Tag Archives: giving children Ukraine hope

January 2020

Hello family and friends,

Sveta and I wish you a happy and holy new year. May 2020 give you direction, new adventures, compassion for others, and love that will lead your every step of each day.

We would like to begin the year with a story of hope. Jana, a mother of two boys with cerebral palsy, would not give up her search for treatment for her children. Here is her story.

Sveta’s Journey

Dan and Nik

The journey of six-year-old twins, Dan and Nik, has been a long one. Dan and Nik had a difficult birth. Both children were diagnosed with cerebral palsy of varying degrees.

For six years, Jana, the boys’ mother, has been taking her boys to every hospital, and medical and rehabilitation center that she could find. Throughout Ukraine, her experience was that each doctor and massage therapist treated her boys with the same systematic approach. They read the diagnosis, and prescribed the same treatment for the child without ever touching the child. Can you imagine the single mindedness of this post-soviet medical system?

Finally, after six years of searching for a better approach, Jana heard about “ФИЗРУК-Центр”, the facility in Chornomorsk, founded by MUCH’s Dr. Natalia. She called and set up an appointment for evaluation and treatment. Jana, Dan, and Nik, living three hundred and fifty miles east of Chornomorsk, set out on their adventure. After traveling in a couple of buses, the twelve hour over-night train, and more busses and a taxi, they arrived at “ФИЗРУК-Центр”! They were hopeful that they would find better answers here.

From the first visit with Dr. Natalia, Jana was impressed by the integrated and individual approach that the doctor had with each of her sons. The massage therapy that Dr. Natalia does is radically different from the massage therapy that Dan and Nik received in other institutions designed to treat children with cerebral palsy.

Dr. Natalia even takes into account subtleties such as: If she puts Dan on the massage table, his arms and legs will be involuntarily bent, his body muscles will be contracted and strained even more. In this position, doing massage therapy, stretching muscles or exercising joints will not have any effect. Dan is afraid of heights, even the height of the massage table. The child is fearful of many things. Fear increases the spasticity in his muscles even more. When he is on Natalia’s lap, he is calm, and she can work effectively with him. Therefore, after she found a position where Dan’s muscles were relaxed as much as possible, she proceeded with the massage therapy treatment. In this position, it is also easier to twist his spine side to side. Dan has a unique response to positioning. Dr. Natalia can cause a reaction by putting him in a certain position.
One specific therapy that Dr. Natalya is using is a preventative therapy for Dan’s feet. She is working on muscles of Dan’s feet and toes to avoid the development of high arched foot.

Nik, Dan’s brother, became friends with Natalia from the first day. After massage therapy and special exercises, he was busy collecting beans in a bowl. He also showed us how he can stand on his own. Nik was very happy to show us what he was capable of doing!

The boys’ mother shared with us her pain. She could not hold back her tears. For six years, she has been fighting for the future of her sons. We cannot fully understand her pain and the difficulties of her search for treatment for her sons. But we can support her, Dan, and Nik, with our prayers and finance.

Thank you for helping children such as Dan and Nik, and many others! See their two minute video here.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Mark’s Moments

Our Christmas fundraiser results were $1900. I had hoped for more, but maybe I didn’t explain our fundraiser very well. We anticipate our total monthly budget for 2020 to be $2,391.60 per month. My goal was to try to raise as much as possible for the massage therapy program. Beginning in March, we will have fourteen active massage therapists. The anticipated three more in a new location are not in the budget.

The MUCH goal for the massage therapy program may be different in the big picture than I have expressed in the past. I have stated previously that we want to provide examples for the people of Ukraine to reach out and care for their own people. My specific goals are playing out in the way. We provide funds to train massage therapists. Once trained, they practice their new skills with friends and family, building ability and confidence.

As they practice massage therapy, word of mouth advertisement begins, also sharing that they are interested in working with special needs children. MUCH helps with partial payment for four special needs children per month. In private practice, massage therapists can work out of their own homes, but for special needs children, home visits are preferred. Our massage therapists need more than what MUCH provides, so they charge the parents for the balance. The massage therapists working in the orphanages are limited to MUCH payment, but are encouraged to develop their own private practice.

Our goal of four children with special needs per month allows each massage therapist to build a clientele of four additional full paying clients. Depending on the energy level of the massage therapist, one could presumably treat sixteen clients in a month. If they receive a ten day massage treatment, eight clients for each ten day treatment, times two equals sixteen clients in twenty days.

What does this additional business have to do with MUCH? We are not only involved in bringing healthcare to children with special needs. We are inspiring entrepreneurism in heath-care service. MUCH is opening doors that are changing the face of Ukraine, one massage therapist at a time.

Most of the families that we help with our partial payments have big financial needs for their children’s medical treatment. Your contribution is a big help for the family. You are not solving their problem, but you are helping them on their way. “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat.” (Matthew 25:35)

Thank you so much for your contributions. If you don’t contribute, please consider what $22 a month will mean for a child with a disability in an orphanage. MUCH serves children with disabilities in three orphanages and a transition home: Dobromel, Veleeky Lubin, Stepovoya, and Marganets. Your $22 gift will provide a ten-day massage treatment for one child! Thank you! The children thank 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

May 2019

Hello family and friends,

We had very nice weather in May, from the mid 70s to the lower 80s. A few big storms blew through to water our fruit trees. Our apricots, apples, peach and quince trees are all producing this year. The cherries are on our table every day or so. I am learning a farmers patience as I wait for big harvests from each of our trees. We need to study more, particularly about spaying. Write to us if you have tips that help keep ants and insects off fruit trees!

Mark’s Moments

School is out, but for two weeks the schools of Ukraine puts on a “camp” program. This year will be the third year for our church to run a Christian Camp at schools during their second week.

I was invited to speak in the first week with the fifth, sixth, and seventh grade English pupils at the school beside our church. Pictured here are the fifth grade children. I enjoyed talking with children and teens about the English language and all questions about life that they have. It is a great opportunity to connect with children of all ages.

They were shy at first, but they warmed up to me as my funny side appeared. They had many questions, but some had to be coaxed out of their secret comfort zone.

From the previous camps, it was learned that some of the children have hidden traumatic experiences. Our church continues to receive permission to do Christian camps, ministering to the children’s deepest needs that the schools cannot address successfully.

Sveta’s Journey

Many children who receive massage treatments have very difficult diagnoses and may never be healthy. But thanks to massage treatments, the pain and discomfort of these children is reduced. Parents also see love and support through our massage therapists. They see that they are not alone in their life challenges. When Mark and I visit such families, the parents always express great gratitude for the fact that you, as sponsors, and we, as missionaries, participate in the lives of their children. They see God’s love through you. We always emphasize that God loves them and their children so much. Some of the parents make a connection with Mark and me. They gladly share with us the lives of their children.

Fourteen-year-old Kate has a thyroid problem, poor weight gain, scoliosis, and osteoporosis. Since last year, she is receiving regular massage therapy every month for 10 days. Originally, when they took a break from massage treatments for three months, Katya’s spasticity of the arm muscles increased.

After a course of massage therapy, she began to sleep more calmly, her fingers began to open and close better. Kate is very receptive to massage to the calming affects of massage.

Our massage therapist, Anya, shares the good results that she is having. Kate’s knee joints are much more relaxed without much effort. Her back muscles have become more balanced especially in the upper region. The lower back muscles are still in hypertonia, especially on the left side.

Katya is being cared for by her grandmother. We talked with her for a long time. She told the story of her hard life and about her granddaughter. It is not easy for her to take care of Kate, but her love for her granddaughter gives her strength and thirst for life. Grandma Katie strongly believes that God will restore and heal her granddaughter.

Fifteen-year-old Maria started receiving massage treatment in December 2018. Here are some of her many diagnoses: congenital malformation of the brain, microcephaly, convulsive syndrome. The calf muscles were completely atrophied, the ankles did not unbend. The girl moves around the apartment in a seated position supporting herself with her arms.

The first massages were very painful for the girl. But after a twenty-day course of massage treatment, Maria reduced the number of convulsions she was having, and her knees became easier to straighten. The calf muscles have strengthened and now the girl can stand on her feet with the help of her mother. Her sleep patterns are much better. When she receives massage, she no longer is crying. The use of anticonvulsant and analgesic drugs has decreased. Maria has become much calmer. Mom asks to continue physical therapy and massage. Our massage therapist, Tanya, also gives massage treatments for Maria every ten or sometimes twenty days a month.

Our massage therapists, Anya and Tanya, have a great love for these children and have become part of their lives. They pray for them, support their grandmother and mother through ongoing communication, hanging out and even make plans for the future for these girls. Maria’s mother is very interested in motivating the local government to provide a neighborhood facility and program for special needs children.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Your contributions are changing individual lives. Grandmothers, mothers, and children are being transformed into hopeful and happy members of society. You are changing Ukraine, causing a ripple effect from the unseen to the epicenter of society. All of Ukraine thanks you for your part, initiating the ripple!

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

February 2017

Hello family and friends,

The end of February is bringing sunshine and warmer temperatures. Spring in Ukraine is just around the corner. The trees have been pruned and are beginning to bud. We have already begun a great year with MUCH. Read on to learn more!

Mark’s Moments

IMG_20170207_093010We are very pleased to share the results of the Christmas fundraiser in more detail. The Director of the Ternava Village School sent us pictures of their purchases.

1. We are very happy to have provided medical first-aid supplies that were needed for the nursing station.
IMG_20170222_121210

2. The elementary school children now have ten computer tablets to enhance their learning experience.

3. Three sewing machines and one embroidery machine have expanded the education system for the children from the three villages that IMG_20170201_134057_BURST5attend the Ternava School. Operating sewing and

embroidery machines is not only a skill for girls and women.

You can see in the picture that boys learn to operate the machines also. The textile industry is big in Ukraine.

4. They may not have the interactive board completely installed, but that doesn’t stop their enthusiasm to put the provisions from MUCH to work.IMG_20170222_131128

5. Since I arrived in Ukraine in 2002, eastern and western Ukraine have had an ongoing discussion about which language should be the official language of Ukraine, Russian or Ukrainian. The EuroMaidan conflict in 2014 had nothing to do with language conflict, but as with the Georgian war, Putin decided that language would be a good excuse to involve Russia with Ukraine’s business. At the Ternava school in western Ukraine, the official language, Ukrainian, is being taught with a vengeance. The wall charts will deepen their understanding of the Ukrainian language.
IMG_20170222_1310026. Two great writers and poets of Ukraine, Ivan Franko, and Taras Shevchenko, made powerful and political influences on Ukraine.
Ivan Franko is quoted to the right of his picture, “Language grows with the soul of the people.”
Taras Shevchenko is quoted to the left of his picture, “Learn to read, be proud of your country, learn about other counties and the world.”

IMG_20170207_150708IMG_20170207_150654
 

 

 

 

 

To all who helped make the Christmas Fundraiser a success, the children thank you! The teachers and administration of the Ternava Village School thank you! Sveta and I thank you for helping us promote education here in Ukraine.

Sveta writes some wonderful news about the progress of some of our children in the Massage Therapy Program.

Sveta’s Journey
Massage therapy is the biggest program in MUCH. We continue to pray and give thanks to our Lord for every child who is able to get this help. Through this program, parents see your compassion and participation in the lives of their children. This is very encouraging and supportive for them. In such difficult situations many parents feel lonely.

Chornomorsk
Seven-year old Andrew, (left), struggles with cerebral palsy. He is not alone in his struggle. His parents, Dr. Nataliya, and you, my dear friends walk by his side. You who pray for and sponsor IMG_20170125_110332our work with Andrew, you help him make it through his struggles.

Andrew began his first course of massage therapy in October 2016. He could barely standing without someone giving him support. He could crawl on all fours, and he could jump forward on all fours like a frog.

After a second comprehensive course of massage therapy in January 2017, Andrew learned to walk with canes. You can see his great results in this picture!

 

Dobromel Orphanage
Nick, 12 years old, (right), was diagnosed with urinary incontinence, and a delay in speech development.

Because of these limitations, Nick became very self conscious. He was almost afraid to be around his peers. This caused him to become shy, and often withdrawn, spending time alone. Sometimes he would become aggressive.

Our massage therapist, Paul, began working with Nick. He explained that God loves him and IMG_9598 - Copythat he should not be afraid of his peers. He was told that the other children are the same as him. Each one has a unique difficulty. By the end of the 20-day massage course the boy gained confidence; timidity and indecision disappeared. Paul and Nick established a good friendship. The child began to feel more confident in the environments of his peers.
Nick used to wet his pants in the classroom, and wet the bed at night. Now, such cases are very rare. Quarterly massage therapy courses will also improve his self image and speech. The bladder problem will be corrected completely in the near future.

Children, from two months of age and up to age eighteen get help through the MUCH massage therapy program. Many diagnoses are corrected. It is possible that we may not see the great end results during our part of the child’s life. We see the results that we see, and God continues to walk with each child! God bless each of you and fill your needs in each area of your life!

Living my dream,
Sveta

MUCH continues to grow. We work in five cities and one village, with two more village projects waiting for approval and funding. God continues to open doors, introducing us to the people whom He has prepared to do His work, and glorify His Name through blessing the children of Ukraine.

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

January 2017

Hello family and friends,

We reached our Christmas fundraiser goal! Director Lyesya of the Ternava village school is making purchases as I write to you. We will share more next month.
A BIG UKRAINIAN THANK YOU
to ALL who made this fundraiser a success!

We are beginning January 2017 with a number of new programs. You may have read about them in previous newsletters. Here is a list of what we are doing in 2017.

New Programs
Veleeky Lubin Orphanage — one massage therapist for children with disabilities

Mykolaiv — two massage therapists for children with disabilities

Marganets Transition Home — one massage therapist for children from difficult homes

Ongoing Programs
Dobromel Orphanage — two massage therapists
— two computer classes

Chornomorsk — three massage therapists
— transportation scholarship – 4 students
Marganets
School #3 — clothing program
Transition Home — clothing program

Ongoing projects, and new projects that Sveta and I want for 2017

Marganets School #3 — improving education equipment

Ternava village school — improving education equipment
——
Ovidiopol village center — massage therapy for children with disabilities

Shostakova village school — improving education equipment

Maximovka village school — improving education equipment

Mark’s Moments

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Read on to learn about some of our programs through Sveta’s eyes!

Sveta’s Journey
Chornomorsk

DSC03448The Transportation Scholarship Program began in Chornomorsk in 2007. We currently have four students in college and university programs. Your help for our students is HUGE! We met with them and each of them has a big reason to say thanks to you, dear friends! They are standing in the picture right to left.

Three years ago Nastya’s father died, and it was at this time that she began to participate in our program. Nastya told us, “Without your financial support, it would be impossible for me to continue my education.” She is studying to be a music conductor.

Anya has five brothers and sisters in her family. Some of them are also college students. She asked us to thank you. Because of your financial help, Anya can continue her education. She is studying to be an elementary school teacher with a focus on the English language.

For the family of Daniel, your financial gift is also a great help. He needs extra lessons in mathematics. Help with the cost of his transportation to Odessa and back makes a big difference for his family. He, his sister, and parents are very grateful for your help. Daniel is studying at the college of radio and mobile instrumentation. He has a big heart. He shares his meager lunch with his friend who has even less.

Arthur’s parents have a small salary. Their situation was very difficult, but their choices were simple. They had money to pay for utilities and food or education, but not both. You gave them a third choice. Arthur is more thankful than words can say. He is studying at the college of music studies. Listen as he plays the violin very well.

Marganets
This year we closed the clothing program in the orphanage, but God opened a new door in another facility. In January we started a massage therapy program for children at the Transition Home. The children in this program live at this facility for nine months. Massage therapy is very important for these children. For them it is a stressful period in their lives. They have been taken from their family for their own safety, but it is never-the-less a very perplexing time. The children need supportive relationships and healing experiences for the body and soul.

Through massage therapy, step-by-step, the children will receive emotional, social, psychological, and physical rehabilitation. Our massage therapist, Yana, with her ten years of experience, has a great love for these children. She is happy to give massage treatments to the children in the Transition Home!

All who read our newsletters, thank you for your interest in what we do! To our American team, those who pray, encourage, volunteer administrators, and financially support MUCH, you are the heart and soul that God works through to continue to move God’s work forward. Thank each of you from the bottoms of our hearts.
Living my dream,
Sveta

2017 is going to be a very productive year for MUCH. Readers, share our stories with your friends, and be a part of the MUCH adventure!

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

December 2016

Hello family and friends,

Our Christmas fundraiser is in great need of your help.
Christmas is a few days away.
The end of 2016 is quickly drawing near.

We have raised $750 toward
Education tools for learning at the Ternava Village School
Partnering with Young Life Capernaum in Mykolaiv to provide a massage therapy room

Will you help us raise the remaining $3,177

Please Donate Here!

Sveta’s Journey

DSCN4592Our two new massage therapists in Mykolaiv, Anya and Oksana, are hard at work fine tuning their massage therapy skills. They are looking forward to improving the health of the children! With deep faith in God and compassion for children with disabilities, they are already praying for children whom they have not yet met! They will be begin in January 2017. Will you donate to help us prepare the massage therapy room?
Learn more about Young Life Capernaum.

When we first visited the Ternava village school, the children had no technical equipment for learning. Their materials were like when Mark was in school, fifty years ago.DSCN8265
Some of the secondary education children at the Ternava village school are making great progress in their studies because of the help that MUCH has provided.
Donate to help us bring DSCN0123Christmas to all of the children at the Ternava village school, primary and secondary, raising them to a higher level of learning. Computer tablets, interactive white boards, and language wall charts will elevate their learning experience.
DSCN0122
We are counting on you to help MUCH make a difference in the live of these children. Thank you so much for all of the help that you have given throughout 2016.

Living my dream,
Sveta

Our programs are increasing. See our list below!

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

November 2016

Hello family and friends,

Happy Thanksgiving to all in America! Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to look at how God has blessed Americans.
Christmas Fundraiser

The Christmas Fundraiser is on its way to success.
Original goal: $3,927

MUCH has received $500 toward our two projects:
Ternava Village School education tools for learning
Creating a massage therapy room to partner with Young Life

We now need $3,427

We need your help!

Be a part of changing the future of Ukraine through the education system!
Change lives through our massage therapy program with our Young Life partners!
You can Donate here!

Sveta’s Journey
Two years ago, MUCH began helping the children in the Ternava village DSC03881 school. We have seen great joy and gratitude from the director, teachers, and students. The government does not pay attention to small village schools. It was exciting for us to see the school children immediately use everything that MUCH provided.
The camping items to study ecology and environment were used on a fall field trip. The sports equipment was quickly used in the Physical Education classes. Laptop computers and other items for the classroom were greeted with big smiles and promptly put to use. DSC08582
It is so important to help children keep pace with the city children who have more resources. The education equipment in the Christmas Fundraiser will provide a great opportunity for children to acquire knowledge in order to continue in higher educational institutions and find good jobs.
The Ternava school administration asked for help to buy two Smart Boards (interactive whiteboards). See a video of a classroom demonstration Smart Boards.
What is a Smart Board? It is similar to a large computer tablet on the wall. The student can see everything that is on the computer screen, on the Smart Board. He or she can manipulate the computer by touching the Smart Board. If children will use Smart Boards, they will become more physically, mentally, and visually involved in the learning process. Less paper products will be used, and the use of colorful pictures, graphs, charts, and videos will increase their learning motivation.
Why do they need two Smart Boards? This village school has two buildings that are about one hundred yards from each other on opposite sides of the road. One is for high school students and the second is for the elementary grades.
DSCN3551As you can see in this graduation picture, traditional Ukrainian costumes are very popular. If children will have machines for a sewing class, girls will be able to sew the costumes and traditional clothes for other school children. It will be much cheaper than buying. Many parents do not have the finances to buy clothing for special events. They have many plans for the sewing class!
Teachers, parents and students always pass thanks to you!
Living my dream,
Sveta

You can support our Christmas Fundraiser here!

Mark’s Moments
In late May 2002, I stepped down from the plane at the Odessa, Ukraine airfield. As I walked toward the airport transport bus I paused. I thought to myself, “Well Mark, now you will see how big your faith is.” Without a firm plan, I moved forward, never looking back. I believed that God would show me His plan, introduce me to His people, and provide for all of my needs. He has done that for 14 years. Here is one example of God connecting me with children in need.

When Sveta and I travel to visit the children, we interact with different DSCN4365people. On our visit in Marganets, I called Enna, an English teacher who previously translated for me. I used to visit her classes and talk with the children. This is always a pleasure for me. She now has two of her own children in kindergarten, so she isn’t teaching. Enna did set up an opportunity for me to talk with the children at the Maximivka village school where she taught.

I have been there before, but never considered their need for help with education tools. Because of our help for the Ternava village school and Marganets School #3, I now see the Maximivka school with different eyes. We will begin investigating how we can help in the spring of 2017. This is only one example of how God connects Sveta and me with those whom He will help through MUCH.

Mission Ukraine has received $108 in the first three Quarters of this year from SmileAmazon shoppers. Thank you!

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