Hello family and friends,
It is 37F as I write this letter, but the sun is shining and the wind is blowing the clothes dry. It is time to start the tomatoes inside, prepare the land outside, and think spring. Sveta is chomping at the bit, so to speak.
In Sveta’s Journey, she shares our first picture result from the Christmas Fundraiser!
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Sveta and I haven’t written much about our church life in the newsletter. Here is a brief explanation of our ministries in our church. Two years ago, the pastor of the church where we were married asked us if we wanted to be members. We had attended Sunday services for about four months. We accepted his invitation joyfully. In the same meeting, he asked if we were interested in any particular ministry. We said that we would like to begin a healing ministry. He thoughtfully said, “We will go forward step by step.” Now, each Sunday while the worship portion of the service continues, we have a few chairs in the back of the church where people may come for prayer for healing. Our team has grown from two to eight.
Within six months of attending the pastors home group, Sveta and I asked permission to begin a home group of our own. We live on the edge of the city where there are a number of people from our church. Quickly, our home group grew and one of the members was ready to lead a group of her own. While we were in America, four more home groups began. The need was evident. It seemed that the church was waiting for an example.
The people in our home group now attend other local home groups, leaving Sveta and I to meet another need in the church. We have discussed using our home group setting for teaching new and spiritually young Christians the foundation beliefs of the faith with the pastor. He has approved this and we will begin in March.
Our church is interested in the work that MUCH does and is interested in participating. In our city of almost 500,000 people, there are a number of orphanages. Our church has visited some of them and wants to expand their connection with the children. We will see what new opportunities develop in the future
In October 2011, Mark sent me to Dobromel, northwestern Ukraine, to give a twenty-day massage therapy demonstration. He was confident that there would be results within twenty days, but to tell you the truth, I was not. It was a very difficult time for me, but in the end of the twenty days, I did see results. I will share about some of the children who continue to benefit from massage therapy and the exercise items that you provided through the Christmas Fundraiser.
I will tell you stories of two of the boys in this picture. Sasha, on the far right, came from a Baby House a number of years ago. (A Baby House is an ill managed facility where the system maintains life for infants and preschool children who are without family.) He was quite wild when he first arrived at the Dobromel Orphanage. In social settings he was unable to interact calmly with other children. In the classroom, he sat on the window sill, looking out the window. After a number of massage therapy treatments, Sasha became calm, sat at his desk in the classroom, and became more sociable with the children.
Igor, second from the left in the same picture, was new to the orphanage last year. Mark and I watched him in a classroom setting. He demanded attention, acting out while the teacher was instructing the class.
Paul, our second massage therapist, connected with Igor through the massage therapy treatment. Paul has a great personality and interacts well with the children. Now, Igor is doing much better in the classroom.
His interaction with the children has improved, also.
I wish that you could be a ‘fly on the wall’ to see first hand the big changes in the children that I see when we visit the Dobromel Orphanage. Thank you so much for your contributions to the Christmas Fundraiser. You can see in this picture the items that Natalya, our first massage therapist, bought with your financial gifts. She compliments her massage therapy treatments with exercise, using different instruments to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the children. They send you a Big Thank You!
Living my dream,
We are seeing big changes in the children as each year goes by. Sveta and I, and all of the MUCH team thank you for reading our newsletter and participating in our work through financial support, prayer, encouraging letters or Emails, and sharing about our journey with your friends.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta