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Hello family and friends,

This year our Christmas fundraiser will help support the needs of two special children and the women who care for them. Our goal is to raise $7,000 to help these two families, and to support the MUCH massage therapy program.

Sveta’s Journey

Alyona is the most courageous woman that I have met. Twelve years ago, she gave birth to a baby boy, Dennis. During the birthing process, the doctor made a mistake. The result was that Dennis had severe damage to his brain and nervous system.

Eleven years ago, Alyona found Tanya, our MUCH massage therapist, and Dennis began receiving treatment. During one of his treatments, Mark and I visited Dennis and Alyona. Although I had seen other children with a similar vegetative state, seeing Dennis for the first time was a shock, and broke Mark’s and my heart.

Alyona has been struggling with many things. She has been raising Dennis with her own strength through her faith in God. Dennis is now 12 years old. We have always seen Alyona’s great love for her son. All of these years, Alyona has been sleeping close to Dennis to warm his slender body. In that time, she has seen two particular forms of progress from massage therapy that have improved the quality of life for Dennis. He sleeps better at night and massage treatments greatly reduced the spastic contractions of his muscles.

Alyona’s husband did not want Dennis, and did not care for Alyona. Mark and I could see the negative effect on Alyona’s life, draining her emotional stamina. I offered to give Alyona a ten-day massage. We talked while my massage did its work. This was the beginning of new energy and new hope for Alyona and Dennis.

Alyona tried to heal the straining relationship between her and her husband. After ten years of raising Dennis with minimal change or progress, Alyona wanted to give her husband a second child. She gave birth to a healthy boy, Kolya. This seemed to create some unity in their family. Two years later, Alyona became pregnant once again. Her husband’s response to this news was a surprise. He told Alyona to either abort the child or leave his flat. In soviet times, abortion was the accepted form of birth control. The Soviet Experiment and its communist theories had fallen apart thirty years ago. Things are different now. Alyona chose life, once again!

Alyona’s parents worked very hard all of their lives. They built a house in the village with their own hands, working every night after a full days work. That kind of life can send you to an early grave here in Ukraine. And it did. Her parents died young, leaving this house and property to Alyona. Without a car, without enough money, and without any relatives to support her, life in Ukraine is a great challenge for her. With the gift of this house, came the corrupt abuse of the gas company, charging her false fees for the time that no one was living at her parents house.

In spite of all of these adversities, Alyona moved to the home that her parents left for her. She found a way to move her children and their things, beginning a new life with God as their foundation. She came to realize certain needs for repair in the house. I was happy to hear that the house has indoor plumbing. Her neighbor was very kind. He installed a faucet in the kitchen and connected the wash machine to the water supply. He did these things without requiring money for his services.

Alyona imagined an area in the yard where her two-year-old, Kolya could play. She created a play area with a sandbox. She found a swing for a few dollars and installed it. Her ideas are without limit, but her finances are limited. She receives disability money from the government for Dennis, and they also provide diapers every month. (The government usually provides less than is needed.) Alyona receives a monthly maternity package that will end when Kolya becomes three years old. She is working on divorce and child support law suits. Alyona rents one of the rooms in her house to an elderly woman for some additional income.

Alyona is due to give birth to her daughter in February. That will cost $700. With the money that she receives from the government and the woman who rents from her, Alyona can pay only about three quarters of one months utilities, much less have money for food or other basic needs. This year the cost of home heating gas almost tripled from the cost last year.

Our goal is to provide enough money to pay off Alyona’s utility debt, pay for her birthing costs, and provide heat for her family through the winter.

Let’s work together to make this Christmas a great beginning for Alyona and her children!

The November Newsletter will tell the story of a second child and her grandmother. Stay tuned!

Blessings of love and healing,

Mark and Sveta

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