Tag Archives: Therapeutic Massage

July 2021

Hello family and friends,
It has been a challenging year and a half with the pandemic. We pray that all is on the mend in your lives and those that you love. Sveta and I looked back on our adventure with leaks in our house while the second floor was being added. At the time, it was a great challenge. The Bible helped us keep things in perspective. 1 Peter 5:10, NASB: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

Mark’s Moments

Dobromel Orphanage

The seaside camp in Odessa region receives special needs children from special need orphanages throughout Ukraine. The Dobromel Orphanage sent their twenty true orphans to this seaside camp in the Odessa region. Something special happens when children see the vast sea in front of them. It is the biggest bathtub they have ever seen. This bathtub is more like a carnival ride, with never ending waves, whitecaps, sand bars and breakers.

In the Carpathian Mountains, our children are used to a very different environment. At the beach, the children are investigating an entirely new ecology. They are introduced to sea creatures that live in shells, sand crabs, star fish, sea horses, and many more kinds of life are there for them to experience.

Natasha, our massage therapist, and another staff member at the orphanage accompanied the children. After missing going to camp last summer because of COVID-19, it is a pleasure for these two to accompany the children!

Sveta’s Journey

Physical Leader Clinic In Chornomorsk

During five years Ilya has been undergoing a massage program, including special physical exercises to master new motor skills. This helps him to improve his coordination of movements and the quality of balance. Ilya’s mother celebrates the success of her child in reading and mathematics, improved memory and attention!

Dr. Natalia’s team works with each child in a comprehensive manner. Massage therapy, physical exercises aimed at acquiring or improving motor skills that are not developed, and specific massage therapy to improve speech. Parents are instructed on how to help their child at home, maintaining results between massage treatments. Usually this is a long process. During the massage treatment, the massage therapist works with the parents to recommend certain physical exercises to consolidate the results achieved.

Three-year-old Misha suffers from microcephaly (a significant decrease in the size of the skull and, accordingly, the brain). He has a delay in motor and speech development. For Misha, this was the first course of massage treatment with Dr. Natalia. Before meeting her, the child’s mother took Misha to various rehabilitation centers, including the famous Gold Angel Center in Odessa, without results. To his mother’s delight, she saw clear results after the third massage of a fifteen day treatment program. The results were: Misha became calmer and more attentive, and she also noticed an improvement in his speech. Many parents of children with disabilities watch anxiously to see the slightest changes in their child. Misha’s mom is very grateful to our mission and sponsors for such a wonderful opportunity that opened up for her son! Dr. Natalia and her team will continue to work with Misha. They watch most attentively as Misha shows positive dynamics.

Living my dream,

We are so grateful to all of you who sponsor our children, making it possible for them to receive massage therapy treatment and complimentary exercise. The children thank you. Their parents are, at times, speechless when they see the results.
When MUCH began in 2004, there were no treatments available for children with disabilities. We began by setting an example of what could be done. We showed a new “quality of life” and value toward these children. The massage therapists whom God has prepared for MUCH to enable are showing their communities new hope through their work. Change is taking place in the live of the children, their parents, and their communities because of you contributions, prayers, and sharing of our stories. All of us in Ukraine thank you for your focus upon our children!

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site:


2014 January

MUCH Supporters – We have GREAT NEWS!

Through your generous support, WE MET OUR FUNDRAISING GOAL!

Because of your compassion and support for our children, we will be able to continue funding our massage therapy programs in Dobromel and Froonza and the computer program in Dobromel. Sveta and I cannot begin to express our gratitude. Your friendship and support enables us to help children who would otherwise be left behind.

God Bless you and your family and we wish you a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

Hello family and friends,

Mark’s Moments

Join me in a walk down memory lane. In June 2002, I took the first train ride of my life. It took me east, 320 milesto Marganets. This is where my first outreach began. These are five of the faces that touched my heart during that initial visit.

2002 - Copy

Anatoliy, who became my manager there,drove down a side street that was in such bad shape that he could only advance to the orphanage at one mile per hour. His car, a twenty-year-old Russian Lada, creaked and groaned as Anatoliy maneuvered his way through the potholed road.

As we walked toward the main building, the children appeared to see who the visitors were. They followed us, amazed that someone had come to visit them. Their lives were so empty. Their faces were full of questions that would not be answered. As I toured the orphanage, my heart sank. The buildings were in disrepair, the rooms were all void of color, atmosphere, and life. My first mission stared me in the face. I had to do something … This was the beginning, two years before MUCH was created.

Four quarterly visits later, 2003 produced smiling faces and children full of hope. The Sweet Dreams Bed Replacement Project was my first “too big for me, but not too big for God” fundraiser. It took a year to raise the money to replace 142 old wobbly metal beds.


In the meantime, month-by-month, child-by-child, we provided new clothes. This began a transformation of how the children imagined themselves, and even more, how the community of Marganets began to respect the children, no longer seeing them as the dregs of society.


After finding help for my own massage therapy needs, God opened new doors in Illichevsk to begin a Massage Therapy Clinic for children with disabilities. Natalya B. had prayed for three years for this opportunity to work with children. In this picture, she visits a patient at home.


It was at this time in 2004 that MUCH was created to help me continue my mission in Ukraine. I remember the first meeting at my empty little apartment. Four or five mothers/grandmothers, the director of House of Hearts Ukrainian non-profit, and Natalya B. sat on the few seats that I had. These mothers and grandmothers came with hope that there could be local treatment available for their children/grandchildren.

Once again, it was time to step forward in faith, believing that God would provide all that was needed for a massage therapy clinic to meet the needs of these children/grandchildren. I later learned that there were more than 200 families who had children with disabilities in the Illichevsk area. As time went on, children from surrounding villages came to the clinic for treatment. Nine years later, MUCH is providing additional massage therapy in one city orphanage and one village clinic. As Dennis Lennon told me before I came to Ukraine, “Make yourself available, and God will use you!”

Walking in His shoes


This month, Sveta’s Journey takes us to Illichevsk to check in on the children at the MUCH Massage Therapy clinic. We have three massage therapists there who provide a total of twelve hours of therapy per day. Here are her stories.

Sveta’s Journey

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I want to share with you interesting information about the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of newborns with problems such as hip dysplasia, a congenital developmental hip joint disorder in which the joint is formed incorrectly. If action is not taken in the first few years, it can lead to dysfunction of the spine and legs, gradually having a disabling effect.

The second problem in newborns is torticollis, a twisting of the neck to one side, resulting in the head being tilted. If the child is not treated, torticollis leads to a curved spine, asymmetry of the face and head, and disease of tDSC02927he nervous system.

The most effective treatment for torticollis in an infant is massage. The massage therapist works with the neck muscles, causing the short muscles to grow to the correct length. This creates a good balance of the neck muscles, allowing the child to move its head in any direction, or hold it straight up.

If the treatment is started before the children are three months of age, complete repair of the body system is to be expected. Treatment consists of massage and therapeutic exercise. Several courses of professional 20-day massage are enough for full recovery of the child.

We have a list of many of the children who received massage therapy in the early intervention program who were less than one year old. Sonia, Ira, Max, Kate, Denis, and Jura were some of the children who all received complete recovery. The doctors diagnosed these children and more, who have undergone several courses of massage therapy and therapeutic exercise showing complete positive results.


Oleg (in the video above) had very tight muscles in his arms and hands. When Natalya B. began working with him, she could not move his arm in any direction or open his clenched fist.

His mother said that before, Oleg was very restless; he arched his back and shouted hysterically. Now these symptoms have disappeared. She is very happy about the big results of positive change in the health of her little son. She expects and believes that there will beeven greater progress for her child.

In our massage programs, children with diagnoses that we haven’t treated before have been added. They cannot sit up, cannot stand, and cannot do much. Even so, Natalia B. sees good prospects even for children where doctors see no hope. She achieves her goals!

Living my dream,


The year 2013 was a good year for MUCH. Your generous gifts helped us make it through a financially challenging year.

In Healthcare, we provide funding for five massage therapists to give a total of twenty therapeutic massages per day. In Education, we fund a transportation scholarship for one university student, and we fund one computer teacher. In Clothing, we provide money to buy clothes locally each month for underprivileged children in one orphanage, one school, and one transition home.

Sveta and I have been invited to participate in ministry leadership in her church, now our church. This is the church where we were married two years ago. The people are very loving and accepting of us. We will keep you informed as our ministry in the church develops.

Sveta, the MUCH team, and I, invite you to continue with us on our journey into 2014, serving the children of Ukraine. I envision that it will be a great year for the children, with God’s direction, your prayer, and financial support. Together, we are changing the future of Ukraine, child-by-child.

You can see all of our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/smMUCH

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta


April 2013 Newsletter

Hello family and friends,

Mark and Sveta Koehler

Mark and Sveta Koehler

April is a funny kind of month. Many people in Ukraine are tilling the land and planting their gardens. The temperature remains cold, somewhere in the upper thirties, but warmer weather is on the way. The public transportation is filled with people carrying garden implements, seeds and saplings, on the way to their dacha (little garden in the country). After working hard all day in the dacha, they come home to warm houses or apartments in the city. Then, comes April 15. The city heating system is shut off until October 15. At times, it is colder inside than outside. Life goes on in Ukraine.

Sveta and I focused on travel in April. Two weeks on the road took us to Nikolayev to visit Sveta’s family, before continuing to Marganets. While in Marganets, we had meetings with the directors of the Transition Home, the Orphanage, and School #3. Finally, we traveled south to Froonza, Crimea.

At the Transition Home, Tatyana, the director, is finding good Christian families where the children can be fostered in a loving environment. When I suggested that I may be able to help, she quickly expressed that she had many families waiting to foster children. What great news that is!

At the orphanage, we spoke with Elena, the manager, about the status of the orphanage. The last time that we spoke, there was talk about closing the boarding school portion of the orphanage. That has changed and the boarding school will remain open. A rehabilitation facility for children with disabilities is a reality. This will serve only the children of Marganets. Elena is asking if MUCH can sponsor a massage therapist and provide a massage table, beginning in September. I will pass this request to the MUCH Board of Directors before their next meeting.

DSCN4780A We also discussed the importance of the clothing program. I assured her that it will continue.One thing that has not changed in eleven years is the connections that I make with the children. There are always children who express gratitude for the clothing that they receive. It is a joy for me to communicate with them. Their love for Sveta is quite strong also.

Because the heat in Marganets, little as it is, had been shut off and an unexpected cold front came through, classes at School #3 were cancelled during our visit. Sveta and I connected with the director, her manager, and one of the teachers. Our discussion revolved around the results of the MUCH provision of clothing. The children are responding as expected, with blossoming self-images, and new interest in learning. We also talked at great length about local and regional fund raising to remodel the school building, or only a few parts. We left them with some new ideas and hope for possible change.

Let’s see what Sveta has to share about the children after our journey to Marganets and Froonza!

Sveta’s Journey

Our visit to the orphanage in Marganets was great! As always is the case, the children ran to meet us. Each one interrupted the other one, because, of course, what they had to say was most important. It was a little bit difficult to pay attention to everybody at the same time, to listen, and to respond. In such a time, I always think about God. He does not have difficulty giving the love and attention at the same time for everyone.DSCN4871A

When Mark and I spoke with the 8-10 year-old-children, at first it was noisy and chaotic. Mark then went on to tell them stories from the Bible. The children were quiet and listened to him very attentively. Even I was interested to hear the familiar stories. Some of the stories the children already knew, some they heard for the first time. After each story, to test how they understood the narration, Mark began to ask them questions. All the children were giving the correct answers. From this, we saw that all was clear for them. Some children are poorly versed in mathematics and other sciences, but if they know God, they will have a strong foundation for their future. We are in touch with the local church, which also helps these children to learn about God. They are interested in knowing God; their hearts are hungry for His love.

P1010089AA wonderful opportunity opened up for two sisters who are now living at the orphanage/boarding school in Marganets. These girls, ages fourteen and twelve, never went to school. Now they will learn, starting in the first grade.

Through your prayers and financial support, we have the opportunity to visit the children. They are waiting for us and know that MUCH helps them to have nice clothes and shoes, which increases the children’s self-esteem. They are happy and content!

Our visit to Froonza, Crimea, was just as wonderful! It was a joy to hear from a doctor about the great results after a course of massage for the little boy, Alex. He is an orphan and lives in the family of mission manager Anna and her husband, who took custody of him and his younger sister. For the first four years, the boy lived with his mother who was not responsible for her children. Because he and his sister were on their own, they now have a strong delay in basic education and social development, compared to their peers.

During our visit, Anna took Alex for his annual medical checkup. The doctor said that she saw much progress in the development of Alex’s spoken language. Last year, Alex spoke only a few words; everything else that he P1010188Asaid was impossible to understand.The masseur, delivering massage therapy over his entire body, focused on the head, and face, improving articulation. Angelina, the daughter of Anna, (we talked about her in my last letter) is working with his speech, helping him learn to correctly pronounce sounds and words. For Alex, this has opened great opportunities and a wonderful future!

Living my dream,


I made every effort to complete my next video for this newsletter, but traveling made it impossible to finish with good content and quality. I hope that you will look forward, as I do, to next month’s video in the May newsletter. I am collecting good video of the children and focusing on life in Ukraine. Now that I am working on telling the story with video, I am learning even more about Ukraine.

As always, thank you for your prayer and financial support. God is doing great things through the MUCH team for the children of Ukraine.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta