Hello family and friends,
January brought good news from both Dobromel and Froonza. Thanks to your contributions to the Christmas Fundraiser, we are already seeing progress. Our masseuse in Dobromel, Natasha, also has education in exercise training. She combines exercise that is directly related to the massage approach that she is using for the specific diagnosis. She sent her report about the four children, ages 11 to 14. After the twenty-day treatments, each child displayed obvious change for the better. Each child has a different diagnosis, resulting in different results. With that in mind, some of the results are: improved breathing, skin tone, temperament, balance, strengthened muscles, more energy, and overall more pleasant personality.
In Froonza, our masseur, Slavik, continues to work with a fourteen-year-old. I am very excited to hear that early intervention is a natural occurrence in this little village. His other three patients in January were ages three-and- four- years old. As I wrote about our Early Intervention Program in Illichevsk in last year’s newsletters, I explained that the earlier that we begin to correct the problem, the better the results will be. Children under the age of five-years-old are at the age where their physical and neurological development is still in early stages and is more easily adapted to change. This is happening in Froonza. I am pleased to report that the massage program is running strong in 2012, but only because of your financial support. Thank you.
The other day, Sveta, Ira and I met with Dr. Natalya to video one of her new MUCH patients. She is four years old. When I heard why this precious child was afflicted with Cerebral Palsy, I couldn’t believe my ears. Her mother was in the maternity home where mothers wait to give birth when her time arrived. In the process, the baby’s head did not push through the birth canal, but seemingly became lodged. The doctor chose to use birthing forceps. The doctor crushed this helpless child’s skull, causing severe damage to her brain. At four years old, she is unable to hold her head upright; she has no functional use of her arms or legs, and is severely mentally retarded.
Dr. Natalya had previously treated this child when she worked in Odessa. When her mother learned that Dr. Natalya had a clinic in Illichevsk, she searched for her via internet and local organizations. I see hope for this child, but I believe in miracles of all kinds and sizes. I don’t know what her future will be, but she is in good hands with Dr. Natalya. It is only by the support of MUCH that this wonderful doctor can afford to give up time from regular paying patients.
During the past seven years, I have seen progress for children like this child. The amount of progress varies depending on the commitment of the parents to bring their child for treatments and to work with their child between treatments. These parents seem to have great love for their child. Sveta and I saw a warm love in their faces while they interacted with her, their first child.
My memory takes me back to the orphanage of Dobromel. I am reminded of two beautiful children- boys, 14 years and 11 years of age. When I first saw M., my heart was broken. I have seen such children only in films about the war, children who, during the Great Patriotic War (WW II), were under siege in Leningrad. This boy, as you can see, is all skin and bones. The diagnosis of his condition – muscular dystrophy, rickets, and scoliosis. The boy gets tired very quickly; even with little physical effort, he has a shortness of breath. With muscular dystrophy, if you do not take appropriate measures, the condition will progress and manifest muscle weakness and degeneration of the muscles. The presence of this condition causes a delay in psychomotor and intellectual development.
So, one of the needed treatments to help this child is massage, to alter the deformity of the spine, strengthening the back muscles and improving his psycho-emotional state. When I gave him massage in October, it was difficult because he has very little muscle mass, convex chest, strong curvature of the spine, and the fact that he does not speak much. M. only looks with his trusting eyes and smiles.
I gave him a twenty-day massage. Approximately seven days before the end of the course, he hugged me, and laid his head on my shoulder. It was so touching and unexpected. I think he always wanted to hold me close, but hesitated because of his age. The rest of the days, M. hugged me with great confidence and love, looking into my eyes.
It is very difficult and uncomfortable for M. to lay on his back or stomach. After the twenty-day massage, his breathing improved some, along with his overall health. Of course, M. needs massage on a regular basis to maintain and improve these results. Because of his age, he is fighting an uphill battle. We want to fight by his side.
The second boy is Mar. He is a very affectionate and friendly child. His face dotted with freckles, he looks at the world with trusting grey eyes. Mar is always smiling, and he seems very happy. When I learned the fate of this child, again my heart throbbed with pain. His mother died a few years ago; he never knew his father. Mar has a very elderly grandmother, and she only takes him to visit with her for two weeks, twice a year.
Doctors diagnosed him: sunken chest, scoliosis. Severe depression of the chest leads to cardiac and respiratory malfunctions. His muscles are weak, and he has a lethargic posture. Massage and exercise will help strengthen his muscles, improve blood circulation and lymph flow, increasing his metabolism. For the treatment of this deformity, he would need surgery. Unfortunately, the operation is not realistic for this child. It is questionable whether the government would pay for this expensive operation.
Mar received massage for 10 days. Even small results please me. The child improved breathing, and shortness of breath disappeared during exercise. Who has to take care of him? The state takes care of the child in the face of education and a place to live. Who will think about him more than only to teach him to read and write? Who will care for him more than to dress and feed him?
In January, Natasha began to give massage to the children in the Dobromel Orphanage and is already seeing results. Natasha watches the fruits of her labor, and her enthusiasm is growing. She has initiative, and is not only doing the work of massage, but she provides a complex program of exercise to correspond with the massage for each child. For example, she uses medicinal aromatic oil massage, therapeutic exercise, and unique exercises on a large ball. She motivates children to receive massage and talks about the benefits of this treatment to enhance their emotional mood, because children do not always understand the importance of massage.
These are real children. They exist; they live in an orphanage/boarding school, and are in great need of medical massage. I cannot express in words the status quo in the lives of these children. I believe that when you see these pictures and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, He will affect your heartstrings, and these children will become even closer to you. They are already a part of your heart, you provide finances, you pray, and you open yourself up to them. Without your participation and support of this ministry, we could not do this great work. Thank you so much! May I ask once again? Will you pray for our children? Their need is great.
Living my dream,
In January, I wrote about a second village program, waiting in the wings. I will tell you more about that in the March newsletter. Also, little Miss D, one of our Illichevsk massage patients, has a story worth telling. Sveta and I will be traveling to Marganets and Froonza in the end of March, so be ready for new and exciting stories from Sveta and me in the April newsletter. We thank you for all of your help to change lives here in Ukraine.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta