Tag Archives: Massage Therapy

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

June 2019

Hello family and friends,

We have been making plans for our trip to America. Five family members and friends have opened their home to us. We still need a place to stay from September 29 through October 3. As soon as a gracious host opens their door for those dates, we can buy tickets while the prices are still low. Thank you in advance!

Mark’s Moments

Stepovoya

On Friday our Pastor and his wife took us to the Stepovoya village orphanage for boys with disability. They brought clothing for the children. Sveta and I went to check up on our newest massage therapists, Natasha and Ira, and to talk with the director. Although it was his vacation time, he made a special effort to be there when we arrived. The director was extremely happy to share the results that he has been seeing since January. The big news was that many of the children normally needed to be hospitalized over the winter months. Because of the massage therapy treatments that they received this year, they did not need to go to the hospital.

The facility serves children who have four levels of mobility. The lowest level of children are unable to move on their own. The highest level of children are mobile, but have problems with movement and mental growth. Our goal is to have a massage therapist for each group. This would allow each therapist to specialize their massage skills.

As we discussed the needs of the children, we agreed that they needed two more massage therapists. The director has one in mind and is looking for the second.

Children everywhere love to have their pictures taken.

 

 

 

 

 

We had a nice visit with some of the children who were outside. Sveta helped one of the massage therapists guide a blind child back to the main building after enjoying some nice time outside.

Ovidiopol

Four years ago, Ira, our manager in Chornomorsk, introduced Sveta and me to the director of a grass roots organization for children with disabilities in Ovidiopol. About a month ago, I spoke with Ira about the needs of the same city where her husband pastors a church. On Friday, we spoke again. As it happens, a young woman in her church has a passion to become a massage therapist and work with special needs children. (The doors keep opening.)

For eight years while I lived in Chornomorsk, Ira was my assistant. Now she is energetically working with the Ovidiopol government and the organization for children with disabilities. One of her many goals is to find a second person to train for massage therapy in September.

Our goal with MUCH is to have four, maybe five people in the massage therapy training program in September. MUCH is growing the massage therapy awareness and availability for children with special needs throughout Ukraine.

Sveta’s Journey

Transition Home in Marganets

Valya has been living at the Transition Home in Marganets for three months. This is the fourth time that she and her brother are staying at this facility. They are waiting for a court decision regarding their parents. How will their fate be decided? Why is the court system so slow to protect these children from the violence of their own parents? It is terrible when children need protection from family closest to them.

Somehow, Valya received a head injury. An operation was required. Her face is disfigured by a huge surgical scar. Valya’s mind was wounded. She is very sensitive to sound. Loud noises will cause her to shrink into a ball. Very often she complained of headaches.

Albina, our massage therapist at the Transition Home, treated Valya with massage therapy. Her mental condition improved somewhat. Valya shows confidence toward Albina who does her job with great love and compassion. The child responds to her by opening her wounded heart to the healing love she feels through Albina.

In the family of five-year-old Katya, scandals of drunken parents constantly occur. They did not care for their daughter. This influenced the character of Katya. She became a withdrawn, scared child, complaining of frequent headaches and continued sleeplessness.

After a ten-day massage course, Katya’s headaches disappeared, her mood improved, and a blush reappeared on her face. She began to show interest in communicating with other children, peace was felt. These are some of the results of living in an atmosphere of love and acceptance!

Albina not only does her job lovingly, but she does more. On weekends, she takes the most difficult child from the Transition Home and spends time with him or her. In edifying communication and spending time together with Albina, children begin to feel that they have meaning and are loved.

How wonderful it is to know that there are such people who are not indifferent to the pain of children. They will rush to surround the soul of a child with love. God connects people like Albina with MUCH to share their love and compassion. This opportunity is possible thanks to our precious sponsors! Can you imagine what a great and beautiful thing you are doing sponsoring our massage therapists and the children that they serve? This is how one sows and the other reaps. Everyone has their own life work. The Lord, Who pours out love through all of us touches baby souls! Thanks to all of you, and glory to the Lord!

“…serve one another in love.” – Galatians 5:13

Living my dream,

Sveta

We send a BIG THANK YOU to all for your involvement with MUCH.

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

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

April 2019

Hello family and friends,

After a grey and dreary winter, spring has made everything green again. Sveta is planting and watering in the orchard and flowers. Her plans for our property continue to develop. My work on the house insulation and corridor will be complete before we visit America in September and October.

Speaking of our visit, we would love to connect with you. We are making plans to visit sponsors in North Carolina and Florida. Even if you are in another state and would like us to visit you, your friends, or your church, let us know. We would love to visit with you and share our stories. We hope to hear from you by July. That will help us be more organized. We are eager to hear from you!

Mark’s Moments

We began our massage therapy program in 2012 and our computer program in 2013 at the Dobromel Orphanage for Children with Disabilities. Luba, the orphanage librarian, joined the MUCH team at Dobromel to teach computer skills in 2015. I encouraged Luba to find a program to teach the children to use the keyboard. She enthusiastically did some research and found a number of programs. Choosing the best one to meet the special needs of the children, she initiated her program.

In April, Sveta and I visited the Dobromel Orphanage in northwestern Ukraine. We were eager to observe the progress that the children were making. It was a delight to see the children busy with their tasks. Each one showed us their progress with the keyboard. It was so great to see each child actively pecking the keys.

Interested to hear about more results, I asked Luba what changes she saw in the children. Also, I was eager to knowing if the teachers were seeing differences in the children’s performance in the classroom. I was very excited to hear her stories.

Working with the keyboard stimulated the lower functioning children to learn the alphabet. One child who could not read, learned to see words by syllables. Now he is working with words. Reading is not far away! The interaction between children during the computer class is also interesting. Children who are not friends are happy to help other children solve a small problem. This is a milestone for some of the children. Other teachers report that the children are more calm and focussed.

Sveta’s Journey

Recently Mark and I visited our little friends and massage therapist, Igor, in the Veleekey Lubin Orphanage. It was wonderful to hear and see how children have changed compared to last year. Anton is 10 years old. His diagnosis is autism. When we saw him on our last visit, he did not look into our eyes. He always looked away. This is one of the symptoms of autism. He would not allow anyone to touch him. He was sullen. Anton could bite other children if approached, and was protective of his own space and personal little world. He did not initiate contact with other children.

This visit, when I looked into Anton’s eyes, I was afraid that I would scare him away. With a smile on his face, he looked into our eyes without looking away. In his eyes I saw love and trust. The boy has become calm and sociable. Although he does not speak yet, he understands everything. Now he undresses himself and jumps up on a massage table with enthusiasm. Two years ago, no one could touch him. Now, he really likes massage treatments!

It was so nice to watch Igor work with children. Another child that he has been working with is Oleg. He is 11 years old. He has hemiparesis. This condition effects his left arm. Previously, he could not straighten his left arm. The muscle tone was high. Oleg could not dress independently. He could not fully raise his arm. Of course, this brought the boy great discomfort. After three courses of a ten-day massage treatment during one and a half years, his arm is working much better. The boy can dress himself, can raise his arm, bend and straighten it. This is so wonderful!

It is impossible to describe our joy when we see how the children are changing!

Living my dream,

Sveta

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 2016

Hello family and friends,

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It is 37F as I write this letter, but the sun is shining and the wind is blowing the clothes dry. It is time to start the tomatoes inside, prepare the land outside, and think spring. Sveta is chomping at the bit, so to speak.

In Sveta’s Journey, she shares our first picture result from the Christmas Fundraiser!

Marks Moments

Your purchases on SmileAmazon have earned MUCH $41.59! Shop SmileAmazon

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Sveta and I haven’t written much about our church life in the newsletter. Here is a brief explanation of our ministries in our church. Two years ago, the pastor of the church where we were married asked us if we wanted to be members. We had attended Sunday services for about four months. We accepted his invitation joyfully. In the same meeting, he asked if we were interested in any particular ministry. We said that we would like to begin a healing ministry. He thoughtfully said, “We will go forward step by step.” Now, each Sunday while the worship portion of the service continues, we have a few chairs in the back of the church where people may come for prayer for healing. Our team has grown from two to eight.

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Within six months of attending the pastors home group, Sveta and I asked permission to begin a home group of our own. We live on the edge of the city where there are a number of people from our church. Quickly, our home group grew and one of the members was ready to lead a group of her own. While we were in America, four more home groups began. The need was evident. It seemed that the church was waiting for an example.

The people in our home group now attend other local home groups, leaving Sveta and I to meet another need in the church. We have discussed using our home group setting for teaching new and spiritually young Christians the foundation beliefs of the faith with the pastor. He has approved this and we will begin in March.

Our church is interested in the work that MUCH does and is interested in participating. In our city of almost 500,000 people, there are a number of orphanages. Our church has visited some of them and wants to expand their connection with the children. We will see what new opportunities develop in the future

Sveta’s Journey

December2015

In October 2011, Mark sent me to Dobromel, northwestern Ukraine, to give a twenty-day massage therapy demonstration. He was confident that there would be results within twenty days, but to tell you the truth, I was not. It was a very difficult time for me, but in the end of the twenty days, I did see results. I will share about some of the children who continue to benefit from massage therapy and the exercise items that you provided through the Christmas Fundraiser.

I will tell you stories of two of the boys in this picture. Sasha, on the far right, came from a Baby House a number of years ago. (A Baby House is an ill managed facility where the system maintains life for infants and preschool children who are without family.) He was quite wild when he first arrived at the Dobromel Orphanage. In social settings he was unable to interact calmly with other children. In the classroom, he sat on the window sill, looking out the window. After a number of massage therapy treatments, Sasha became calm, sat at his desk in the classroom, and became more sociable with the children.

Igor, second from the left in the same picture, was new to the orphanage last year. Mark and I watched him in a classroom setting. He demanded attention, acting out while the teacher was instructing the class.

Paul, our second massage therapist, connected with Igor through the massage therapy treatment. Paul has a great personality and interacts well with the children. Now, Igor is doing much better in the classroom.
His interaction with the children has improved, also.

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I wish that you could be a ‘fly on the wall’ to see first hand the big changes in the children that I see when we visit the Dobromel Orphanage. Thank you so much for your contributions to the Christmas Fundraiser. You can see in this picture the items that Natalya, our first massage therapist, bought with your financial gifts. She compliments her massage therapy treatments with exercise, using different instruments to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the children. They send you a Big Thank You!

Living my dream,

Sveta

We are seeing big changes in the children as each year goes by. Sveta and I, and all of the MUCH team thank you for reading our newsletter and participating in our work through financial support, prayer, encouraging letters or Emails, and sharing about our journey with your friends.

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

 

July 2015

Hello family and friends,

Our tomatoes are ripening on the vine and some on the window sill. CDSCN0408arrots 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.

Marks Moments

We told the story20150708_160244 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.

DSCN9567There 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.

thumb_DSCN0377_1024Woody, 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.

Sveta’s Journey

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.

DSCN9491Another 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 anDSCN9469d 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.

DSCN9534We 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 DSCN9508he 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,
Sveta
Thank you to all of our friends who make this possible!

2014 February

Hello family and friends,

Sveta and I had been planning to go to Poland to get my visa that I need to complete my long-term residency in Ukraine. This is like the American “green card”. When we had our bags packed, reservations made, and train tickets purchased for the Odessa- L’vov part, Mother Nature spoke up. Our February began with roads closed to Odessa because of ice, snow, and an accident somewhere along the way. We hadplanned to take the bus to Odessa the next morning, but had to make alternative last minute plans. With the train being the only other choice, we went to the train station hoping to get tickets for the train that would pass through Nikolayev, where we live now, at 1:00 AM. With no tickets available, we got on the train and tried our luck at getting permission to ride. There are pull-down seats in the corridor of the train car. Not only did we get permission to ride, there were also two unoccupied beds in one of the four bed compartments.

That being successful, we got Sveta’s Schengen visa in Odessa at the Polish Embassylater that day. (Not long ago, the European Union [EU] created the Schengen visa for people from certain countries to permit them to travel through the countries of the EU. Ukrainians need this visa, but Americans do not. We spent the night with friends in Illichevsk

The next day we took the bus to Odessa and the overnight train to L’viv, Ukraine, this time with tickets, and from there the following afternoon took a bus to Krakow, Poland. We went to the Ukrainian Embassy in Krakow Monday morning. Acquiring my new visa was easy, but the date for it to be effective had to be changed, sending Sveta back to L’viv three days before I could enter Ukraine with my new visa. She stayed with missionary friends until I arrived, and we continued on to Illichevsk to visit the massage clinic. All of this took fifteen days, leaving us exhausted when we finally arrived in Nikolayev.

While in Illichevsk, we visited our three massage therapists at the MUCH clinic. One of the children treated by Natalya B. was highlighted in last month’s newsletter video.

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On this visit, we were able to take video (see above) of the little girl, showing the progress that she has made since September. In September, she had no ability to walk. All of her leg movements were reflexes. When Natalya B. helped her go through the walking movements, she had to support the weight of the child, holding her arms. You will see in the new video that Natalya gives very little support, allowing the child to grasp her fingers as she walks. For this diagnosis of cerebral palsy, the child has made great progress.

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Our massage therapist, Ira, joined the MUCH massage therapy team in September of 2012. She was previously a nurse specializing in syringe injections at the polyclinic. Now, working for MUCH at the polyclinic, she gives massage for five children a day. We visited her on our return from Krakow, Poland.

In this picture, she is giving massage therapy to an infant in the Early Intervention program. The child’s mother is very pleased with the results. As a matter-of-fact, the mother was excited to see new results during this massage.

The neurologist at the polyclinic identifies abnormalities that should be eliminated in infants. She prescribes massage therapy for them and sends them to the Early Intervention Program at the MUCH Clinic for treatment. Ira is delighted to work with all of the children, but particularly with the infants. She is a mother of two, and has great compassion.

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Ira began working with Sasha last year when she was working at the Center for Children with Disabilities in a number of capacities. Sasha’s parents would leave him at the Center every day. Until that time, he had no movement or facial expression. His muscle tone had diminished, and his only stimulation was what he could see or hear. In the second twenty-day course of massage at the center, Ira began to see change in Sasha’s movement and muscle tone. For children with such severe disabilities, progress is slow, but the science of massage therapy continues to show the results that we seek.

Walking in His shoes,

Mark

Sveta has some wonderful stories to tell this month, too.

Sveta’s Journey

Map of Ukraine Click on Map of Ukraine)

Now Ukraine has a difficult situation. We had a situation where Ukraine may have been separated into two parts, east, and west. There was also talk that the Republic of Crimea would separate from Ukraine if there would not be stabilization in the government. MUCH has programs in all three parts of Ukraine: Dobromel and Illichevsk in western Ukraine, Marganets in eastern Ukraine, and Froonza in the Republic of Crimea. We believed that this situation would not affect our work with the MUCH children who need your support.

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Our massage therapists send their reports to us about their work. When we visit them twice a year, we always see great progress that the children have made.

On our return from Poland, we visited our massage therapists in Illichevsk. Massage therapist Dr. Natalya B. and the two mothers who were there at the time with their children were very happy to see the great result that their children were having. One is featured in this month’s video mentioned above. (see video above) This video shows progress over a five-month period. The two girls that we saw during our visit have very difficult diagnoses. It takes much time to see good results. Natalya, a very professional therapist, works passionately with massage. Even more, she teaches the mothers exercises and other tasks to do at home. She encourages mothers to support each other, lifting their emotion as they proceed through their common tasks.

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Massage therapist Tanya has much experience working with children. She has been on our team for six years. She has a unique opportunity that came about because of a need that was not being met at the clinic. Many parents cannot bring their child or children to the polyclinic for different reasons. She goes to the home of the child or children in need of massage. One example is the mother of two beautiful seven-month-old twin brothers. It is not possible for the mother to take her two boys to the polyclinic, all of the way across town, for ten days of treatment. After two ten-day courses of massage therapy, both children had positive results. Their mother talked joyfully to Mark and me about the changes that she was seeing.

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Ira, our newest addition to the MUCH team, has a passion for giving massage therapy to infants in our Early Intervention Program. She is seeing great results in the children that she is working with. It was so nice for Mark and me to hear the mother of the infant share with us the progress that she was seeing. Most exciting was when the mother exclaimed about a new ability that she saw during the massage that we witnessed. When parents bring x-rays of the children, before and after, showing documented change, it is truly inspiring.

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Natasha, the massage therapist in Dobromel, is also experiencing great results. The children who have the diagnosis of cerebral palsy are showing big improvements in walking ability and speech. Yura has a depression in his chest, which is showing results that his breastbone is growing away from his heart and lungs. In the two years that Natasha has been on the MUCH team, she has seen and reported on many positive results.

 

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Also in Dobromel, there is news about the computer program. After sitting unused for two years, the computers that the government provided are getting full use. Our program began one year ago, and we are seeing encouraging results. The children are inspired to learn new skills and information as they enter the computer age full force. It is amazing to watch as the children angle their tongues, searching the keyboard and entering each letter, while waiting with big eyes of expectation for direction from the teacher. Volodya gives each child very much attention, and creates individual ways to inspire the child to learn.

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Slavic in Froonza, Republic of Crimea, continues to provide good results for children. The word is out about his good results. What began as a need for thirteen children in one village is now a clinic that is serving children with disabilities from three additional villages that lack services for their children. It is a different mentality in Crimea, though. People seem to be very pro-Russia.

In eastern Ukraine, our focus in Marganets remains to be clothing for disadvantaged children and children in the orphanage. Clothing can be a powerful stimulant for change of character. We have seen commendable attitude change and positive outlook for their future. These children, once hidden in the shadows of life, now are an active part of their community. Please pray for our manager, Anatoliy, who has throat cancer.

It is a pleasure to see citizens of Ukraine take responsibility for their own people with such a passion. As is true of this revolution, it is also true of the MUCH team in Ukraine, “The people have spoken!” They have spoken through word and action.

Living my dream,

Sveta

Ukraine ended 2013 and began 2014 under revolutionary situations. Even so, your support of MUCH kept the programs running. We thank you so much for trusting us to care for the children with your gifts. In the March newsletter, we will tell you more about the condition of the country and tell a few stories that you will not read in the news. In the meantime, please remember that your support of what we are doing here in Ukraine is not only helping the children, but is setting an example of how love and serving one another will change this country.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

 

November 2013

Annual Christmas Fundraiser

Dobromel Orphanage Massage Therapy and Computer programs

and

Froonza Massage Therapy Clinic

Hello family and friends,

Sveta will begin this newsletter with a heart-moving story from the Dobromel Orphanage.
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I want to tell you a story about a seven-year-old boy whose name is Illiya. He moved to the Dobromel Orphanage for Children with Physical and Mental Disabilities from the Baby House where he lived for five years. Here is his story.

As I tell you his story, imagine that you are Illiya. Your problems began while you were growing inside of your mother. She was an alcoholic, even during her pregnancy. Your mother’s diet caused you to be born with Alcohol Syndrome. Beginning your life with the weight of three-pounds-three-ounces, the doctors insisted that you remain in the hospital for at least two months. Your mother never visited. What a lonely, empty way to start a life. By the end of two months, you had gained weight and were released from the hospital.

Your mom took you home, but did not care for you, a poor defenseless baby. She fed you very little food, and gave you alcohol to drink so that you would sleep and not cry. It was not long before the neighbors complained, and the authorities came to take you away. They took you away from your mother, but brought you to a place that was not much better, the state-run Baby House. Life in the understaffed Baby House went something like this. They woke you up in the morning to feed and diaper you. Then, you were left alone in your bed until it was time to eat and have your diapers changed. That went on, day by day.

September of 2013 was the beginning of a new and positive life. You are now living in the Dobromel Orphanage that has an American sponsor named MUCH. The orphanage has many nice people, but there is something new–this thing called massage therapy. The children told you that it makes you feel really good. There is this young woman who is really nice. She laughs, and talks to you, teaches you exercises, and then … with oil on her hands, she begins to slide them on your back and press deep on the muscles that are tight. During one of your massage therapy sessions you shared that you were afraid that someone was trying to kill you at the Baby House. By age seven, all that had happened to you in your short life had created fear, anxiety, hyperactivity, and muscles that began to create pain where there shouldn’t be any.

Oh! That feels so good. When she finishes the massage, you don’t want to leave. This person is so nice to you; you feel this sensation of … it must be love.

The children were right about massage. You agree with them. You feel better, and your teachers say that you are more relaxed and peaceful and you have begun to like yourself. You can’t wait until the next massage.

Illiya and twenty-four other children are waiting.

Twelve months of massage therapy in Dobromel

will cost $2,400.

Sveta continues to report on Dobromel:

20130517_120741 - CopyThe biggest result this year, which surprised us, was a little boy named Sasha. His little rounded back was curved close to his shoulders, so that he looked like a little old man. After several courses of massage therapy his back straightened, obvious even to the naked eye. The boy came to the orphanage from the Baby House last year. He was very wild and aggressive. The child did not understand discipline during the classroom lessons. He sat on the window and look outside. When the teacher told to him to sit at the desk, the boy was not obedient and did not listen to the teacher. Now he is a polite and good boy. Sasha is friendly and calm, his mind has improved. Natasha continues to work with Sasha, seeing continued progress.

In the massage program at the Dobromel Orphanage, the massage therapist, Natasha, has given massage therapy to forty-nine children during the last two school years. Some of these children have two, three, or four courses of massage. During two years, the director, teachers, Mark, and I saw many large and small positive results in the improvement of the physical condition of the children and also change in their psycho-emotional condition.

Mark comments on the Froonza Massage Clinic:

Slavik, the massage therapist in the village of Froonza, has given massage to thirty-eight children within two years. Many times we have met with the parents, and they expressed gratitude that they have such a great opportunity for their children. This program began in the village, because there was a great need for two children and eleven others with lesser need. Now, parents from three surrounding villages, despite the long distance and their need to use the bus, bring their children for massage treatment.

Accountability in the Massage programs:

Every month, before receiving their wage, the massage therapists must send Sveta progress reports for each of the children that they provided massage for that month. We have been seeing great results from Natasha in Dobromel and Slavic in Froonza. While visiting Dobromel, Natasha gave me an upper body massage. Having received a therapeutic massage from every therapist that works for MUCH, I was pleased with her technique and awareness of my back problems. We hold our massage therapists to high standards, expecting the best!

Twelve months of massage therapy in Froonza will cost $2,400

Nineteen children are waiting to receive continued massage therapy

Your donation will bring rehabilitation

to 44 children

at Dobromel Orphanage and Froonza Massage Clinic

Mark and Sveta tell about the computer program at the Dobromel Orphanage.
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Now, the teachers have been taught how to use the computers for different purposes with the children. One example is showing pictures of past outings, giving the children great pleasure, but this also helps the children develop memory skills. Vladimer, the computer instructor, has also been teaching the children to use the keyboard, copying text from the PowerPoint projected image on the large screen.

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The children’s skills and interests have grown since February. We anticipate even more progress in 2014. We need your help to continue funding this program.

Vladimer gives many lessons in the form of games on the computer. It is easier to attract children to the game that teaches the alphabet or how to add numbers. Children feel special when they correct the puzzle, or place the figures in order to get the final result. They performed the task, and it brings joy and satisfaction! At the end of the task, Vladimer encourages children by saying, “Well done, you have done very well!”, and it is delightful for the children!

Computer games have come a long way in the last twenty years. Today, many therapists use games that are specially made to help children develop skills, advance thought processing, and encourage manual involvement in activities.

Fun children’s computer games are very interesting and advanced, and are aimed at ensuring that children acquire knowledge, learn to achieve their goals, and intellectually improve skills. Controlling the games via the keyboard helps children develop fine motor skills. Every lesson for a child is a real treat!

Thank you very much that you have supported this program since February 2013. We ask for your continued support of this program for 2014.The government has not allocated funds for a computer teacher on the staff of the orphanage. It is not clear to many Ukrainian people and us why the government buys computers but does not provide funds for a teacher to teach the children to use the computers. We see positive results, and ask for your financial support to continue the program.

Twelve months of computer classes will cost $1,500

January 2014 is right around the corner. MUCH needs your help to fund another year of massage therapy for the Dobromel Orphanage, the massage clinic in Froonza, and the computer class at Dobromel. Please consider MUCH as you make your Christmas or holiday plans. The dollar goes a long way in Ukraine. We will designate 100% of your gift for these programs.

Our Total Goal for this

Christmas Fundraiser is $6,300

DSCN6514 Dear friends,

This beautiful autumn bouquet is for you!

Thank you very much!

During this Christmas or holiday season, please consider our MUCH children in Dobromel and Froonza. Both of these small communities are a considerable distance from health care for rehabilitation. Your contribution in massage therapy and computer training can change their lives in lasting ways.

We wish for all of you in America to have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving Holiday!

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

August 2013 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,

July brought sunny weather and many guests. It was very pleasant to visit with family and friends. The August evenings are becoming cool, but the days remain hot. I look forward to September 1, which will bring an immediate change of season, and the first day of school for the children.

Our midyear fundraiser was successful. Thanks, to the many MUCH sponsors who came to our aid. With the 500 + children that we serve, we have a big budget.

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Excursion to the Geographical
Center of Europe
This part of Ukraine is the
center of east/west Europe

What happens to the children of the orphanages during the summer months? They go to camp! There are many government-owned camps remaining from Soviet times. The children are sent to camp according to age groups. This year, Natasha, the massage therapist at the Dobromel orphanage, and her seven year old daughter went to camp with the children. It was a great time for all!

 

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Each week had a theme. One week was devoted to sports activities. Other weeks provided excursions, picnics, and climbing in the mountains of Carpathia. The children visited a shallow lake where they participated in the popular mud bath. Can’t you imagine the fun the children had smearing liquid mud over each other.

(Something that I missed in school was understanding that Russia is part of eastern Europe. The Ural Mountains, Ural River, and the Caucasus Mountains are the geographical land border of the eastern edge of Europe.)

Sveta’s Journey

Natalya B. is one of our massage therapists in Illichevsk. She uses multiple massage techniques combined with special exercises and medical equipment. Her individual approach for each child and her great love that she projects toward her little patients achieves great results.

Ivan is 2.5 years old and he has Cerebral Palsy. This child was born with a severe disability, with asphyxia and was in intensive care three months. Doctors said that the child was hopeless and advised parents to give him to the Baby House for children with severe disabilities. However, the parents did not agree with the predictions of doctors and took their child home. Up to age six months, the boy did not focus on or follow an object with his eyes. He could not roll over from back to stomach, and back again, and could not do what healthy children at this age do.

After three twenty-day courses of massage, when Ivan was one-and-a-half years old, he got up on all fours and began to crawl and to sit without support, but he still could not walk.

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Ivan wears the “Adele” suit

To date, after regular massage courses, Ivan has good progress: he can walk with the support of adults holding one hand, and he speaks elementary words. He is a very sociable and outgoing child. Contrary to the predictions of doctors, this child lives, grows, and develops!

Natalya B. has worked with him since he was three months old. Along with massage, she uses other devices, one which is the “Adele” suit.

 

This medical costume has adjustable elastic straps that create resistance for the muscles. This suit creates a muscular skeletal framework that holds the limbs in the correct position for movement. While wearing this medical costume, Ivan develops new reflexes and activates cells in the motor center of the brain. This improves the ability to achieve movement, coordination, and even speech. It is amazing!

To see our video of these two children, click here.

P1010062 - Copy (3)AThe second child, Jan, who receives massage therapy from Natalya B. is a wonderful girl. About two years ago, Mark and I first visited the family when they moved to Illichevsk. We wrote about her in the February 2012 newsletter. Jan could not roll over or hold her head upright. Her parents do everything possible that can be done to help their child: regular massage courses with special passive exercise, stimulation training on a horse, medication, and one time they took Jan to the Dolphinarium. It takes much time and money. Her parents have a huge appreciation for your help. Thank you MUCH sponsors for your financials support. They are very grateful and gave us a video where Jan swims with dolphins.

After two year of massage treatment, Jan began to hold her head up. She can turn her head, and follows moving objects with her eyes. She responds to voice, can do some voluntary movement, and has improved posture. Jan’s parents are immensely happy seeing these results. We saw tears in her mother’s eyes when she told us about her daughter.

Again, please accept this big appreciation from the parents and from us. Mark and I are very thankful that you support us as missionaries in the Ukraine. Let God’s blessings abundantly come into your life! God bless you!

Living my dream,
Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site

Most times that Sveta and I visit a child receiving massage at his or her home or in one of the clinics, I am overwhelmed by the hope that I see in the eyes of the parents or grandparents. Progress is slow, but the parents are so hopeful for their children. They thank you, the children thank you, and we thank you for your loving support.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

June 2013 Newletter

Mark and Sveta Koehler

Mark and Sveta Koehler

Hello family and friends,

On May 21st, Sveta and I left Illichevsk’s summery temperature of 75 F as we headed for northwestern Ukraine, 462 mile from our seaside city. Considering that June was right around the corner, we were thinking about warm weather in Dobromel. To our great surprise, two things were not as we expected. Our train ride to L’vov was air-conditioned, causing us to pull the blankets close around our heads. When we finally arrived in Dobromel, ten kilometers from Poland, the temperature was a cold and rainy 50 F. The day after our arrival, we went shopping at the outdoor market for warm socks and wool sweaters. Most of the shopkeepers had already packed their winter items in storage. We were able to find what we needed, but our choices were few.

We reported in the May Newsletter that Mikola, the director, had died. It was strange to visit and not see him there. Most of the children didn’t understand. Lidiya, the manager, and Natasha, the massage therapist shared their sense of loss with Sveta and me. Natasha told us that the tradition that she was following in her work with the children was that for forty days she would not use music or dance in her programs. This memorial tradition is very heartfelt. He will be deeply missed.

In the February Newsletter, I expressed great thanks for a successful Christmas fundraiser. The computer program began in February at the Dobromel Orphanage. The government had provided the computers two years ago, but no money for a teacher. This visit, we met the new computer teacher, Volodya, who is sponsored by MUCH. We learned about his work. The director gave him three tasks, each with a time expectancy. First, he was to prepare the room to accommodate electricity for each notebook computer on each desk. The teacher’s computer was to be connected to the interactive board, maybe better known as a PowerPoint projector and screen. From the teacher’s computer, he or she could project the assignment for the class to work with to the screen. See the video of the children in action.

Second, he was to educate each teacher and staff member who would have need to use the computer system. The director’s plan was not to use the computer classroom only to teach computer skills to the children, but to use the computers in every way possible to enrich the children’s educational experience. What we have learned is only the beginning.

Third, he would teach the children to use the keyboard, computer, and internet to enrich their learning experience. We have seen the children in action, so engrossed in their new adventure, they barely knew that Sveta and I were there taking pictures and making videos. They also have speech therapy software to work with the children that we wrote about in the December, and January Newsletters.

We have much more to report. Let’s take a look at Sveta’s Journey, and see what good news she has to share!

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Sveta’s Journey

Children! How wonderful they are! They have different character and behavior, and are different in intellectual and physical development. They are so amazing! When Mark and I were in the Dobromel Orphanage and watched the work of Natasha, massage therapist, we saw how the children eagerly awaited their turn for a massage. Usually, Natasha comes to class and takes one child for massage, but this time there was a change and the children came running into the office in the hope that they would be allowed to stay in this wonderful room and wait for when their time would come.

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Finally, it was time for Irina, eight-years-old. She quickly climbed on the massage table and happily placed her face in the hole in the table. Irina graduated the second grade this year. She is an orphan and came to the orphanage from the Baby House. Like many children who come to this orphanage after the Baby House, Irina was an unstable and explosive child, often crying for no reason, was nervous and stubborn. After two years in the orphanage, she started to be friendly and cheerful. Irina has a wonderfully beautiful smile. When she looks at you and smiles, you cannot remain indifferent.

This is her third course of massage and massage therapist sees positive changes in her physical body and a positive change of her mentality. With relaxation of tense muscles, now the girl
has good posture and she is calmer.

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Vanya, seven-years-old, is also an orphan. In the beginning, he covered his face and did not want to be photographed, he shied away when we would try to touch him, hiding behind the massage therapist. Very quickly, Mark and I have gained his trust and he sat down on our knees and began to embrace us. The boy loves to be caressed, we hugged him and pressed the child to us. Vanya, like every child, when he feels love, he responds to it. He understands everything said to him but he cannot talk. For him, this is also the third course of the massage, but because the boy has big problems with the spine, apart from massage therapy, he requires additional treatment.

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Vanya has the strongest kyphoscoliosis and administration ordered a hard plastic corset for him to correct his back, he will soon be wearing a corset. See the video of Vanya receiving massage on Natasha’s new massage table.

 

P1010052A Julia, ten-years-old, is the fifth of eight children in her family, and all of them are in the orphanage. About two years ago, I was giving her massage. The massage therapist, Natasha, continues to work with her, and during this visit, we saw Julia’s great results. Strengthening of the muscles of her back, and relaxation of the neck muscles that were previously shorter and tight, slowed the natural growth of the cervical vertebrae. Because of massage therapy, her spine and neck muscles will grow and develop normally.

Now, Julia turned into a beautiful girl, as in the tale of “The Ugly Duckling.’’ But, this is not a fairy tale, these are real effects of massage therapy on the body of this child. Before she received massage therapy, the girl was diagnosed with kyphoscoliosis. Two months ago, after a medical examination, the doctor said that her posture has improved so much that he changed the diagnosis to impaired posture. This is great progress! We believe that in the future the doctor will also change this diagnosis!

Mark and I had meetings with the manager, Lidiya Romanovna. She talked about the many successes of the children who had received a course, or several courses, of massage therapy. Some of the results are improved posture in children, improved articulation, handwriting, and positive change of the mental attitude of children.
Natasha expressed gratitude to all those people who support the massage program, and thereby show love and care to the children and particularly the children who are orphans. In May, three of the four children who received massage therapy were orphans. We see concrete positive change for them.

We thank you!

Living my dream,
Sveta

After watching the two videos that we made of our visit to Dobromel, it brought new understanding to my eyes. Sometimes, I forget the great impact that the contributions of MUCH have on the children and the people who work with them. Natasha is doing great work through massage therapy, but it was her words of thanks that stopped me mid-thought. After thanking her for her work, she said, “Mark, thank you for coming to Dobromel, so far from any big city, and caring about the children that most people forget about.”

Please join our efforts to understand life in the different communities that we serve. Watch our videos and receive joy because of the results of your financial support and prayers. God bless you. We thank you. The children 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