the children. I explained to her that I anticipated that it would take a long time to see big results. I was looking positively at the long term potentiality. Could a child learn to use a program that they could use in a job? If not that, maybe a computer skill that would improve their own personal quality of life.
Now, five years later, Luba has shown that she inspires the children to become something more than they were. Her work with the children with disabilities has created a new interest for them in their other classes. The teachers are very enthusiastic about the children’s new interests in education in general.
Sveta’s Journey
Dobromel Orphanage Computer Class
Maria is in the sixth grade. She is very active. For Maria to sit in one place for an extended time would be a great feat for her. She is neat and well organized. Her physical and intellectual development is normal for her age. Maria reads very well. This skill flows to her development of typing skills on the computer keyboard. Her typing proficiency is coming along more quickly than expected.
In the classroom, Maria is active, and hungers for new knowledge. She enjoys learning various programs on the computer and even more so, on the computer tablet. When introduced to a new program or game, she absorbs the content and puts it to use quickly
Stephan is in the tenth grade. He is an average student in the areas of knowledge, skills, and abilities in his academic subjects. He always wants to be the first, and strives for new knowledge, with pleasure. Luba is his teacher. As she challenges his knowledge, he performs with about 90% correct answers.
Using the keyboard has improved his knowledge of the Russian alphabet. Along with this, his reading skills have become better. When asked to read aloud, Stephan’s pronunciation is still not very clear. He seems to learn new material well. As long as it is in his short term memory, he can retrieve it. Once in long term memory, he needs to be reminded, to hook on to the previously studied material.
Misha is in the ninth grade. He is also hungry to know everything that he is able to digest. His attention has become more focused. Misha is no longer distracted and can keep his attention on the task for a longer time. He is now better able to orient himself in time and space. His memory has improved. Previously, it was difficult to understand Misha when he spoke. Now his speech has improved. He still stutters often, especially when he is worried. Compared to last year, Misha has become purposeful, balanced, and calm.
Luba has adjusted a computer program for Sergei. Even though he is in the ninth grade, he functions at a low level of education. Sergei digests concepts and develops his thinking at a slower pace than his peers. He cannot draw elementary conclusions and has a limited vocabulary. During the conversation, he worries and stutters. Sergei is prone to emotional breakdowns, and his attention is unstable. When he is told what he is to do next, he often needs to have his instructions repeated. Last year Sergei did not want to do the same task for more than ten minutes, but now he has become more patient. He began to understand the meaning of a computer game and its goals. He types slowly, trying to learn how to use both hands.
Luba sees that teaching computer skills is useful for children. It develops their ability to gain knowledge and apply it in practice. Their aesthetic interests are cultivated. Developing computer skills also increases personal creativity, attention, ingenuity, and contributes to the development of logical thinking in these students. Since children have different levels of ability and learning, Luba has an individual approach with each child and prepares lessons according to their personality and mental capability. She is pleased with the results she sees with her students. The fact that for some of the children it takes several years to accomplish the desire results, Luba remains pleased. It is so wonderful to be happy with what you are doing for the children and especially if you are doing it for the children with disabilities!
Living my dream,
Sveta
Sveta and I are so very grateful to all of you who read our stories, share our stories with your friends, pray for the children, Sveta and me, and for those who share financially. All of you are what makes MUCH move forward. Thank you for your participation. God Bless You!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta
You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:
http://www.youtube.com/user/smmuch

February 2021

Hello family and friends, 

Hello spring!

Have you pruned your fruit trees? Spring is right around the corner. Days of sunshine are more abundant. Sveta is ready to get out and work with her roses and vineyard. Our nineteen fruit trees are mine to care for.
Sveta and I are very happy to hear that Americans are receiving vaccination to combat COVID-19. You can read about the most recent vaccine beginning activity in Ukrainehere. This news from Radio Free Europe is dated Feb 23.
MUCH focuses on working with infants and children. For some of the little darlings, development comes early, and others, with time. But there are some youngsters for whom MUCH can only provide treatment that will maintain a plateau of progressive change. Such a story is told in Mark’s Moments, below.

Mark’s Moments
Three years ago, MUCH enabled two Christian young women to become massage therapists in our city of Mykolaiv. One of them, Anya, was introduced to a teenager, Maria, who has severe cerebral palsy. She has worked with this girl for three years. This year, a third Christian massage therapist that MUCH enabled in Mykolaiv last year, is also providing massage therapy for Maria. Oksana (in picture) is very happy to be working with her.
Maria is seventeen years old. She has grown, and maintains her weight. Spasticity is a big problem when it is time to move Maria. Because of COVID-19 and Maria’s own bout with illness, she was without massage therapy for four months. Sveta visited with Oksana this time and saw how much of Maria’s progress was missing.
Her arms and legs are stiff and very challenging to manipulate. It is very difficult for Maria’s grandmother to bath her and dress her.
Her grandmother is not a healthy women, and has high blood pressure. She has raised Maria since she was 6 year old. Maria’s parents divorced, and only this one grandparent had compassion for her. It was typical that children with severe disabilities are abandoned by their parents and most relatives. That is changing as more medical services are becoming available.
A Ukrainian family raised money for this child. When Sveta passed it on to the grandmother, she was in tears. She said, “I knew that God would provide money. I didn’t expect it to be this way.” Her financial need is so great. She scrapes by with her small pension and even smaller government provided pension for Maria.
MUCH home-visit treatments are serving children who would normally not receive any regular help. Six of the thirteen MUCH massage therapists are home-visit therapists. The rest either have their own clinic or work within a government orphanage, or transition home.
Sveta’s Journey
Periodically, during the quarantine time, when many children were at home since last year, orphans continued to spend time in the orphanage. Of course, it’s not fun to know that your friends are with family and you are in the orphanage. Even so, several snowy days brought them joy

I remember the time before my marriage to Mark, when he asked me to provide a twenty-day massage therapy program. I agreed, and lived at this orphanage. I was to provide massage treatment for the children and share the results with the Director of the Dobromel Orphanage. I provided massage therapy treatments during the day. In the evenings, some of the children gathered in my room.
Of course, I missed my son, daughter, and especially my one year and three month old granddaughter. One evening I was so sad that my heart sank with self-pity. I cried and thought, “What am I doing here? God, why am I here when my daughter needs me at this time to help her with the baby? My parents need me too.” My face was flooded with bitter tears and at that moment I heard the Lord inside me say to me: “You are not here forever, soon you will return to your family. And these children have nowhere to return to. Imagine how hard it is for them to deal with this situation. These children are mentally and physically challenged; they also need family and love. “

My tears instantly stopped, self-pity disappeared, and compassion for these children settled in my heart. Since that time, compassion and love for them always accompany me. I am sincerely happy when I see the results of massage treatment!

Last year Misha, (in the dark plaid coat), received four ten-day massage treatments. The boy’s posture improved. Thanks to the speech therapy facial massage, he began to speak better. He expressed himself with an emotional tone, instead of mono tone.

This year, the boy’s aunt promised to take him to her home for a few days. But she did not come and the child took it very hard. The boy closed himself off from others, became aggressive, and he again displayed behavior representative of mental disorders.
Natasha, the massage therapist gave Misha a ten-day course of relaxing massage therapy, including drawing with sand on a color lighted sand box. Misha drew a house, a family. This symbolically resembled what he had not yet been able to express. He was filled with fears, high emotion, and psychological trauma. Drawing was like an evaluation of his emotional mood. It is also one of the lessons of game therapy. After the complex massage treatment, music therapy and drawing with sand on the sand box, Misha’s psycho-emotional state stabilized. Misha became friendly and a smile shone on his face again.
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