Hello family and friends,
Sveta and I are working on many projects as the summer races by. Our eight-year-old grandchild, Sonya, enjoys helping Sveta harvest the onions and green beans. I am making progress on the exterior insulation. The other morning I went to the church that we attend and help stack wood for the winter heating system. We have a circulating hot water heated floor system. The cost of gas is too high, so few years ago, the church turned to wood heating.
In last month’s newsletter, I shared some of the process of how MUCH has grown over the past fifteen years. On a more personal and spiritual level, the grassroots process is like this. I listen for the voice of God. When I am clear that it is His voice, His direction, then I do what He says.
Last year, God put three more village schools on my heart to assist with their education needs. Sveta and I investigated each school, talked with the director, and evaluated the need. We looked at the physical condition of the school, the classrooms, and the floors, to understand the governments lack of interest in the school, and the administration and teachers interest in the school.
In each of these three schools, it was clear that the teachers were investing what they could, to do the best that they could for the students. Unfortunately, the teachers don’t make enough money to make a significant contribution.
Will the next Galileo come from a Ukrainian village? Let’s invest in them and find out! This may be a three year project for each school. Fortunately, MUCH has funds to begin the project. Our first provision will be for September 1,2017. Please begin to pray for the success of these projects.
Here are some details that may help you understand the common needs that we find is each village school.
Northwest Ukraine, on the border of Poland — Migovo Village School
This is the building for the high school children. There are four or five classrooms in this building. If you walk further up the hill behind me, you will see Poland. — In this Chemistry classroom, the director of the school stands toward the front of the class.
The teacher who approached me about help for this school was very shy to talk with me. When she finally got up the courage to ask for help, she only asked for one computer, their greatest need. We talked some more, and Sveta and I agreed to visit the school the following day. We rode in an old car on dirt roads that were peppered with potholes.
When we visited the chemistry class, we learned that nothing had been updated or provided since Soviet times, at least twenty-six years ago. Two new windows and four desks were provided by the directors relative as a gift. The government has done nothing for this school.
South central Ukraine, northeast of our city of Mykolaiv — Shostakovo Village School
Between Sveta and I stands the director of the Shostakovo school. To the right of Sveta is Dasha, the first grade teacher. This school of about seventy children is a little better than Migovo. They do have a computer. The Chemistry class at this school is a big room with some technology, but no chemicals to do experiments. The gymnasium is in the “dungeon” of the school. They need sports equipment and some items as simple as jump rope. When we visited in early spring, it was very cold in the gymnasium.
I talked to the director about resurfacing the blackboards with blackboard paint. I asked if they would do a test blackboard. She looked at me with big eyes and said, “We will be happy to do it over the summer.” This school is focusing on building maintenance in the following way. At the end of last school year, the parents of each class pooled their money to buy a new door for their children’s classroom. The parents of Dasha’s first grade class of six students needed outside assistance to come up with the money for their classroom door. Dasha uses her personal computer to inspire her class.
South east central Ukraine, north of Marganets — Maximovka Village School
I first visited this school a number of years ago to talk with the children in the English class. The teacher was my translator at the time, and is now our manager in Marganets. This young woman was very aggressive about creativity for her English classes.
Dissatisfied with the English material available, Inna created her own English study book and teachers manual. Some of the teachers bring their personal computers to enhance the classroom experience.
On our last visit, I talked with the director about the education equipment needs of the school. She showed us the school, stopping in different classes in progress. It was clear that the school was not a big concern of the local government. The Chemistry class was in need of chemicals for experiments, like the other schools.
Each class on every grade level is in need of many items of education equipment and materials. It was that way with Marganets School #3 and Ternava schools that MUCH has helped in the past. This is why MUCH always has children waiting for help, whether in education or healthcare. The government is in a state of change, as is the country.
It seems that the needs are pretty much the same wherever we go. Decentralization of the government is bringing control of spending to the local government. We are seeing road repair happening, but education does not seem to be such a great need.
I see change happening in Ukraine, although it is slow. The Ukraine Economic Update – April 2017 by the World Bank shows progress of the Ukrainian economy. The article and video at the bottom are very informative.
In Chornomorsk, Dr. Natalia continues to show progress with the children providing wonderful results. Mark and I watched how the children worked at following all the instructions of the massage therapist and coach with great desire. Children want to walk and run as other children do. They want to be with other children in kindergarten and go to school. They want to draw and do everything that healthy children can do. We see a huge thirst in their eyes and they are ready to work to change their lives. But they need help and encouragement from their parents and others. Thank all of you for helping the children in an invisible way. God sees your works of mercy through MUCH.
Last month, the parents of six-year-old George, carried him to the clinic to receive massage therapy. The boy has cerebral palsy, increased spasm in the legs, and he cannot walk on his own. After a 15-day course of massage therapy, ozocerite (black wax) applications, and special physical training, the spastic action in his muscles decreased. George can now walk a short distance using both hands for support! This was the first course of massage therapy for him. Dr. Natalia sees that the boy has a positive dynamic and it is necessary to continue receiving massage therapy. Thank you Dr. Natalia for your passion to help children.
For five-year-old Ann with the diagnosis of cerebral palsy, massage therapy began in January 2016. During this time the girl received nine courses of massage therapy. To date, Ann is already confidently sitting in an Indian pose with a flat back. She is sitting on balance board that rocks from side to side. You can see the difficulty for her to stay sitting upright. Day by day, Ann is painfully making progress.
She grasps objects very well with her right hand, but her left hand does not open so well yet. Ann has decreased the tone of tense muscles and her speech significantly improved. In this picture her task is to raise the bar with both hands to the level that Valya requests. The exercise program that parallels the massage therapy and other treatments is one big key to Ann’s progress.
Do you remember when your child began to crawl? The natural process begins at about seven months old. This is not the case for many of the children that we work with. Ann is five-years-old and must be taught the process. Valya is breaking down the activity into steps. Put this hand here first, then move this knee here.
Thank you sponsors for helping make this treatment possible for Ann! Parents are deeply grateful that their children have the opportunity to receive a massage therapy!
Living my dream,
One of our massage therapists may retire in the near future. We ask for your prayers for provision of her replacement.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta
You can see all of our videos at our YouTube channel.