Tag Archives: Ukraine Ophanage

How the children are coping with the war

A Message from the Children to Our Sponsors

It was very difficult for us last year. On February 24, 2022, the Russian invasion began, changing the life of every Ukrainian. The war stole the gift of a peaceful and innocent childhood.

Even with the conditions of war, we continue to get an education. During air strikes/missile attacks, we are forced to stay underground. It is a little bit scary in the shelter, but we sing, play games, pray, communicate, and support each other. Due to problems with electricity, we are without light for hours. We do not lose heart. We know and believe that one day this horror will end and we will be able to live without fear in a free and happy country.

Like every Ukrainian today, we strive to be useful, so we help adults. In our free time from studying. We make blanks for trench candles for soldiers on the front line. We want to give a piece of warmth and light to the Ukrainian military. In addition, we weave bracelets, and charms for our soldiers. We draw pictures, because we want Ukrainian soldiers to know that we love them, support them and thank them for the opportunity to live and study.

We, Ukrainian children, want peace. We long for warmth and goodness, freedom and independence. Every day we turn to God, praying about it.

Life goes on and we continue studying in the computer class. Thank you, dear sponsors, for your generous support. We are grateful that you understand how we feel and continue to support our needs.

The Children of Ukraine

November 2020

Hello family and friends,
The roof is on the house, the windows and doors are installed, Sveta and I are insulating the attic, and winter has arrived. We completed phase one of our project, six weeks past our deadline, and $300 over budget, but we are very happy with how things are at this point. The exchange rate was 26 -28 UAH per $1.00 over the five month period. As stated in previous newsletters, this project is funded with Sveta’s and my personal savings. There is plenty of work to do in phase two. Pictures will be in the January newsletter.

This year our Christmas fundraiser will have three ways to donate.
1. You are welcome to donate by check or PayPal as before.
2. If you use Facebook for social media, you can create a fundraiser for MUCH on your Facebook page, asking your friends to donate. We will send directions of how to do this on December 6. It is very easy to do.
3. If you are unsure, you can make a regular donation and try the Facebook fundraiser.

Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope received $59.61 from the AmazonSmile Foundation for the third quarter! Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice (Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope) we hope. Shopping through AmazonSmile for your Christmas gifts is the easiest way to donate to Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope. It adds up when you shop AmazonSmile!

Mark’s Moments

You haven’t heard much from our massage therapists. Recently, Sveta asked our massage therapists to respond to this question. “How has being a massage therapist for MUCH touched or changed your life?” Here are answers from two of our fourteen therapists in their own words:

Albina wrote:
When I come to the Transition Home, I understand that what I am doing is necessary for the children. Most importantly, I share my love with them. I give them a massage, but also the opportunity to feel wanted and needed. I have a child of my own. I understand perfectly how important this is, especially when the child orphan.
In return, children give me pleasure through their sincere communication. They are all different, and each is interesting in their own way. Even on the most difficult days, coming to them, I can rest my soul and get recharged with positive emotions for a long time.

Alla wrote:

I was surprised by your question. I had already begun thinking about noticeable changes in my life. I thought to myself, “How did she know?…” Then I understood that it was by her own experience. In a word, my daily routine is significantly saturated. I work from 9 to 5. I used to run home to rest. Now, after work I give a massage, sometimes a few. I’m getting tired. But this is a pleasant weariness. It is because I feel much worse when there is no one to receive my massage.

I am in constant tension. Will there be anything to write a report about at the end of the month. During my first months, there was a general nervousness. This is worse. So let there be a lot of massage recipients. When there is someone to receive my massage, the feeling of being useful, needed, and doing good is added to the feeling of pleasant fatigue. Periodically, my feelings are supported by visible results in my patients.
I understand intellectually that everything is in God’s hands, but I still worry and get nervous every month. I confess, there was the thought: “Why do I need this? I am nervous, with constant tension, and am under pressure. I can’t sleep, eat, or rest until there are children on the horizon who need me.” This is my life now. There are the pros and cons. As I am writing to you I am thinking: “If I knew then what I know now, would I have said yes to becoming a massage therapist? My answer is “yes.” I choose the challenge over an empty and less meaningful life. Thank you for your question and concern. God’s blessings!


I remember when I first came to Ukraine as a missionary. It was a great challenge. Even so, I soon found more purpose in my life that ever before. This is what I see happening in the lives of our massage therapists.

Sveta’s Journey

For different reasons, many parents abandoned their children immediately after their birth. When their child is found to have extreme diagnoses, some parents make extreme decisions. Many decide to give away their child. No one can judge them. Perhaps, in the future, many of them regret their actions. Others, perhaps in an alcoholic fog, do not even remember that they have a child.

But thank God that these boys found a home and family in an orphanage in the village of Stepovoya. Here they are loved, the employees try to organize the lives of the children. They provide social relationships with other people, taking place in the limited space of the orphanage. Aside from social skills children are taught basic life skills.

When Andre’s mother brought him to the orphanage, he was twelve years old, but he could not sit, or walk. During his first year at the orphanage, Andre learned to walk and sit a little.

Eleven-year-old Anton, has numerous complex diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, congenital anomaly of the brain, and profound mental retardation. When he recently arrived at the orphanage, he received massage therapy for the first time in his life. Every day, the massage therapist, with the help of another caregiver, tries to teach Anton to stand and walk with support. They believe that their persistence will lead to at least a partial improvement in the child’s condition. This has happened more than once with other children at this orphanage. When you put your heart into a child with love, patience and faith, God manifests different types of miracles.

Eleven-year-old Denis has cerebral palsy. He lived with his mother and brother in a one-room apartment. Seven years ago his mother brought him to the orphanage because she did not know how to help her child. Subsequently, his mother died. His older brother, who was registered in a psychiatric hospital, embarked on a slippery path to crime. The child perceived massage therapy absolutely without emotion. But after a while Denis began to recognize the massage therapist with a smile.

Seventeen-year-old Nick’s leg muscles atrophied due to cerebral palsy. The child also has profound mental retardation. Boy has contractures in his knee and foot joints. While receiving massage therapy, Nick began to smile for the first time. He spends most of the day in a wheelchair, and therefore massage is very important for him. This treatment helps prevent bedsores.

Dan’s parents refused to even look at him in the maternity hospital. The child has severe mental retardation. But this does not prevent him from being the first mate for adults. He is always going somewhere. He is often running, and seldom sits still. He is very talkative, and loves to listen to music. Massage therapy brings great pleasure to Dan. For him, it is like rest for an adult after a hard day at work.

Boys are deprived of the warmth and care of their relatives. These functions are performed by Natasha and Ira, our MUCH massage therapists. They are staff members at the orphanage.
Natasha and Ira told us that they love the children very much. When they provide massage therapy, they simply pass on their love to the children, not even thinking that this is work.
Through your financial contributions, our therapists are changing the lives of so many children. Can you imagine the breakthrough of seeing a child smile for the first time. You made that happen! Thank you so much for your interest in the children of MUCH!
Living my dream,
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

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


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.


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,


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

October 2013

Hello family and friends,

October began with a pleasant visit with the children at the Dobromel Orphanage in Northwestern Ukraine. The weather was cool and the leaves of many colors were falling. October is my favorite month of the year.PlayroomThis beautiful mural wDSCN6225 (2)as painted on the wall of the children’s playroom by one of the teachers. Sveta and I stayed in this large room on our last visit and this visit, also. A bunk bed was brought for us to sleep in. I was pleased that I could stretch all of my six-foot plus inches out on this bed. My thirty-six year old sleeping bag continues tDSCN6139o serve me well.

It pleased Sveta and me very much to see Natasha, the massage therapist, taking seven of the older children to church Sunday morning. This Greek Catholic church was packed to the door. A sound system helped the people outside hear the mass celebration. We see positive change taking place each time that we visit!

Sveta’s Journey

DSCN5894DSCN5914 (2)

When Mark and I came to the Dobromel Orphanage, the children greeted us with joy, open arms, and the questions “How long will you stay with us? Did you bring pictures for us?”

Like last time, we liveDSCN6216d in the children’s playroom. The new six-year-old boy from the Baby House was crying loudly and did not want to leave the playroom in which we stayed. Each time when he was close to the door at the time we returned to the room, he quickly slipped through the door, ran to the couch, and quickly jumped up on it. He sat, with his arms folded across his chest, showing that no one would move him. Two days later, he got used to Mark and me as visitors and the room would temporarily belong to us. Then we became friends and he loved to pose when we photographed him.

Mark and I lived with the children and saw their lives, their relationships with each other, and with the teachers. Early in the morning we woke to the loud voice of the caretakers saying, “One, two, one two three…” The older children help take care of the younger ones. They try to discipline the younger children, or care for them imitating grown-ups. The older girls braided each other’s hair into pretty pigtails. It is like a big family. Sometimes there are misunderstandings and conflicts, but they are quickly settled.

I really like the atmosphere in the orphanage. There is a healthy atmosphere of love and discipline. The sunny Saturday called the boys to collect the fallen leaves around the orphanage, while the girls put things in order in their rooms.

Each visit I see a change for the better in the lives of the children who came from the Baby House or other orphanages. I attribute much of this to the results of the massage program.

I have repeatedly written about a boy, now seven years old, who came to this orphanage from the Baby House last year. During this period, there have been many striking changes in the physical condition of this child, particularly in the psycho-emotional and social aspects. After several courses of massage, his hunched back is almost straight and his mind is improved. He is quiet, peaceful, and has become a very sociable boy, even though he cannot speak. Positive environment and therapeutic massage have had a large effect on him.


While we were in the orphanage, the Day of the Teacher was celebrated. One of the teachers organized a program with the children to honor the teachers with song, dance, and bouquets of flowers made from balloons. It was exciting and fun! Even the small children who were sitting in the front row were very attentive to the presentation. They gladly listened and watched everything. I liked the fact that the organizer was not noticeable, she was behind the columnand just watched, and the children led the program. It seemed that the children prepared and did everything without the participation of adults. They sang songs dedicated to teachers, recited poems, teachers were handed flowers – balloons and little hearts with candy inside, spoke words of gratitude for their work. In the eyes of a teacher near where I stood, tears were visible.

Thank you very much for your support of the massage program! It brings me great joy to the realization that during our stay at the orphanage, we can share the love of God with the children. I believe that your help also brings you great satisfaction and joy.

Living my dream,


There are many more stories to tell, and we will. Sveta’s and my life have begun a new chapter. We are adjusting to our living conditions in the village. This reminds me of something that I was told when I first came to Ukraine. I was concerned during my first year here that I didn’t have enough work. My friend said, “Mark, living in Ukraine is work!” Getting the newsletter to you this month has become a task. After working on it in Dobromel, I had it completed and ready to do a final proof when my computer crashed a day after returning from Dobromel. The last week in October, we will go to Marganets and Froonza.

I think of how worn out Sveta and I are after travel; we are not the jet-set trekkers, or rather in Ukraine, the train and bus travelers. Then I think of the faces of the children and their joy that our visits bring, and I see our lives in bright light again. Having lived with the children at the orphanage, we saw their every moment of difficulty, loneliness, discomfort, and hopelessness. The help of the new director at the Dobromel Orphanage and his staff, other sponsors, Sveta and me, and you, my friends, make it possible to change the futures of these children. It is my desire that through our newsletters, videos, pictures, and stories, you will better understand the plight of the children without your financial and prayerful help.

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta