Hello family and friends,
Our tomatoes are ripening on the vine and some on the window sill. Carrots are doing well also. Bell peppers, squash, and cauliflower are looking good at this point. We are eating salads from the garden, garnished with dill and parsley. This year is our experimental year, learning all about feeding the soil, and crop rotation.
We told the story about this special child in past newsletters. We will call her Sasha, she is seven years old. Her skull was crushed during delivery, leaving her in a vegetative state. She is making progress, developing movement skills and muscle control. Earlier this year, we received a call from Dr. Natalia, our massage therapist. She asked if MUCH could provide a stroller for Sasha that is designed for children with disabilities. Her mother physically carries her everywhere.
In the process of getting the approval of the MUCH Board of Directors, it was agreed that the stroller would belong to MUCH. If Sasha came to a point where she would no longer need the stroller, it would be passed on to another child in need.
Sveta and I began the process of ordering this special stroller. It is expensive, and is manufactured in England, but can be purchased here in Ukraine without any problems, so we thought. We were given the address of the internet site that carried the stroller, and were told that this was the only place that carried this item. Sveta called to learn about the process. When she told me the details, I laughed. The salesman was trying to convince Sveta that his was the only store in Ukraine who had this item. He was asking for 70% up front with a three week waiting period. He would have to change Ukrainian currency into British currency, then order it from England. His location was in eastern Ukraine, not far from the war. This also concerned me.
I thought that there had to be another place that carried the stroller. Sveta searched the internet on Ukrainian sites. She speaks both Russian and Ukrainian. It didn’t take long before she found an internet store that did carry the item. She called, and was pleasantly surprised at how professional the operator was. She understood the product, gave us a better price, and was not the least bit pushy.
There were some additional features that we thought would be helpful for Sasha. In the picture you can see the sun shade, the back cushion, the side cushions, and the chest cushion for the seat belt. We didn’t know where to get the extra money. As God’s timing happens, two of our massage therapists called Sveta to tell her that they worked with less children last month. The money for the missed therapies was more than we needed to pay for the additional features on the stroller. The payment was cash on delivery, using a well known delivery firm. The stroller was delivered to Illichevsk two days from the order date. Glory to God!
When we are not visiting the children at the orphanages, or in the massage therapy clinics in Illichevsk, we are active with our church ministries. Our home group continues. We are planning to start a new group with two women from our current group leading it. They are practicing leading our home group now. It has been Luba’s dream (right of Sveta) to have a group meet in her home. Very soon, her dream will come true! Sveta and I plan to change our time for the new home group from afternoon to evening. We will open our home to young people who work during the day.
Woody, an American missionary, visited our home group to share stories about his work with orphans and street children in Ukraine. I had been reading his stories in newsletters since I met him in Western Ukraine in 2002. With his slow Carolina accent and his southern charm, he told us stories that amazed us. The ladies were so impressed that they asked him to come share his story at our church service. With the pastor’s permission, he came and told his story. He also shared some ideas of how to reach out to the children who are in need of help in our area.
On our spring visit to Illichivs’k, Mark and I had a lot of meetings with parents and children who receive massage therapy from our three wonderful massage therapists.
While visiting the policlinic, we met with one mother. She did not want us to photograph her two-year-old boy but she told us his story. When her child was two months old, she noticed that he was not actively moving his arms and legs. She and her husband went to the doctor. After the examination, it was found that the child has a hematoma within his skull that was compressing his brain. This has affected the physical development of the boy.
Where did this bruise come from? The child’s father suspected that something happened during birth, and he began the investigation in court. As a result, it was found that when the doctor delivered the baby, he dropped him on the floor. The doctor hid this fact from the parents. The boy cannot walk or sit. The mother is filled with despair and hopelessness, because when she visited the famous Ukrainian doctor in Truskavets, he told her that there was nothing that they could do. The parents lost hope.
We told the mother about Jesus. Even if people take her last spark of hope, Jesus can perform miracles because He is the Creator. Ira, the massage therapist, always encourages the mother not to lose hope and to trust in the Lord Jesus. Through massage therapy, Ira is successfully reducing spasticity and bringing calmness to the child. Ira always prays for this child. We ask you also to pray to God for this little boy.
Another of our massage therapists, Tanya, works with Simeon. He is about a year old. Six years ago, Simeon’s older brother was diagnosed with hip dysplasia by the neurologist. This problem is about the fit of the hip ball and socket. Tanya began to work with him. After several massage courses, the older boy was restored to health. This year, he completed first grade. Once again, the parents turned to Tanya to help their second child, Simeon. He was diagnosed with early signs of hip joint, leg deformities, clubfoot and bowed legs. During the three courses of massage therapy the boy’s condition has improved. Muscle spasticity has decreased, and his legs are straighter. We also had the opportunity to tell his mother about Jesus. This mother had a very difficult delivery, causing her to become disabled. We prayed about her and saw in her eyes the hope and the faith in Jesus. I shared with the women about how many years ago the Lord Jesus healed my daughter from coxarthrosis, a hip joint condition. Mark and I always use the opportunity to talk to people about the power and authority that Jesus has over their problems.
We met with three-year-old Masha and her mother on the street when she was bringing her daughter from the kindergarten. The girl is healthy and full of energy. Masha showed us how she runs. The mother is so very happy that her daughter walks normally! Her therapy is complete, but she was receiving massage therapy on a regular basis that began when she was about six months old. She was born prematurely at six-and-a-half months. Masha was in the hospital for two months with many diagnoses from many doctors. Later, Masha’s development was behind that of her peers by two months. She had weak muscles, hip dysplasia, and more. Doctors predicted that she would have many health issues. Thank God that the predictions of the doctors did not take place! God blessed this child with healing through a two year massage therapy program.
Tanya is continuing to give the massage therapy for Oleg which began when he was two years old. His legs were bowed, his spine was curved, he had pain in his joints, and Oleg became tired very quickly. Now, the boy is eight-years-old. His legs are straight and his spine is straighter, and he has no pain. He continues to receive massage therapy while his body and neurological system continue to develop. Oleg remembers Mark, and he knows some english words. They had a wonderful conversation, some of it with my help translating.
Oleg’s mother, Anya, is happy with the results of the massage therapy. She sees a distinct change in her child. The treatment takes a number of years, sometime many years. Not every parent is ready for that kind of commitment. Anya is committed to working with Tanya because she is getting the best and most complete results. She is grateful to Mark and all of the MUCH sponsors, for your support over the past six years. Because of the MUCH massage program, she has a great opportunity to provide the best massage therapy for her child!
Living my dream,
Thank you to all of our friends who make this possible!