Tag Archives: Ukrainian children

April 7, 2022 How many hero groups did you count?

Hello family and friends,
We are safe in God’s hand’s. His hands are working through us!
My friends, I will tell you honestly, I struggle with my feelings about Russians. I divide them into groups that I have identified. Putin, the Kremlin, and the oligarchs, fit into the category of evil. Those who protest this unprovoked and evil war show good and honest hearts. Many who continue to be brainwashed through the Russian media see power and authority as their provider.
I have recently been introduced to one more category that I will refer to as unexpected heroes. Here is their story. I have receive the story from people that I know who were witness to the event.
Russian maritime sailors working for a Romanian company, were sailing under the Romanian flag. A Russian War ship pulled along side the Romanian ship and demanded that they be a shield, enabling the Russian war ship to come close to the city of Odessa.
When the Russian maritime sailors refused, the Russian warship fired a missile at their own people, on the Romanian ship. A fire started on the Romanian ship, forcing the men to jump into the freezing water. While their ship was sinking, the Ukrainian rescue ship saved them from the frigid water and delivered them to the hospital.
A local church reached out to these men, men whose country was at war with their rescuers. While in the hospital for two weeks, men from this church brought them food, clothing, medical supplies for their recovery, and even a phone to call their families in Russia.
Because they were Russian citizens, and Russia was at war with Ukraine, the sailors could not return home. They were something like prisoners of war. Because of this, the Ukrainian soldiers guarded them day and night at the church, and in the worship services, too.
Ukrainian troops from Zmiiny Island that were captured by Russian soldiers early in the war were traded for the Russian maritime sailors.
When the Russian maritime soldiers returned home, their wives called the pastor of the church to thank him for treating their husbands so kindly. They are now looking for Baptist churches.
One of them gave a video interview and told the truth about what happened, but it was censored from Russian television. The truth is once again censored, just as it was in soviet times.
“Sadly, Russian Christians together with their nation do not believe that the war is bringing great destruction to our nation of Ukraine. They think Russian troops are saving us.”
When you read this story, it is up to you to determine how many groups of heroes there are.
As for Sveta and I, there remains a shock, a numbness. It is gradually fading away. Our emotions catch up with us; our memories of our comfort zone remind us of what we called home. We look forward, finding home in our daily moment. We find our home, our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

April 2022

Hello family and friends,
We are safe in God’s hand’s, understanding what it is like to be a refugee from the eyes of Mark and Sveta, residents of this world, Citizens of Heaven.
Mark’s Moments
When God showed us the future of MUCH in developing countries, He explained that the foundation would be through churches. With this concept firmly established in our minds, our third day in Krakow was a Sunday. Lusia introduced us to a friend of hers. We met her friend, Martinek, at her church, and Lusia continued to her own church.
Martinek, introduced us to her friend Monika, who is interested in our massage therapy program. Each of them had someone else in mind who would also be interested in working with massage therapy.
The following Sunday, Monika, Ela, and Cheszka, met with me after church. (Lusia and Sveta were on a two day spiritual retreat.) The four of us talked about the massage therapy program, and my vision for it in Krakow for refugee children, in particular. This is where we are at as of Sunday 3/27.
In one other direction, Sveta and I anticipate living in a multifamily house for refugees in the near future. At this time, there are two families with a total of two children living in this home. When we move in, Sveta will provide massage for these children. We anticipate finding/training massage therapists to be available throughout Krakow. (Big picture)
We will follow our Ukrainian MUCH model of no/low overhead. We have not discussed price per massage yet. But again, it will be modified from the MUCH model. We are not interested in becoming a business, but each massage therapist could develop a business from our startup model. I will share more as we move down the timeline.
“Make yourself available, and God will use you.” Oh! Does that sound familiar? God continues to open doors for Sveta and me wherever we go. The story can only get better.
Sveta’s Journey
We are so thankful to God and to all of you, dear family and friends. We see, and the Ukrainian people also see, your love and compassion. Your big help is proof of your love. Our two managers and their children have moved to other countries where they were surrounded by love and care. The financial assistance provided by MUCH touched their hearts deeply. They said that these gifts were most unexpected, but very timely.
Dr. Natalia remains in her city. She continues not only massage treatment for disabled children, but helps their families, and families who need support, through church organizations and MUCH.
Another massage therapist, Anya, of MUCH remains in Ukraine with her sister and mother. Her husband is in the army, fighting for freedom in Ukraine. Anya has been providing massage therapy for Maria, who we have written about in recent updates. The money that Sveta added to Vera’s (Maria’s grandmother) account made it possible for Anya to do some shopping for Vera. She continues to provide massage treatments for Maria. The war has challenged everyone greatly. Even so, our therapists who are still in Ukraine are working diligently.
In western Ukraine, our therapist and computer teacher continue their work with children, hungry for activity, knowledge, and stress relief. The goals may change somewhat, although their love and compassion march on.
This morning, my brother sent a picture of our house. There was a piece of metal in an upper window. The source of the metal is unclear, but it remains lodged in our triple pain window. We are amazed that no other damage has fallen upon our house.
We want to tell more heroic stories of our people who remain in Ukraine, but it is not safe to release information and locations that may jeopardize the lives of any, or many of our Ukrainian people. Know that we continue to help the people in need that we have contact with in Ukraine, and those that we are meeting in Poland.
Please continue to pray for our city of Mykolaiv, City of Heroes, that continues to receive attack from the Russian barbarians.
Living my Dream,
Sveta
As for Sveta and I, there is still a shock, a numbness. They may be hiding within us, but I think that they are still there. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

12 days of war

Hello family and friends,
No place is safe in Ukraine for more than the moment. We are safe in God’s hand’s. 
Isaiah 54:10“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, Who has compassion on you.
What shall we do? Believe! Believe that our King is Sovereign!
Psalm 57:1
Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the disaster has passed.
II Kings 6:16, 1716 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
This morning, we were awakened by explosions at 5:45. It is difficult to tell what is happening as we listen to the “fireworks.” Sveta’s brother keeps us in touch with what is happening in the city. He works for the city water company. It seems that the utility workers are keeping things rolling. They have police escorts while working.
I understand that the price at the gas pump is high. When you go to the gas pump, consider your freedom. We are fighting for the freedom of Europe. So when you put gas in your tank, say, “This one is for you, Putin.” You are fighting the war in Ukraine at the gas pump, turning away the Russian tankers, mid ocean. Everyone in the world can go to battle in one way or another. Nobody needs the Soviet Union to be reborn!
Here are some pictures: of the results of the attack on our city this morning.
As for Sveta and I, there is a shock, a numbness. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

Update on war: in Mykolaiv 3/6/2022

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I are safe in our home.
It was a difficult day to day. We ended yesterday at 3AM. We had an interview with News Nation Prime at 2AM. If you didn’t see it, you can watch it here:https://www.newsnationnow.com/video/couple-describes-working-with-children-inside-ukraine-newsnation-prime/7499474/

Ourdaughter, I think that I mentioned in another update, fights the war by giving our soldiers pride in their hair cut. It is her profession, but also her passion.
The female soldiers like getting treated to a haircut that compliments their uniforms. Olya has been giving our soldiers free haircuts as her part of the war effort.
We should all find our place in the war effort. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, male or female. You can play an important part in this war. Not everyone can be a soldier with a gun.
One Facebook I saw a little girl, maybe five or six, in the underground safe place, singing a song. Can you imagine the joy that it could bring to so many people in hiding to share a song or a musical tune. Music won their freedom from Russia in Estonia.
Share your gift, your passion, to help win the war.
As for Sveta and I, there is a shock, a numbness. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

Friday, March 4, 2022

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I are safe in our home. 
It is getting more real for the people of our city. The numbness is being awakened to the reality of war.
Friday, March 4, 2022, the Russian army began their approach on our city. We heard the first blasts at 11 AM. It is now 12:30 PM. Within that short time, we heard more blast than any time previous. Now there is silence. We hope that means that our men are holding control of the city.
For me, my body is reacting more than my mind. It is more difficult for me to have only communication activity to do. My language communication is limited, so that leaves me out of the loop on a number of levels. On the other hand, it is better for me not to have to process all of what I hear, and not to have to deal with emotion about what I hear.
It is better that I focus on hearing the voice of God, being aware of His presence, and focus on the spiritual warfare. 
In my heart, I want to take up arms and stand side by side with my Ukrainian brothers and sisters, but without the language my concern is that I would not recognize the enemy. As I watch from a distance, I am encouraged to see how our Davids are battling Goliath.
One thing that is happening with Sveta uplifting. She has a “ministry of conversation”. Many people are calling her on the phone. As she listens, God’s spirit fills her with compassion and words of healing and calm. Sveta has the heartbeat of this city. So she is able to help many people find what they need. Today, our Christmas fundraiser family is in need of diapers. Sveta found two sources of help and sent her the link.
Some people are rattled because of the war. Some are afraid of the unknown. And some have big fear that they will return to living under the soviet control. If only all of the EU, and America and Canada … understood, could feel the hopelessness that these people feel, and remember, then they would not be so slow to act against these war crimes of the Russian government.
In 2003, I live with a wonderful family for the months. I was new to Ukraine, and understood nothing about the post soviet life. At one point, the husband, a Russian Christian who was a strong Christian believer, said to me, “Mark, we must plant as many Christian churches in Ukraine, as fast as we can, before Russia controls us again.” I thought, “Who is your God.” I had no clue that he was not talking about faith, he was talking about the mentality of the Russian government. He was talking of a mentality of domination of nations. He grew up under soviet rule. He was denied higher education because he was a Christian. Think about that!
As for Sveta and I, there is a shock, a numbness. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

Update on war 3/2/2022

Hello family and friends,
Yesterday was a busy and emotional day. For me, the numbness continues, as my mind tries to process so much information.
Our daughter was ready to begin the process of exodus with her children. When she could no longer wait around the house, doing nothing, she went to the street to explode with emotion. As she walked around, calming down, God spoke to her (the hairdresser). He said, “Olya, your weapons are your scissors and comb. Serve the soldiers.”
Today she had many requests. As her husband drove her to the first location, they were stopped my the local military. The city had been locked down. Even so, She now understands her purpose in life. She has here home salon, and does home visits for hair care. She will share her talents with those in need, unable to afford, or now for the soldiers who protect our country.
On the map, you can see the MUCH locations in yellow. Most locations are not able to operate because of the invasion. Here is a rundown of what we understand.
Alyona, from our Christmas fundraiser, delivered her baby the other day. Both mother and baby are doing well.
The boys from one orphanage has relocated all of the children. Orphans from another orphanage and children from transition home stay in their facility, they are in safe. When it need children stay in underground place. So, our children in safety.
One of our massage therapists continues to treat two children with great needs.
As for Sveta and I, there is a shock, a numbness. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

Update on war 2/27/2022

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I are safe in our home. 
The scheduled bombing and arrival of tanks in Mykolaiv continues. Here is the latest news that I am aware of.
This is a street not far from the building where our congregation rent a room for church services. This location is about 15 miles from our home.
Last night, there was some kind of attack. It is not clear what. These pictures are taken from a phone video. Our daughter says that the tanks are Russian. If that is correct, and I hope that it is so, then our boys have destroyed four Russian tanks. Unfortunately more are on the way.
It appears that whatever was used to destroy the tanks
created shock waves that broke windows in the buildings.
This family spent the night in an underground area. This morning, they return home to check on damages. They were pleased to see no damage.
I hear bombs from a distance as I write.
As for Sveta and I, there is a shock, a numbness. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.
Thank you for your prayers!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

Update on war 2/26/2022

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I are safe in our home. 
This update is to inform you of our safety and what has happened in our city in the last two days. We are 7 hours ahead of the east coast time in the US. 
I’m sure that you have seen the maps on Facebook of where Putin is attacking. 820 military infrastructure facilities have been attacked by Russia.
We are a couple of miles outside of the city proper, but are within the city limits.
Thursday morning, the first bombs hit an air strip close to Mykolaiv. The rest of the day was calm.
Friday was uneventful until afternoon. Our daughter and her family were going to visit us. They saw a drone flying overhead, so they decided not to come. It was unsuccessful at being shot down. If it was a Russian controlled drone, I imagine that it was finding the locations for the next explosion.

Mykolaiv had a lights out from dusk on. Around 10 PM, we felt and heard the house rattle from shock waves. 
The train station was hit. Not far away from the train station, an oil tank farm was hit. These are located about 10 miles from us.
This picture was taken for our area, looking toward the train station.
I believe this picture is closer, in our district heading in the same direction.
There was conflict at the main bridge to the city. Mykolaiv held control of it.
About 60 men, 30 years and older, filled a big hospital in the main part of our city.
Today, our daughter again wanted to come visit us. She heard gunfire in her neighborhood, so they remained at home. They are on the first floor of a five floor walk up.
This picture is of a bread factory on the outer fringe of our city, not sure of the location.
Our daughter-in-law, Ira, and granddaughter live on the 10th floor of a high-rise in our district. Many seek safety in the basements of building like this one. They stayed there the night, and will do the same tonight.
Ira, our manager in Chornomorsk, said, “Mark, you are a true Ukrainian. You stayed.”
I decided to stay for many reasons. One good reason is that I can encourage my team, family, and friends with more meaning.
As for Sveta and I, there is a shock, a numbness. We find our strength in the Power of Jesus Christ Who lives within us.

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

War and new vision

Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I are safe. The skies are clear this morning. At about 5 AM this morning, Russia invaded Ukraine, hitting a number of cities in Ukraine, including a place in Mykolaiv, about 5 to 7 miles north of us. Sveta was in our district this morning. People were in a very long line at the ATM and grocery store. Intercity buses have stopped, and many other things are happening. You can see it all on the internet news.
I will keep you informed as things change. Understanding who Putin was and is will suggest that he is living in soviet mentality times. He is trying to return to at time that has proven unacceptable by the world.
Life moves forward, faith in God grows, and unity in Europe strengthens. Although I am a resident of Ukraine, my involvement must remain focussed on the MUCH mission. At this point, all of our programs continue, out of harms way.
We will let you know if anything charges. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers!
Mark’s Moments
Twenty years have come and gone since I first moved to Ukraine. Eighteen years ago MUCH was created. A lot has happened during that time. It all happened in Ukraine. MUCH will continue to grow in Ukraine, serving the children in need, setting the example for the nation.
Over the past three or four months, pastors from churches in other countries have been inviting us to visit their church. This was a surprise to me. Of course, I didn’t understand it. When God called me to Ukraine, I didn’t understand that either. God is showing me that these churches in developing countries are in need of encouragement and direction. God is calling me to take MUCH to the nations. What does that mean?
There is a church in the Philippines that connected with us two year ago, directly before COVID appeared. The pastor shared about his ministry to orphaned and undernourished children. 
Through our conversations, we discussed children with disabilities, and the massage therapy program. He sees a great value to have a massage therapy program for the children, and he sees value in massage therapy for adults dealing with the stress of poverty.
Another pastor who is inviting us to come to his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, also found me on LinkedIn, a job related social network. When we discussed the multiple values of massage therapy, he explained that there are many people not receiving treatment for disabilities in the cities and villages. The cities are filled with poverty and stress.
As God is unfolding the vision for the nations, Sveta and I are developing information that we can share via email and WhatsApp. I anticipate that this communication with any country will require at least one year to develop. From today, COVID and other things happening in Ukraine will determine our travel opportunities. The travel time will be one trip to one country per year. The difference is that the churches, not MUCH, will finance the massage therapy programs initiatives. Sveta and I will visit to initiate and enable the people to start the program. We don’t expect to reproduce our program in one year, that which took eighteen years in Ukraine. We do believe that we will move things forward much faster, though.
Thank you again, sponsors! Your contributions to the Christmas fundraiser is changing lives as you read this letter. Two warm homes, and massage treatments for many children are a reality because of your gifts. God Bless You!
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta
You can see all of our videos at our YouTube site https://www.youtube.com/user/smMUCH/videos

January 2022

Hello family and friends,

Great News!

The Christmas fundraiser received $5,750
Our goal was $7,000

With this wonderful amount, we can provide for the multiple needs for Alyona’s family (October newsletter) and utilities for Vera’s family for four more months of cold weather. The balance will be used to supplement the massage therapy program which has been growing the past few years. God is showing us future growth that was not expected. I will tell more about that in the February newsletter.

Alyona and Vera are very thankful for your helping them through this difficult winter season!

Vera said, “My heart is overflowing with gratitude to people who are not indifferent to me and my granddaughter! My heart is overflowing with gratitude to God! When Mark and Sveta told me that the heating could be turned on today, I cried with joy. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much for your help! God bless you and meet all the needs that you have!” (reprint from the November newsletter)

Alyona has had such a difficult year, one more stress in her life arrived the day before Christmas. Her twelve year old son, Dennis, died. He received massage therapy for most of his twelve years. Sveta and I helped to pay for the burial plot. Alyona begins 2022 with a grateful heart to MUCH for our help with her winter utilities, and the birthing of her baby in February. Once again, she says,
“Thank you for your generosity toward my family and me. I cannot find the words to express the deep value that I have for your timely help. God Bless You.”

Mark’s Moments
If you were to come to Ukraine, wanting to reproduce what God has done through MUCH these past eighteen years, you might ask these two questions. ” Where do you find massage therapists or people wanting to become massage therapists?” You can read the answer to this question in our April 2021 Newsletter. The second question may be, “Where do you find children in need of massage therapy?” The answer to this question is the story for this newsletter:

Our neighbor, Luba, broke her leg. When I say neighbor, I mean to say that she and her husband have a house and garden diagonal to Sveta’s and my home. They work their garden and orchard, but they live in the city.

Luba called Sveta and asked if she could help her with details for a hospital visit (helping her husband guide the wheel chair on icy walk ways and standing in line for hours). In the process, Luba’s husband found a neighbor in their high rise who had a wheelchair that they could rent. The wheelchair belonged to a teenager by the name of Diana. That is how we met Diana.

Sveta’s Journey

Here is Diana’s story. She was born a healthy child. When Diana was vaccinated against polio at the age of eight months, her mother soon discovered that her daughter could not stand firmly and confidently as she had before. Diana’s muscles were paralyzed. Many times she was treated in hospitals, but this did not give any result. Diana had no choice but to sit in a wheelchair.

Diana’s school lessons were provided at home. Now she is studying at the university level, studying languages: English and Latin. This year, she wants to transfer to an online sociology course. With the money allocated by the state for people who received COVID-19 vaccinations, Diana bought three books on psychology. She is a very determined girl. In her dreams, Diana sees herself not in a wheelchair, but walking the streets and helping others in their difficulties. She has strong personal convictions. We believe that Jesus will make her dreams and visions come true.

One dream, to learn how to play the synthesizer, became a reality last month. The Capernaum club gave her a used synthesizer. Our relative, who has a musical education, comes to Diana’s home and teaches her how to play the keyboard.

Of course, providing a massage treatment on a bed is not very comfortable for a massage therapist, but what can you do. Enna finds a solution in any situation.

Living my dream,
Sveta

Thank you again, sponsors! Your contributions to the Christmas fundraiser is changing lives as you read this letter. Two warm homes, and massage treatments for many children are a reality because of your gifts. God Bless You!

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

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta