February 2017

Hello family and friends,

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

Mark’s Moments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Living my dream,

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

January 2017

Hello family and friends,

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

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

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

Mykolaiv — two massage therapists for children with disabilities

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

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

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

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

Marganets School #3 — improving education equipment

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

Shostakova village school — improving education equipment

Maximovka village school — improving education equipment

Mark’s Moments

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

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

December 2016

Hello family and friends,

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

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

Will you help us raise the remaining $3,177

Please Donate Here!

Sveta’s Journey

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

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

Living my dream,

Our programs are increasing. See our list below!

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

Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta

November 2016

Hello family and friends,

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

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

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

We now need $3,427

We need your help!

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

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

You can support our Christmas Fundraiser here!

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

October 2016

Hello family and friends,

Christmas Fundraiser
This year our fundraiser will sponsor the village school in Ternava and the Young Life project in Mykolaiv.

Will you help?


Promoting education and massage therapy in Ukraine have been game changers for 12 years. Help us make our Christmas fundraiser a success for our children of MUCH, again!

Ternava Project — $2,912

The children at the Ternava village school had no modern education tools when we met them. Step by step, MUCH is helping these children compete with city children. The children of the three villages that attend school at Ternava have big dreams. The sewing machines will prepare them for life tasks and job opportunities. The other items will improve and accelerate the classroom education experience. You can help by donating!
1. Sewing machines 3 x $88.78 = $ 267.34
2. An embroidery machine 1 = $ 184.42
3. Computer Tablets for Primary school students 10 x $100.88 = $1,008.80
4. Complete wall charts for the Ukrainian Language $61.13
5. Interactive white board (smart board) 2 x $686.04 = $1,372.00

This screen interacts with a computer, but also is touch sensitive, allowing the student or teacher to interact with the screen as he/she would with a blackboard and chalk.
See video — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjdNPMZJbLs
6. Medical first aid – 3 x $6.05 = $ 18.15
Total: $2,911.84

Young life project — $1,015

This project will provide building materials for the section of the Young Life rental room that MUCH will use for massage therapy. The size of the room that will be created for MUCH will be 15 feet by 15 feet. There will be space for two massage tables and a waiting area for parents.

Any contributions over and above our goal of $3927 will be used for our ongoing monthly programs of massage therapy, computer classes, and clothing.

Mark’s Moments

New Programs
I met Illya more than two years ago. He is our daughter’s brother-in-law. Since our first meeting, I saw a passion for youth ministry in his character. He told me that for more than five years his dream has been to minister to children with disabilities. A construction worker by trade, he lives his passion as Director of the new Young Life Ministry in our district of Mykolaiv. When he asked to discuss a partnership with MUCH to reach out to children with disabilities, I was not surprised. Help us partner with Illya by donating to our Christmas fundraiser.dscn3886

The orphanage in the town of Veleekey Lubin is a showcase orphanage. They have everything that a school for children with disabilities should have. There are two problems that I see. Their computer class has no teacher. They do not have a massage therapy program. These are two problems that MUCH will help with.

Our MUCH manager in Marganets introduced me to the children at the Transition Home in 2005. These children are transitioned from very bad hdsc03311ome situations to foster homes or orphanages. The Transition Home was a ninety day program. It is now a nine month program. The director and I discussed the massage therapy program for the children. She believes that this is a great need for many of the children. The results that we will be looking for are emotional, psychological, and social. We hope that the Board of Directors will approved these programs.

Changes at the Dobromel Orphanage
It only takes a spark to get a fire going! MUCH is the spark!

One of the new tools that we provided is a lighted sandbox table. Three specialists will use this tool todsc02981 connect with the inner child. They are the speech therapist, the school psychologist, and the defectologist. “Defectology is concerned with sensory, physical, and cognitive neurological impairment.”

Another set of tools that the therapists asked for are Ukrainian alphabet charts for particular letters. These letters require particular placement of the tongue that is difficult for many children.

In January 2012, we began a massage therapy program at the Dobromel Orphanage. Now, five years and many great results later, the massage therapy-exercise program has two newly remodeled rooms. The rooms are more spacious and there is plenty of room for the exercise equipment.

Sveta’s Journey

Marganets School #3

Oudscn4274r time in Marganets was short but most eventful. While visiting School #3, we visited a math class to see how they were using the computer tablets to improve their learning technique. As you can see in this picture, each child also has an abacus. The math problems are on the board, and the children solve the problem using the different learning tools. You will not see these children counting on their fingers here!

There were twenty children in the class, but only eleven computer tablets. The children at the other desks took turns using the tablet on their desk.

Each city school in Ukraine focusses on one subject of study more than others. School #3 concentrates on History. We visited the history class in progress. Yodscn4324u can see the Power Point projector from MUCH being used in connection with the computer to show a historical video. On the right, the large high quality maps from MUCH help the students visualize the location of what they are learning.

Victor, our Marganets MUCH manager, and Mark had the opportunity to share some encouraging words with the children about their value to the country of Ukraine.

I stood in the back of the classroom, taking pictures and videdscn4328o. As I did, one of the girls looked up at me and said, “Thank you so much for caring about us. Everything that you did helps us better understand history.”

It was a precious moment for me. This is one way that we know that the work of MUCH is appreciated. No other student said anything without being prompted. These two girls thank you, our sponsors. Mark and I thank you for making it possible to encourage the children of Ukraine for positive change!

Our connection with School #3 began with the clothing program. This school, previously at a different location, merged with Orphanage #2. There were a number of true orphans and children whose families live in poverty. These are the children that we continue to help with clothing.dscn4335

Mark and I had the great pleasure to experience the children on their shopping adventure. Victor and a teacher from the school took the children shopping with a prepared list of their greatest needs .

Nine children were blessed this day because of your financial gifts to MUCH. Some of the children were given permission to wear their new clothes as they left the store. You can see the delight in their faces.

The two boys in the back are brothers. Their family had no money for clothes. The mother died and their father wanted to send them to work instead of dscn4354school. Your gifts make it possible for these boys to remain in school.

I was teasing the little boy in the front right of the picture. I asked, “What do you have?” He replied, “Shoes.” I said, “Oh, I want to also have shoes.” He hugged his new shoes tightly and said, “These are my shoes. I will not give them to anyone.” These are words of desperate need. I wish that you could have seen the expression on his face.

When I visit America, I see a very different experience. Mark tells me that there is poverty in America, but I haven’t seen it yet. I do see the poverty of children and their families every day in Ukraine. Mark and I encourage you to visit us and see first hand what life is like in Ukraine. We would love for you to meet some of the children in our stories. Another option would be to talk with us face to face, over the internet. We would really like that! You can find us on Skype at ‘markkinua’.

Living my dream,

Help us make a better life for the children!
Sponsor our Christmas Fundraiser!

Thank you sponsors, readers, and those who pray for our mission. MUCH has a big team in Ukraine and in America. We each have our part to do. That is why we have been so successful in meeting the needs of children for 14 years. 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

September 2016

Hello family and friends,

Our search for God-led people to join our mission continues. We are looking for people to fill the positions of children’s ministry and tech support ministry. If you or someone that you know has a passion for children, please share our website www.muchhope.org with them. We can be contacted at markkinua@gmail.com.

Sveta and I traveled in September. We rode in the train for nineteen hours from Mykolaiv to Lviv, northwestern Ukraine. There, we met the director of an orphanage for children with disabilities that is located in the village of Veleeky Lubin. He and his driver took us to the orphanage to investigate their needs in respect to the philosophy of MUCH. From there we rode in a bus to Cambir where we changed buses to continue on to Dobromel, a total of two more hours. After spending five days with the children of the Dobromel Orphanage, we rode in a bus to Lviv, and then in the overnight train to Kiev. There we stayed two days with friends who coordinate the Ukraine Challenge mission. It is always good to talk with our friends and other Americans who are visiting on short term mission trips.

Mark’s Moments

Veleeky Lubin
Stepan Yoceepoveech, the director of Veleeky Lubin Orphanage, showed us classrooms, their medical rooms, a fully functional dental room, and the playground. He and his wife, who is the nurse, shared a small lunch with us. Sveta’s and my goal was to see if they had needs similar to dscn3884those at the Dobromel Orphanage. It was very clear to us that they had all of the material equipment that they needed. So, how could MUCH help?

The same as the Dobromel Orphanage, they did not have additional teachers to teach computer classes. They have a beautiful computer room. It seems that the government likes to give the appearance of a fully operational orphanage, but in reality, they are not interested in committing money to the monthly cost of additional teachers for the program. They do not have a massage therapy program for the children, but they do understand the need. We are investigating different possibilities.

For MUCH to begin new programs, after they are approved by the Board of Directors, such as funding a computer teacher and/or a massage therapist, we will need more regular monthly support. The support that operated the clothing program in Marganets that we recently closed will support one massage therapist at $100 per month. We would need an additional $62 per month to support a computer teacher. If you have friends who are passionate about children, particularly children in Ukraine, please share our story with them.

Sveta will share about our time with the children at the Dobromel Orphanage in Sveta’s Journey.

dscn4150Our time in the Kiev area, north central Ukraine, was centered in Voronkiv, at a church camp. The church provides camp for three weeks in the summer for children with disabilities.

Buddy and Janada, coordinators (and much more) of Ukraine Challenge (UC), took us to visit three other churches that UC is sponsoring. These churches are in the process of being built or expanding. It was exciting to see hunger for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these villages and small communities on the edges of cities.
dscn4168 dscn4171 dscn4173
We talked about many things with Buddy and Janada. Most important to me, we talked about our purpose as missionaries in Ukraine. Their twenty-one year of service to Ukraine and our fourteen year of service to Ukraine approach the same goal. We are helping the people of Ukraine help themselves to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ through action and word. It is an honor for me to be a missionary in Ukraine, being part of this country in the midst of change.

Sveta’s Journey
The Dobromel Orphanage is my favorite place of all the places that Mark and I visit. Maybe it is because I lived in the orphanage while I gave the twenty-day massage therapy demonstration that started the program there. I always look forward to meeting with the children and our team of two massage therapists and two teachers for the computer classes. Children greet us, and every day during the week we hug them, talk with them, and take their pictures. Whenever I hug the children, I use this great opportunity to pray for them and bless them. I see in their eyes a big need for love and acceptance.

This year, the Ukrainian Ministry of Education (MOE) has finally created an official computer class and provided a teacher. The program created by the MOE teaches theory only, and is taught only two hours a week. When the teacher began her first class, she was very surprised to see what the children already knew about the practical application of computer. Because she was hired by the MOE, she is required to teach the given curriculum.

Therefore, the two computer teachers, Olga and Luba, supported by MUCH, will continue their work. Our teachers work with the children five days a week for one hour each day. It is important for these children to learn and apply their experience every day. It is so wonderful that Olga and Luba can choose the programs which are necessary for their particular group of children and also create an individual plan for the different learning style of each child.

dscn4034Olga not only teaches children computer skills, but she also encourages each child with hugs and words of encouragement. She builds nice relationships of trust with the children.


Volodya continues to change. I was surprised when I saw this former fidgety, naughty, and wild boy in the computer class. During the whole lesson, Volodya was doing his work patiently and diligently. He was proud and happy to show us the text which he typed. It’s so wonderful to see such a huge change in the lives of these children!

Olga takes a short break in the middle of the lesson. With her fluency in English, she combines learning English words and sentences with physical exercise. The children surprised us with how quickly they grasped what they were taught, in spite of the mental limitations of some of the children. Olga has a great love to help the children. She takes an individual approach with each child.

Luba teaches her computer class in the library. She has a beautiful maternal love and patience for the children. She is instinctive about what programs will help them in the future. In her library, she uses older computers which sometimes lock-up. This causes the children to become upset because they cannot continue their work. They have to turn off the computer and reboot it, taking computer time away from them. When this happens, they look at their classmates with envy.
She also works with two computer tablets provided by MUCH. Luba uses these tablets to work with non-verbal children like Misha. We wrote about him in previous newsletters. This visit he surprised us! He learned several words and began to understand some of the actions that Luba taught him! It is not so easy to teach children like Misha. It requires patience and waiting for the results. Luba has a lot of patience!

With MUCH money we acquired a printer for the library computer class. Children learn to print text and photos with great pleasure!

Olga and Luba began the first month of the school year dsc02793with a review of what they taught last year. It is common for children to forget over the summer what they learned during the previous school year. The children surprised their computer teachers with how much they remembered. It is obvious that the children want to learn how to use the computer. They are very interested in using the computer and are showing great results.

Mark and I saw many physical changes in the orphanage at Dobromel. One example is the newly remodeled adjoining rooms that were created for the massage therapy and exercise programs. A wash basin was also installed in the room for the therapists to wash their hands between massages.

The director of the orphanage always has a vision to improve the quality of life and rehabilitation for the children. The government does not always support his vision financially. With money from MUCH, we helped move some of his projects forward. In future newsletters we will talk more about these projects.

Living my dream,

We thank all of you who make our mission a reality! Without your prayers and financial help we could not carry on with our work.

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

August 2016

Hello family and friends,

We have come to the end of summer in Ukraine. We anticipate that a cool autumn will appear
Sept. 1. The change of seasons are abrupt in this part of Europe.

August 24 celebrates Independence Day in Ukraine. This is their twenty-fifth year of freedom from the Soviet Union. Children who were born in freedom, after 1991, are raising a second generation of children born in freedom. It is a great privilege for me to be here, watching the process.

We have been changing the lives of children at the Marganets Orphanage for fourteen years. August brings an end to this part of the MUCH mission in Marganets. The simplest way to 3dsc02082explain is that we are not seeing the results that we have seen over the years. The need for clothing is less, and the other goals have been met. The children have better self images, are behaving better in the classroom, and have earned the respect of the children in the community at large. Thank you for your support for these children over the years. Your contributions have changed the lives of a generation of children.

Mark’s Moments
Here is a story of how two people encouraged each other to blossom their visions to help disabled children.

In 2003, I was in great need of massage therapy. After living in Ukraine for a year and a half, stress caused my neck muscles to tighten so much that I couldn’t turn my head. I was introduced to Dr. Natalya Borisovna, a massage therapist. At the time, her patients for massage therapy were adults.

After my good results, I asked her if she was interested in working with children. She had been praying for the opportunity for three years! In March of 2004, we began the MUCH Massage Therapy program with two children a month.

Twelve years later, MUCH has blossomed the massage therapy program. We provide massage therapy for at least twenty children per month. We have: two massage therapists at the Dobromel Orphanage, northwestern Ukraine, two home visit massage therapists in Chornomorsk, and one in training for home visits in the village of Molodozjnoye in south western Ukraine. There is also a vision for massage therapy at a second orphanage in northwestern Ukraine.

For twelve years, Dr. Natalya has been on a journey of her own. When she started the MUCH massage therapy clinic in 2004, she worked part time for us and part time in her private practice. A few years later, she was hired to work at Golden Angel in Odessa, giving massage to children with disabilities who came from many parts of Ukraine for treatment.

Dr. Natalya has returned to Chornomorsk, reopening her private practice of massage therapy. She has blossomed her business into a complex treatment of full body massage, hot earth wax, facial point massage, treatment for joints, therapeutic exercise, and an ice bath. This full treatment requires about two hours and forty-five minutes for a ten or fifteen day program. MUCH sponsors six of her patients. She has a team of four massage therapist, and an office manager.

natalyas-teamDr. Natalya helped me: physically regain relaxation of my muscles, begin a clinic for children with special needs, and train our new massage therapists. God used me to: answer her prayer to work with special needs children, encourage her to continue through sponsorship, and ask for her help to train our new therapists.

This is the successful story of how Dr. Natalya and I encouraged each other to develop our visions to help children with disabilities.

Sveta’s Journey
We have made a lot of friends working at the orphanage in Marganets. Our hearts were sad when we had to stop the program. The children were always waiting for our arrival. When Mark and I entered the orphanage gate they recognized us from a distance and ran to us shouting, “Mark and Sveta are here!” We had limited time to talk and play with the children. When we told them that we had other children in their city to visit, they were jealous.

Our work continues in Dobromel. Children are also waiting for us at this orphanage. They receive massage therapy and attend computer classes because of the full sponsorship of MUCH. This is a great help that is changing their lives. The children enjoy massage therapy very much. Eagerly awaiting dscn7556their turn, they ask the therapist, “When are you going to give me a massage?”
Teachers are responsible to bring each child for massage, knowing the appointed time. Sometimes Paul takes a child for massage therapy and returns him/her at the end of the massage. Because the education building is across the street, sometimes the therapist will take two children. While waiting for their turn, they are happy to spend time in this magical room, running on the treadmill, playing on a massage mat, and using other exercise equipment. Some children are so interested in the procedure of massage therapy, they cannot look away from the working hands of the therapist.
We have written several times adscn7555bout children who came to the orphanage from a Baby House (orphanage from birth to first grade). What enormous changes have taken place in their character and health because of massage therapy mixed with the love of people who care about them!
The boy who is watching massage in the picture above came from a Baby House. When he arrived, he was wild and uncontrollable. He has been receiving massage therapy for three years. We are so happy to see the great changes that have occurred in his life during this time.
For me, this boy is a living example of how a child may change through the love of the people around him, and as the love of God unites hearts of Americans and Ukrainians! Thank you for your part in changing the lives of these children!
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

July 2016

Hello family and friends,

The Search Goes On!

In our search for more missionaries to work with MUCH, I thought that it would be helpful to clarify some details.

What is a missionary? A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to proselytize and/or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missionary)

MUCH is a Christian missionary non-profit organization that focuses on children in three major categories of care: Healthcare, Education, and Clothing. As we meet the basic needs of the children, doors open to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Currently working in three cities and a village, our goal is to connect the children with a church in their area. Our new goal is to have one or more missionaries who specialize in children’s ministry. We want them to connect with the children we serve more often, possibly living much closer to the children than Sveta and I do. Our location goal at this time for one new missionary is to live around the Lviv area, northwestern Ukraine.

Are you, or someone you know, looking for an opportunity to: help disabled or disadvantaged children, touch their spiritual lives, and change their lives in big ways? If so, contact me at markkinua@gmail.com

Mark’s Moments

How does MUCH grow?
One question that a number of people have asked over the years is, “Why are your missions in cities that are so far from each other.” My answer is “These are the people that God has prepared for us,” or “These are the doors that God has opened for us to walk through.

Here is one example of how MUCH has grown in the past fourteen years. God has guided us through a natural process. For instance, after visiting the Dobromel Orphanage for a number of years, when the time was right, my eyes were opened to the healthcare needs of the children. I hired a translator from Lviv to help me with a meeting with the director at the orphanage. We discussed massage therapy and I suggested a twenty-day demonstration (Sveta had not yet entered my life). The director found a massage therapist, and I found Sveta. The twenty-day demonstration showed results, and the rest is history.

Our newest computer teacher!DSCN3483
Olga was a student of the orphanage director at the Ternava village school a number of years ago. We interviewed her last year and found her to be filled with great ideas and enthusiasm. During our May visit, Sveta and I stopped in to watch her work with her children in the computer classroom. It was obvious that she had made progress with them. When they did well, Olga would teach them some English words and phrases as a bonus. We were very impressed.

Sveta’s Journey
Misha is a ten year old boy. He has a severe type of cerebral palsy which includes being DSCN3407non-verbal. He lived seven years with his family who loves him. Misha is a friendly and quiet boy. He can speak only three or four words and cannot be left alone to care for himself. His parents made every effort to overcome the effects of cerebral palsy. After many years and much heartache, his parents decided to bring their son to the Dobromel Orphanage that specializes in teaching children who have disabilities. For the parents, this would enable both to work away from the home.

DSC02276It happened that we saw Misha receiving massage therapy. Natasha, our massage therapist, was giving him the second course of massage therapy. It was nice to see how one child helped him put his sweat pants on after massage therapy. Patiently and lovingly, she explained how she wanted Misha to raise his leg to receive the sweat pants.

Luba, the computer teacher, taught Misha a lesson on the computer tablet. When she was busy with other children, one girl happily helped Misha and explained to him how to do the task. She DSCN3442gently held his finger and helped him touch the letter and drag it to the location on the tablet. It is easy for other children but is a difficult task for him. A second game program teaches the child to connect the dots with his finger to get the letter and remember it visually. For Misha this task is difficult. We believe that step-by-step, we will see some progress, even if it is only in small advances.

I am glad that this child is not left on the sidelines. Working with Misha requires a lot of time with few, if any, results. We are pleased that these teachers see value in spending time with Misha.
Massage therapist Natasha showed some results Misha has achieved working on the treadmill. After each treatment, she works with him on the treadmill. In the beginning he could not walk on it. Natasha arranged his feet one after the other, explaining the process. Now he is very actively arranging his feet, and he is running on this track! This is wonderful progress! This treadmill was purchased for the Dobromel Orphanage with money donated by you, dear friends! This is a great investment. It will change the lives of these children in Ukraine! Thank you!

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 2016

Hello family and friends,

We are looking for more missionaries to work with MUCH!

Are you or someone that you know looking for a rewarding purpose in life. I looked for mine for twenty-six years. Many people see a “calling” as something that is limited to special people or a religious future. I believe that everyone has a purpose and “calling”.

I did receive a “calling”, although it was not what I expected. I was not looking to be a missionary. I was not looking to leave the country or learn a new language. I did “hear” God calling me to Ukraine.

Over a period of fourteen years, I have learned how my regular life has prepared me for my mission in Ukraine.

In June 2002, I came face to face with orphans who broke my heart. I had to help them! Clothing was their immediate need. We worked with a generation of these children, changing their self images and giving them hope. Can you imagine what that could feel like?

For the past twelve years, our massage therapy programs have not only changed the health and abilities of the children, but the results are changing the communities, changing society. Would you like to be a part of that experience?

Nine years ago I was confronted with the vicious cycle of poverty that was destroying people in Chornomorsk (previously, Illichevsk). We saw that education was the answer. Helping students get to the university, and providing educational equipment for village schools and orphanages has been our challenge. Wouldn’t you like to be a part of changing Ukraine through education?

My past fourteen years living in Ukraine have been the most important years of my life. So many peoples lives have been touched; so many children’s lives have been transformed. Would you or someone you know like to be a part of the MUCH experience as a missionary?

I am looking for two people with specific skills to grow the mission.

Those skills are children’s ministry, and social media/computer/internet skills.

If you or someone that you know are men or women of God in a Christian Faith relationship, please contact Mark at muchhope1@gmail.com.

Mark’s Moments
Sveta and I do our best to share the results of the Christmas fundraiser with our sponsors. Sometimes, so many projects are involved that it would take a year of newsletters to share all of them.
One big story is about the camping equipment for the children at the Dobromel Orphanage/boarding school. When we were visiting the children in May, Vladimir, the director, organized an afternoon in the mountains. The children hiked to the designated spot while Vladimir, two boys, Sveta and I drove with the equipment.

After the tents were set up, theDSC02512 children played with the volleyballs. It was nice to see all of the children focused on their activities.

Natasha, our Massage Therapist, took charge of things and put the children to work with different tasks. It was a great time for the children. They learned to set up the tents, the girls prepared lunch over an open fire, and Sveta and I received a new understanding of the value of camping equipment for the children’s education. Teachers from geography, history, science, and biology want to take their class to the mountains for field trips.DSC02515

The equipment will be used for yearly competitions between schools. Aside from setting up the campsite and other preparations, students will compete scholastically about environmental issues and application of what they learn in the classroom.
This is a big deal. Even so, I am much happier to see the equipment being used for field trips!

Fifteen children participated in this four hour outing. We were chased away by rain clouds that moved in as we were finishing lunch.

As we packed to go, each of the staff came to Sveta and me to express what a great experience this was for the children. They asked to convey their BIG appreciation to MUCH sponsors. Thank you!
[Jack, the dog from the orphanage, follows the children everywhere.]

Sveta’s Journey

Massage therapy result!
Anya appeared in the Dobromel Orphanage/boarding school in September 2015. She was only five years old. The girl is friendly and trusting. She quickly found friends using a special method. Anya likes to make bracelets, ribbons and other decorations that she gives to children.

She enjoys the sounds of music and loves poems. Although Anya may not always remember all the lines of the poems, she often improvises and comes up with her own verse and rhyme. Very fond of cartoons, she can repeat the story, or play all the roles on stage like a real actress.

It remains a mystery why some children come to this orphanage for children with special needs. Most children come from difficult homes, others from large families who are too poor to care for another child. There are many scenarios. Anya falls into one of these mystery categories. In March, she was sent home to be with her family for two weeks. During that time, she developed a sever case of influenza. Upon her return, the nurse noticed that Anya could not close her left eyelid and was unable to laugh as a result of her facial muscle paralysis. She was immediately sent to Natasha, the massage therapist. After a twenty day course of massage therapy, the function of Anya’s facial muscles returned to normal.
How nice that the orphanage can have a massage therapist who comes to the rescue at the right time. This treatment prevented the child from being sent to the hospital. Moreover, the immediate massage therapy treatment avoided what may have led to an adversely progressive disability. Natasha expresses her gratitude again and again to the MUCH sponsors who support the massage therapy program. She sees great importance in this ministry. Many children recover from physical, psychological, and social problems.

Computer lesson results!
DSC02293Luba, one of our computer class teachers in the Dobromel Orphanage/boarding school, teaches the children using special programs. These short lessons are in the form of a game with frequent repetition. Children love these lessons. By the end of the school year we saw good results. It is very difficult to work with these children because of their short attention spans. One of our goals is to help them understand that learning to use the computer can be useful to them in life. Most importantly, the children see their achievements, and they become happy and proud of these achievements. This gives children with disabilities the opportunity to see themselves as “normal” children, building their confidence.

This is Mark’s dreams. Through education, we can help children escape the vicious cycle of poverty. Particularly, we want to change the thinking of the children. We want them to see themselves as having something to give to society, to be a positive part of their community.

We saw all of the equipment that Natasha asked for during the Christmas fundraiser. She DSC_0604showed us how it fits in with her massage and exercise programs. She says thank you to all who made her request a reality within such a short time.

Living my dream,

Thank you to all who make it possible for MUCH to continue God’s work here in Ukraine. We wish that each of you have a comfortable and safe summer!

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 2016

Hello family and friends,

May brings us to the end of another school year. Let’s look back and see two ways that MUCH has influenced the children through the Christmas Fundraiser.
Before we do, I will honor my mother, and the part that she played in the development of MUCH.

Mark’s MomentsApril 2016 sent
May 11, 2016, Patricia Murphy Koehler moved from this life to her eternal reward. I would like to share with all of our MUCH readers, sponsors, and friends some brief stories of how Pat, my mother, influenced what became Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope, and how it influenced her.

In September of 2000, I announced my ‘calling’ to move to Ukraine. Mom was impressed with my spiritual direction. She was very supporting of my ‘calling’, but she had the normal concerns of a mother. For the next two years, Mom shared related newspaper articles and other current information that she thought would help guide me. When I began to sell all of my possessions, Mom asked what I was going to do with my duplex. I said that I would probably sell it. Without rental management experience, she offered to manage it for me. Mom was not afraid to tackle anything.

My passion was for children in need. I believed that I would feed the homeless children in Odessa, Ukraine. One week before I moved to Ukraine, I had not developed a solid plan, and only knew one or two people in Ukraine. As Mom and I ate lunch one afternoon, she looked at me with caring eyes and great concern. She said very gently, “So Mark, what will you do, stand on the street corner and hand out bread?” I told her that if God called me, He would provide direction. It was at this point that Mom’s faith began to grow.

Toward the end of 2003, it was clear that my ministry was established. It was also clear that to continue, I needed a non-profit status to allow for tax deductible contributions. Mom realized all of the factors involved and set about creating Mission Ukraine Children’s Hope and the non-profit status without any legal help. This task was complete in March of 2004.

Until that time, Mom and I were in constant contact, moving ‘my mission’ forward. Mom was my biggest cheerleader. When she created the non-profit, MUCH, she solicited board members. Among them were my brothers and my sister. Mom was the driving force, with God as her fuel, to move MUCH forward.

Also in 2004, now under the guidance of a board of directors, we began the massage therapy program for children with disabilities. This was a great joy for Mom, having taught students to be teachers of children with disabilities at Slippery Rock University for twenty years. She was atop all of the medical details that were discussed at the board meetings.

Mom was the treasurer of MUCH, carefully watching over the financial process along with the finance committee. From the beginning, it was Mom’s conversations with friends and acquaintances that grew the support of the mission. Her own contributions grew as the mission blossomed. Until her stroke in 2014, Mom poured her heart into MUCH.

For twelve years, Mom set to the task of taking her part of God’s work in Ukraine as her personal ministry. Every couple of years Mom would tell me, “Mark, because of your faith, my faith is growing.” The truth is, her faith was growing because she engaged in the mission. Mom’s faith in God grew because she was a vessel that God was working through. This had always been the case in her many endeavors. MUCH required Mom to believe in what she hoped for and have full confidence about what she could not see. This was the faith that was growing in her over the years. And it was this faith that prepared her to meet Jesus face to face on May 11.

Sveta’s Journey
Pat, my wonderful mother-in-law, was more than I could ever have dreamed. She was a beautiful, kind, tactful, and intelligent woman, and she loved me.

My mother-in-law was an example for me. Her life was filled with helping others find their gifts and talents. I heard many stories of many people that she helped to climb the steps in their fields of study. It was so impressive to me. It was not as if she gave a one-time financial gift, but rather, she helped people see their hidden talents and opened opportunities to use them. It was a gift from God, and Pat used it fully.

Mom loved God and loved people. She believed in the Son of God and lived the golden rule: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s hard to part with loved ones, particularly when you share a common Spirit. Mark and I believe that we will meet her in Heaven in the mansions of our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The work that Mark and Pat started in 2002 continues. God is the director, we are the vessels.

Computer TabletsDSC01941
Marganets School № 3 received a great blessing through the Christmas fundraiser. Now, all of the elementary classes use computer tablets for many lessons.

The fifteen computer tablets that MUCH bought for the school are stored in a safe, in a secure room. Each of the elementary classes is scheduled to use the tablets in their classroom at different times of the day. In this fourth grade class, two children work with one computer tablet. The children were very excited to show us the video programs that they created.

The children of grades one through six are using the computer tablets in each of the subjects to enhance their learning experience. Internet access is available throughout the school. I call this a Christmas gift that keep on giving. Thank you MUCH sponsors!

Lighted Sandbox table
The lighted sandbox was another gift from the Christmas fundraiser. The school psychologist and speech therapist use this sandbox to connect with the emotion, creative thought, and self expression of the child. They are having many great positive results.DSC01960

We saw great joy on the children’s faces when they worked in the sand. Mark and I watched as the children and School Psychologist showed us how they use this gift from MUCH.

Sponsors of MUCH, we are very grateful to you for helping the staff of this school improve their programs to connect with the children in the best ways. Your gifts are improving their education, and helping to heal the brokenness of the children. Thank you very much!

Living my dream,
Two years ago Anatoliy Vlasov, the visionary for the programs and projects in Marganets, left this life to go to his final reward. This May, Mom, the heart and soul of promoting MUCH, has also moved on to her final reward. What will become of MUCH? As always, God will provide. MUCH is ready for more missionaries. We will talk more about this in the June Newsletter.

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