July 2014

Hello family and friends,

It has been a challenging month and a half. Mom took care of me as a child, and throughout my life was there for me. Now it is my turn to care for her the best that I can. Sveta and I are only a part of the family team that is helping Mom, post-stroke. My two brothers and sister and their spouses make up the family team, but there are many professionals who add to the care team. And of course, there is you, our reader who we ask to pray for Mom’s healing.

For the past twelve years, I have been focusing on the needs of children. During that time, Mom has been working indirectly, by my side. Together, we began the mission in 2002. In 2004, Mom created MUCH, (a 501 c 3 non-profit), to make it possible to continue the mission. Teams developed on both sides of the Atlantic. The mission pushed forward.

As I wrote these two paragraphs, the following idea came to mind. It is not a new concept, but it becomes more real to me as I am experiencing it. Children, those that we help in Ukraine, as well as children in general, need guidance, finding their way through the challenges of their young lives. Infants are powerless and need help in every aspect of life. On the other end of the spectrum, each of us will reach a time in our lives when our bodies and/or our minds will leave us in need of more and more assistance. Our bodies wear out, or are afflicted with disease or illness, and it becomes our turn to need the help of others.

The time after our childhood and before our bodies and/or minds fail us are the times for us to help the children, or to comfort and care for the elderly. In America, there are many organizations that help children such as the YMCA and Head Start. For the elderly there are many choices such as retirement communities, nursing homes, assisted living at home, and a number of creative alternatives.

Life in Ukraine is a little bit different. The government provides education and sports programs for healthy children. If you can walk and carry your own books, you can go to school. If not, the government run orphanages are the only option other than keeping your child at home. The government has not given appropriate monies to run the orphanages, leaving the children with one pair of shoes every two years, and two pair of socks every year. Pants, shirts, dresses, and warm winter clothing are equally limited.

Most of the elderly are cared for by their children and grandchildren. The family unit remains quite close. Three generations sharing a small three room apartment is not uncommon. The economy necessitates their families to stay together. In their hearts, they believe that they can care for family members much better than government programs. This excerpt from the linked article says it well “The Ukrainian mentality is: we hurt in the heart and mind for our families. We have a conscience that must let us sleep. If not with high morality and responsibility, – then with fear of human judgment.” Click here to read about the only option that the government provides. (This is a translated article.)

Marks Moments

The conflict in Ukraine continues to unravel. My investigation of this crisis in the country that is now my own legal residence has been a great education. Russia and its relationship with Ukraine during the Soviet Union and after its break-up reveals an interesting history. The Kremlin and Putin have been working on covert activities to rebuild the Soviet Union. The protest and ousting of President Yanukovych pushed the timeline forward.

Four months later, and hundreds of people dead, the most tragic mistake of the separatists has brought Putin’s involvement with the crisis in Ukraine to the forefront. The shooting down of apassenger jetliner has produced the involvement of many more countries in the conflict between the separatists aided by Putin, and the army of Ukraine. Putin is now in a difficult position. What will he do? What will the EU do? What do you think that the US should do?

Sveta’s Journey

Now Mark and I are in America. Our trip to America was a last minute decision made because of Mom’s stroke. Mark’s heart rushed to Greensboro. The first three weeks of our stay here, we helped Mom while she was undergoing restoration in the Rehab Center, and then two more weeks when Mom was at her home. Family surrounded her with big love and care. Each doing a certain part, we were working as a great team.

Mom’s many friends are supporting and encouraging her through letters and visits. Family, our friends and Mom’s friends were a blessing to Mark and me when they helped us with transportation, housing, and food. During the two weeks when Mom was staying in her house, it was not possible for us to live in Mom’s house and we lived with her friend – a neighbor who shared with us her home and food, and helped us with transport. It was lovely to come back in the evening and have dinner with a welcoming hostess.

Mark’s Mom is worrying about the situation in Ukraine. She is concerned about children in orphanages, as she continues to keep them in her heart. We selected several pictures to show and tell her about the MUCH children. Every time when I look at the faces of the children, my heart is full of love and joy about them, the time brings me wonderful memories.

Ivan, an orphan, has no parents. He speaks badly and it is difficult to understand what he wants to say. When Ivan saw Mark and me on the territory of the orphanage, he ran up to us and was staying close by. He followed us as a ponytail and demanded attention. Ivan clung to Mark and to me.

He felt our love, love that attracts like a magnet, attracting love and warmth in its rays. It is God’s love that He has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. The heart of this little boy felt this love and in his childlike simplicity he clung to Mark as if he was his father. It was so touching! Later, it was so sad when we had to say goodbye to him. He waits for our return.

It is marvelous to me that my life has changed so much after my marriage to Mark. I am still amazed how God uses me to show His love to the children in the orphanages. I have an excellent opportunity to give God’s love to these children. It brings me great joy and satisfaction to touch their lives! I must keep telling about my immense gratitude to all of you who are praying and sponsoring our programs. You make it possible for me to be in this perfect position!Living my dream,Sveta

What are the children doing during the summer? In northwestern Ukraine, the children of the Dobromel Orphanage are away at camp. This year they are visiting a camp in Odessa, by the sea. About 60 children who are left at the Marganets Orphanage for the summer are true orphans. These children in south central Ukraine have the opportunity to go to different summer camps. The children who attend the school that we help in Marganets enjoy the summer with their families. The children of the Transition House also have opportunities to enjoy some summer activities. The children of the Illichevsk massage programs continue to receive massage therapy.

Some of the MUCH programs stop during the summer while others continue in full force. When school begins again on September 1, everything will be running full speed ahead. We at MUCH are very grateful for your attention to our children. Reading our newsletter, praying for our children, being sponsors, and helping in other ways also make the work that we do with the children possible. Thanks to all of you!