Tag Archives: children in ukraine

The war crept back into my soul

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I hope that you are having a great fall season. Winter is right around the corner.

We have returned to our home (a place for the two of us) in Bobova, Poland. Tomorrow, we will begin our journey of adaptation and emotional healing. The past eight months have affected our subconscious more than we realized. Our trip back to Ukraine brought many emotions to the surface.

Here are some stories with links related to our time in Ukraine. Please bear with the ads in the videos. Some ads you can skip after five-seconds.

It was a difficult three weeks for me. Here are two reasons why: First were the air raid sirens. Every day, sometimes a number of times a day, the sirens would interrupt our lives. Buses would stop and everyone would get off and find cover, if they were smart. If children are in school, they are sent to the basement of the building. Shops close and the streets seem empty. Even the night we returned to Poland, our granddaughter’s school concert was cancelled at the last minute. Our neighbor took us to the bus station to guarantee that we would get there on time.

Second, we were living on the 8th floor. If you scrub through this video to 3.18 minutes, you will see that a whole vertical section of a building can be destroyed. This video shows the same in the city of Kherson. Last night, November 10, a building was hit in our city of Mykolaiv. Sveta received this picture this morning from a friend who is still living in Mykolaiv.

When we hear sirens after dark in Ivano-Frankivsk, it was most unsettling for me. We were reassured that the city was safe. For three weeks, I didn’t care what anybody thought or said. My emotion, my memories of March 2022, returned.

The ultimate experience of our three week adventure was when we were stopped at a check-point on the bus ride back to Poland. Two or three female soldiers entered the bus with semi-automatic rifles hanging from their shoulders. They checked the passports of each passenger, and the two drivers. I was not expecting this at all. In hind-sight, I am grateful that the security of the roads was heightened. What I took for granted most of my life, in America, is a treasure that Ukraine will not give away.

The mayor of Kiev explains that Putin does not want to control the people of Ukraine. He wants the land. For that, he is trying to destroy the infrastructure of Ukraine, and kill the people in the process. We have friends in Kiev. It has been, and continues to be, the greatest spiritual and physical challenge of their lives.

I remember when the country of Georgia was at war with Russia in 2008. Today, the Georgian Legion, a group of trained soldiers, continue to train and fight beside Ukrainian soldiers since the beginning of the eastern Ukraine war, in 2014. Their goal is to eliminate Putin.

The most moving story that I have seen is that of a journalist from Kherson. He has videoed the story of his young family, his pregnant sister and her husband. If you want to understand the day to day of a family under occupation, take 15 minutes and watch this video.

I have great respect for all of the Ukrainian people who stay and fight for their land, their home, for freedom and democracy in Europe and in the world. I am honored to be married to one who loves her country.

Mark and Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site 


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,

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:

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.



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: