Update on war: in Mykolaiv 3/6/2022

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I are safe in our home.
It was a difficult day to day. We ended yesterday at 3AM. We had an interview with News Nation Prime at 2AM. If you didn’t see it, you can watch it here:https://www.newsnationnow.com/video/couple-describes-working-with-children-inside-ukraine-newsnation-prime/7499474/

Ourdaughter, I think that I mentioned in another update, fights the war by giving our soldiers pride in their hair cut. It is her profession, but also her passion.
The female soldiers like getting treated to a haircut that compliments their uniforms. Olya has been giving our soldiers free haircuts as her part of the war effort.
We should all find our place in the war effort. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, male or female. You can play an important part in this war. Not everyone can be a soldier with a gun.
One Facebook I saw a little girl, maybe five or six, in the underground safe place, singing a song. Can you imagine the joy that it could bring to so many people in hiding to share a song or a musical tune. Music won their freedom from Russia in Estonia.
Share your gift, your passion, to help win the war.
As for Sveta and I, there is a shock, a numbness. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

Friday, March 4, 2022

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I are safe in our home. 
It is getting more real for the people of our city. The numbness is being awakened to the reality of war.
Friday, March 4, 2022, the Russian army began their approach on our city. We heard the first blasts at 11 AM. It is now 12:30 PM. Within that short time, we heard more blast than any time previous. Now there is silence. We hope that means that our men are holding control of the city.
For me, my body is reacting more than my mind. It is more difficult for me to have only communication activity to do. My language communication is limited, so that leaves me out of the loop on a number of levels. On the other hand, it is better for me not to have to process all of what I hear, and not to have to deal with emotion about what I hear.
It is better that I focus on hearing the voice of God, being aware of His presence, and focus on the spiritual warfare. 
In my heart, I want to take up arms and stand side by side with my Ukrainian brothers and sisters, but without the language my concern is that I would not recognize the enemy. As I watch from a distance, I am encouraged to see how our Davids are battling Goliath.
One thing that is happening with Sveta uplifting. She has a “ministry of conversation”. Many people are calling her on the phone. As she listens, God’s spirit fills her with compassion and words of healing and calm. Sveta has the heartbeat of this city. So she is able to help many people find what they need. Today, our Christmas fundraiser family is in need of diapers. Sveta found two sources of help and sent her the link.
Some people are rattled because of the war. Some are afraid of the unknown. And some have big fear that they will return to living under the soviet control. If only all of the EU, and America and Canada … understood, could feel the hopelessness that these people feel, and remember, then they would not be so slow to act against these war crimes of the Russian government.
In 2003, I live with a wonderful family for the months. I was new to Ukraine, and understood nothing about the post soviet life. At one point, the husband, a Russian Christian who was a strong Christian believer, said to me, “Mark, we must plant as many Christian churches in Ukraine, as fast as we can, before Russia controls us again.” I thought, “Who is your God.” I had no clue that he was not talking about faith, he was talking about the mentality of the Russian government. He was talking of a mentality of domination of nations. He grew up under soviet rule. He was denied higher education because he was a Christian. Think about that!
As for Sveta and I, there is a shock, a numbness. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

Update on war 3/2/2022

Hello family and friends,
Yesterday was a busy and emotional day. For me, the numbness continues, as my mind tries to process so much information.
Our daughter was ready to begin the process of exodus with her children. When she could no longer wait around the house, doing nothing, she went to the street to explode with emotion. As she walked around, calming down, God spoke to her (the hairdresser). He said, “Olya, your weapons are your scissors and comb. Serve the soldiers.”
Today she had many requests. As her husband drove her to the first location, they were stopped my the local military. The city had been locked down. Even so, She now understands her purpose in life. She has here home salon, and does home visits for hair care. She will share her talents with those in need, unable to afford, or now for the soldiers who protect our country.
On the map, you can see the MUCH locations in yellow. Most locations are not able to operate because of the invasion. Here is a rundown of what we understand.
Alyona, from our Christmas fundraiser, delivered her baby the other day. Both mother and baby are doing well.
The boys from one orphanage has relocated all of the children. Orphans from another orphanage and children from transition home stay in their facility, they are in safe. When it need children stay in underground place. So, our children in safety.
One of our massage therapists continues to treat two children with great needs.
As for Sveta and I, there is a shock, a numbness. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

Update on war 2/27/2022

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I are safe in our home. 
The scheduled bombing and arrival of tanks in Mykolaiv continues. Here is the latest news that I am aware of.
This is a street not far from the building where our congregation rent a room for church services. This location is about 15 miles from our home.
Last night, there was some kind of attack. It is not clear what. These pictures are taken from a phone video. Our daughter says that the tanks are Russian. If that is correct, and I hope that it is so, then our boys have destroyed four Russian tanks. Unfortunately more are on the way.
It appears that whatever was used to destroy the tanks
created shock waves that broke windows in the buildings.
This family spent the night in an underground area. This morning, they return home to check on damages. They were pleased to see no damage.
I hear bombs from a distance as I write.
As for Sveta and I, there is a shock, a numbness. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

Update on war 2/26/2022

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I are safe in our home. 
This update is to inform you of our safety and what has happened in our city in the last two days. We are 7 hours ahead of the east coast time in the US. 
I’m sure that you have seen the maps on Facebook of where Putin is attacking. 820 military infrastructure facilities have been attacked by Russia.
We are a couple of miles outside of the city proper, but are within the city limits.
Thursday morning, the first bombs hit an air strip close to Mykolaiv. The rest of the day was calm.
Friday was uneventful until afternoon. Our daughter and her family were going to visit us. They saw a drone flying overhead, so they decided not to come. It was unsuccessful at being shot down. If it was a Russian controlled drone, I imagine that it was finding the locations for the next explosion.

Mykolaiv had a lights out from dusk on. Around 10 PM, we felt and heard the house rattle from shock waves. 
The train station was hit. Not far away from the train station, an oil tank farm was hit. These are located about 10 miles from us.
This picture was taken for our area, looking toward the train station.
I believe this picture is closer, in our district heading in the same direction.
There was conflict at the main bridge to the city. Mykolaiv held control of it.
About 60 men, 30 years and older, filled a big hospital in the main part of our city.
Today, our daughter again wanted to come visit us. She heard gunfire in her neighborhood, so they remained at home. They are on the first floor of a five floor walk up.
This picture is of a bread factory on the outer fringe of our city, not sure of the location.
Our daughter-in-law, Ira, and granddaughter live on the 10th floor of a high-rise in our district. Many seek safety in the basements of building like this one. They stayed there the night, and will do the same tonight.
Ira, our manager in Chornomorsk, said, “Mark, you are a true Ukrainian. You stayed.”
I decided to stay for many reasons. One good reason is that I can encourage my team, family, and friends with more meaning.
As for Sveta and I, there is a shock, a numbness. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

War and new vision

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I are safe. The skies are clear this morning. At about 5 AM this morning, Russia invaded Ukraine, hitting a number of cities in Ukraine, including a place in Mykolaiv, about 5 to 7 miles north of us. Sveta was in our district this morning. People were in a very long line at the ATM and grocery store. Intercity buses have stopped, and many other things are happening. You can see it all on the internet news.
I will keep you informed as things change. Understanding who Putin was and is will suggest that he is living in soviet mentality times. He is trying to return to at time that has proven unacceptable by the world.
Life moves forward, faith in God grows, and unity in Europe strengthens. Although I am a resident of Ukraine, my involvement must remain focussed on the MUCH mission. At this point, all of our programs continue, out of harms way.
We will let you know if anything charges. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers!
Mark’s Moments
Twenty years have come and gone since I first moved to Ukraine. Eighteen years ago MUCH was created. A lot has happened during that time. It all happened in Ukraine. MUCH will continue to grow in Ukraine, serving the children in need, setting the example for the nation.
Over the past three or four months, pastors from churches in other countries have been inviting us to visit their church. This was a surprise to me. Of course, I didn’t understand it. When God called me to Ukraine, I didn’t understand that either. God is showing me that these churches in developing countries are in need of encouragement and direction. God is calling me to take MUCH to the nations. What does that mean?
There is a church in the Philippines that connected with us two year ago, directly before COVID appeared. The pastor shared about his ministry to orphaned and undernourished children. 
Through our conversations, we discussed children with disabilities, and the massage therapy program. He sees a great value to have a massage therapy program for the children, and he sees value in massage therapy for adults dealing with the stress of poverty.
Another pastor who is inviting us to come to his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, also found me on LinkedIn, a job related social network. When we discussed the multiple values of massage therapy, he explained that there are many people not receiving treatment for disabilities in the cities and villages. The cities are filled with poverty and stress.
As God is unfolding the vision for the nations, Sveta and I are developing information that we can share via email and WhatsApp. I anticipate that this communication with any country will require at least one year to develop. From today, COVID and other things happening in Ukraine will determine our travel opportunities. The travel time will be one trip to one country per year. The difference is that the churches, not MUCH, will finance the massage therapy programs initiatives. Sveta and I will visit to initiate and enable the people to start the program. We don’t expect to reproduce our program in one year, that which took eighteen years in Ukraine. We do believe that we will move things forward much faster, though.
Thank you again, sponsors! Your contributions to the Christmas fundraiser is changing lives as you read this letter. Two warm homes, and massage treatments for many children are a reality because of your gifts. God Bless You!
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

January 2022

Hello family and friends,

Great News!

The Christmas fundraiser received $5,750
Our goal was $7,000

With this wonderful amount, we can provide for the multiple needs for Alyona’s family (October newsletter) and utilities for Vera’s family for four more months of cold weather. The balance will be used to supplement the massage therapy program which has been growing the past few years. God is showing us future growth that was not expected. I will tell more about that in the February newsletter.

Alyona and Vera are very thankful for your helping them through this difficult winter season!

Vera 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!” (reprint from the November newsletter)

Alyona has had such a difficult year, one more stress in her life arrived the day before Christmas. Her twelve year old son, Dennis, died. He received massage therapy for most of his twelve years. Sveta and I helped to pay for the burial plot. Alyona begins 2022 with a grateful heart to MUCH for our help with her winter utilities, and the birthing of her baby in February. Once again, she says,
“Thank you for your generosity toward my family and me. I cannot find the words to express the deep value that I have for your timely help. God Bless You.”

Mark’s Moments
If you were to come to Ukraine, wanting to reproduce what God has done through MUCH these past eighteen years, you might ask these two questions. ” Where do you find massage therapists or people wanting to become massage therapists?” You can read the answer to this question in our April 2021 Newsletter. The second question may be, “Where do you find children in need of massage therapy?” The answer to this question is the story for this newsletter:

Our neighbor, Luba, broke her leg. When I say neighbor, I mean to say that she and her husband have a house and garden diagonal to Sveta’s and my home. They work their garden and orchard, but they live in the city.

Luba called Sveta and asked if she could help her with details for a hospital visit (helping her husband guide the wheel chair on icy walk ways and standing in line for hours). In the process, Luba’s husband found a neighbor in their high rise who had a wheelchair that they could rent. The wheelchair belonged to a teenager by the name of Diana. That is how we met Diana.

Sveta’s Journey

Here is Diana’s story. She was born a healthy child. When Diana was vaccinated against polio at the age of eight months, her mother soon discovered that her daughter could not stand firmly and confidently as she had before. Diana’s muscles were paralyzed. Many times she was treated in hospitals, but this did not give any result. Diana had no choice but to sit in a wheelchair.

Diana’s school lessons were provided at home. Now she is studying at the university level, studying languages: English and Latin. This year, she wants to transfer to an online sociology course. With the money allocated by the state for people who received COVID-19 vaccinations, Diana bought three books on psychology. She is a very determined girl. In her dreams, Diana sees herself not in a wheelchair, but walking the streets and helping others in their difficulties. She has strong personal convictions. We believe that Jesus will make her dreams and visions come true.

One dream, to learn how to play the synthesizer, became a reality last month. The Capernaum club gave her a used synthesizer. Our relative, who has a musical education, comes to Diana’s home and teaches her how to play the keyboard.

Of course, providing a massage treatment on a bed is not very comfortable for a massage therapist, but what can you do. Enna finds a solution in any situation.

Living my dream,
Sveta

Thank you again, sponsors! Your contributions to the Christmas fundraiser is changing lives as you read this letter. Two warm homes, and massage treatments for many children are a reality because of your gifts. God Bless You!

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

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

December 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.

We have raised $1,425 so far! $5,575 more to raise.
With your help, we can meet our goal!
Here are some different ways that you can help to raise money for MUCH!
Shopping with AmazonSmile
Do you shop at Amazon on the internet? Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the Charitable organization of your choice.
AmazonSmile is the same Amazon that you know: the same products, the same prices, the same service.
Support Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope by starting your shopping at AmazonSmile. This is a great way to support MUCH. We receive on average about $50 per quarter. You can help that grow!
Facebook Fundraiser
You can be a big part of helping MUCH reach its goal. How? In less than five minutes you can create a fundraiser on Facebook.
Please consider helping MUCH provide the services these children desperately need through a Facebook fundraiser.
MUCH is a Nonprofit Charity (501) (c) (3) and is registered with Facebook.
Here is how you can set up a fundraiser for MUCH on your Facebook page.
From your mobile device:
From your profile page, click on the three horizontal lines on the bottom right of the screen. Scroll down to See More. Click on See More. Scroll down to Fundraiser and click on it. Click Raise Money. Click Nonprofit. Type Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope in the search bar. Click on it. Click Create in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Then click Get Started.
From your desktop computer:
From your profile page, look on the top left on the screen. Scroll down to See More. Click on See More and scroll down to Fundraiser and click on it. Click Select Nonprofit. Type Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope in the search bar. Click on it. Click Create in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Then click Get Started.
To assure success on your fundraiser, please consider making a small donation yourself to get the campaign started.

Sveta and I wish everyone a very blessed Christmas Season!

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

Please take some time to watch our video of MUCH programs in 2021.

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