MUCH Supporters – We have GREAT NEWS!
Through your generous support, WE MET OUR FUNDRAISING GOAL!
Because of your compassion and support for our children, we will be able to continue funding our massage therapy programs in Dobromel and Froonza and the computer program in Dobromel. Sveta and I cannot begin to express our gratitude. Your friendship and support enables us to help children who would otherwise be left behind.
God Bless you and your family and we wish you a very Happy and Healthy New Year.
Hello family and friends,
Join me in a walk down memory lane. In June 2002, I took the first train ride of my life. It took me east, 320 milesto Marganets. This is where my first outreach began. These are five of the faces that touched my heart during that initial visit.
Anatoliy, who became my manager there,drove down a side street that was in such bad shape that he could only advance to the orphanage at one mile per hour. His car, a twenty-year-old Russian Lada, creaked and groaned as Anatoliy maneuvered his way through the potholed road.
As we walked toward the main building, the children appeared to see who the visitors were. They followed us, amazed that someone had come to visit them. Their lives were so empty. Their faces were full of questions that would not be answered. As I toured the orphanage, my heart sank. The buildings were in disrepair, the rooms were all void of color, atmosphere, and life. My first mission stared me in the face. I had to do something … This was the beginning, two years before MUCH was created.
Four quarterly visits later, 2003 produced smiling faces and children full of hope. The Sweet Dreams Bed Replacement Project was my first “too big for me, but not too big for God” fundraiser. It took a year to raise the money to replace 142 old wobbly metal beds.
In the meantime, month-by-month, child-by-child, we provided new clothes. This began a transformation of how the children imagined themselves, and even more, how the community of Marganets began to respect the children, no longer seeing them as the dregs of society.
After finding help for my own massage therapy needs, God opened new doors in Illichevsk to begin a Massage Therapy Clinic for children with disabilities. Natalya B. had prayed for three years for this opportunity to work with children. In this picture, she visits a patient at home.
It was at this time in 2004 that MUCH was created to help me continue my mission in Ukraine. I remember the first meeting at my empty little apartment. Four or five mothers/grandmothers, the director of House of Hearts Ukrainian non-profit, and Natalya B. sat on the few seats that I had. These mothers and grandmothers came with hope that there could be local treatment available for their children/grandchildren.
Once again, it was time to step forward in faith, believing that God would provide all that was needed for a massage therapy clinic to meet the needs of these children/grandchildren. I later learned that there were more than 200 families who had children with disabilities in the Illichevsk area. As time went on, children from surrounding villages came to the clinic for treatment. Nine years later, MUCH is providing additional massage therapy in one city orphanage and one village clinic. As Dennis Lennon told me before I came to Ukraine, “Make yourself available, and God will use you!”
Walking in His shoes
This month, Sveta’s Journey takes us to Illichevsk to check in on the children at the MUCH Massage Therapy clinic. We have three massage therapists there who provide a total of twelve hours of therapy per day. Here are her stories.
I want to share with you interesting information about the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of newborns with problems such as hip dysplasia, a congenital developmental hip joint disorder in which the joint is formed incorrectly. If action is not taken in the first few years, it can lead to dysfunction of the spine and legs, gradually having a disabling effect.
The second problem in newborns is torticollis, a twisting of the neck to one side, resulting in the head being tilted. If the child is not treated, torticollis leads to a curved spine, asymmetry of the face and head, and disease of the nervous system.
The most effective treatment for torticollis in an infant is massage. The massage therapist works with the neck muscles, causing the short muscles to grow to the correct length. This creates a good balance of the neck muscles, allowing the child to move its head in any direction, or hold it straight up.
If the treatment is started before the children are three months of age, complete repair of the body system is to be expected. Treatment consists of massage and therapeutic exercise. Several courses of professional 20-day massage are enough for full recovery of the child.
We have a list of many of the children who received massage therapy in the early intervention program who were less than one year old. Sonia, Ira, Max, Kate, Denis, and Jura were some of the children who all received complete recovery. The doctors diagnosed these children and more, who have undergone several courses of massage therapy and therapeutic exercise showing complete positive results.
Oleg (in the video above) had very tight muscles in his arms and hands. When Natalya B. began working with him, she could not move his arm in any direction or open his clenched fist.
His mother said that before, Oleg was very restless; he arched his back and shouted hysterically. Now these symptoms have disappeared. She is very happy about the big results of positive change in the health of her little son. She expects and believes that there will beeven greater progress for her child.
In our massage programs, children with diagnoses that we haven’t treated before have been added. They cannot sit up, cannot stand, and cannot do much. Even so, Natalia B. sees good prospects even for children where doctors see no hope. She achieves her goals!
Living my dream,
The year 2013 was a good year for MUCH. Your generous gifts helped us make it through a financially challenging year.
In Healthcare, we provide funding for five massage therapists to give a total of twenty therapeutic massages per day. In Education, we fund a transportation scholarship for one university student, and we fund one computer teacher. In Clothing, we provide money to buy clothes locally each month for underprivileged children in one orphanage, one school, and one transition home.
Sveta and I have been invited to participate in ministry leadership in her church, now our church. This is the church where we were married two years ago. The people are very loving and accepting of us. We will keep you informed as our ministry in the church develops.
Sveta, the MUCH team, and I, invite you to continue with us on our journey into 2014, serving the children of Ukraine. I envision that it will be a great year for the children, with God’s direction, your prayer, and financial support. Together, we are changing the future of Ukraine, child-by-child.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta