Hello family and friends,
June brings the heat of North Carolina along with the cold of air conditioning, both extremes that Sveta and I are not accustomed to. The kindness of the southern culture and the generosity of family and Mom’s friends balances everything out very nicely.
As you know, Mom had a stroke on Easter day. She has been going through the challenges of recovery and rehabilitation. Sveta and I arrived in Greensboro, NC on the 26 of May to help care for Mom in any way that we could. Being at the hospital almost every day, Sveta and I are learning many things about American healthcare that we compare directly to what we know in Ukraine.
Sveta has experience as a commercial cleaner. Talking with the women of the housekeeping staff at the hospital, they compared their tools. In Ukraine, Sveta used a wooden broom handle with a 4 by 10 by 3/4 inch piece of wood attached to the bottom, for a mop. With a bucket of water, she rinsed a rag that is about two foot square and draped it over the mop bottom and began to wipe the floor. She used this rag until it was worthless.
The woman cleaning the hospital rooms used a very clean long handled swivel mop with a disposable sanitized cloth. As Sveta watched in amazement, the woman cleaned the floor in Mom’s room and the bathroom, and then threw the cloth away. Sveta was shocked.
Another surprise was when the woman removed her sanitary gloves after finishing, and threw them away. Sveta told the woman that she was given one pair of gloves per month. Now it was the woman’s turn to be shocked.
In some instances, we in Ukraine, live like the modern world of 2014 with flat screen TVs, computers, washing machines and microwaves. In other situations, the mentality of Ukraine has been behind by about a century. Corruption has ruled Ukraine since 1991 when the Iron Curtain fell. Ninety percent of the population of Ukraine have lived the simplest lifestyle, with many still using outhouse toilets, and limited indoor plumbing and electric.
Does it help you to see maps to better understand what is happening in the Ukrainian crisis? Click here to see Ukraine Crisis in Maps. As the crisis goes on, cease-fire talks continue. The speed that news travels through the internet today helps people everywhere keep up with what is really happening. Since the occupation of Crimea, Putin has admitted that Russian people, troops or KGB, were in Crimea before the referendum. Now, it looks like tanks have rolled in from Russia to the Donetsk region. Can we believe anything Putin has said? It looks like it is time for some very serious sanctions. What do you think should be done? The Domino Theory is more that 60 years old, but remains very applicable to Ukraine and western Europe.
I found this article about Crimea to be very interesting. One of the Kremlin’s dreams about Crimea has to do with tourism. Unfortunately, the Kremlin wants their people to think they have access to the best vacation spots in the world right in Russia. For the past 23 years, the people of Russia have been free to travel to other countries and see what has been happening in the world outside of the soviet lifestyle. Vacationing in other countries like Greece, Italy, and Egypt, Russians see there are much nicer beaches and vacation spots than in Russia. This really opened my eyes to the big differences that freedom makes.
Sveta has a unique point of view as she watches her country from a distance and experiences, once again, culture shock. She always sees things with bigger eyes than I do.
I recently read a story about John Paton, one of the most famous missionaries in the world. From Scotland, he went to the distant islands of the New Hebrides in the South Pacific, where he worked for many years of his life. He lived among cannibals in barbaric conditions and showed them Christian charity.
After reading this book I thought about Mark and myself, and our work in Ukraine. We are not exposed to danger; we live in a civilized society. As I continued to ponder the background of this missionary, our work seemed so small. Is it important to help children, providing massage therapy and visiting children in orphanages? I thought, “We cannot compare our small contribution to the work of other great missionaries. If God has entrusted Mark and me to do this work, it is important to God, and it is necessary for children, so it should be important in our eyes also.” Thinking about our mission, I decided that Mark and I are in the right place, doing the right thing. The American people are participating in this work showing Christian charity.
The Bible says that our lives are like a vapor. “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14 NIV) With each passing year I realize more and more how to decrease my desires about myself and increase the desire to focus on others, especially to be caring for children who need help, love and understanding.
In the Dobromel orphanage, there is a nine years old boy, Alex, who is diagnosed with mild mental retardation. His physical development for a child of his age is appropriate, but he is inattentive, learns slowly, and is poorly oriented in space and time. Alex has an insufficient view of the world; he is not very inquisitive and can not pay attention to certain subjects for a long time. His disability may prohibit him from developing abilities common to children of his age; on the other hand his lovely character trait is very kind, sociable, and he loves to help other children. After the 20-day course of massage, Alex has improved speech, his posture has become straighter, and of course, massage has a positive impact on all organs and systems in his body.
Alex comes from a family of eight children. In spite of the difficult conditions of his family, his mother visited him often and sometimes took him home on the weekends. This past autumn, Alex’s family- home burned down due to unknown reasons. Relatives of his family are giving them a place to live. For this reason, Alex will spend the summer at camps with the children of the orphanage who have no family, instead of with his own family.
Eleven-year-old Masha has the same diagnosis. During her stay in the Dobromel orphanage, her father never visited her,uninterested in her education or health; he did not even call her on the phone. Masha’s motheris disabled and is being treated in a psychiatric hospital. She is not able to take care of her daughter.
Massage treatment is an excellent method that brings great results for children! Masha has improved articulation, decreased aggression, and is more communicative and open.
Stress, anxiety, depression, inattention of their parents and many other reasons are the cause of mental and emotional illnesses for many children. During the course of massage treatment between the massage therapist and the child, a warm and trusting relationship develops. This relationship, to some extent, replaces the lack of attention that the child did not receive from the parent or parents. The child begins to share his/her inner feelings and secrets with the massage therapist, and he/she finds understanding, compassion and love. Some of the benefits of massage therapy are: calming effects, improvement of the emotional state of the child, and the development of normal sleeping patterns.
When we read the reports about the results from the massage therapists, Mark and I receive a big joy about these children. When we visit the Dobromel orphanage and see wonderful changes in many of the children, it brings great satisfaction to Mark and me about our mission.
Our mission impacts the children in many ways. We can have a very positive impact on the spiritual lives of children when we tell them about the love of Jesus. They experience changes in their physical bodies through massage treatment. Their emotion changes and their self images improve through the purchase of beautiful clothes. I believe that the memories of the people who bring the love of Jesus Christ in the children’s lives will accompany and support their dreams for the future and shape their desires for today.
Living my dream,
MUCH has a great team, both in Ukraine and in America, that continues to serve the children while Sveta and I travel to America for fundraising or travel to the different cities where the children of Ukraine live.
Sveta brings massage to Mom, who is now back from the rehabilitation hospital, living in her home. The ripple effect of MUCH touches people, like Mom, that we don’t expect, in ways that surprise us. Mom will continue to receive Sveta’s massage Therapy. Insurance will provide Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy from in-home therapists. I met Sveta through MUCH, and because of her work with massage, Mom has received relief from pain in the hospital, and will receive unknown benefits from future massage treatments at home while we are in America.
God blesses each of us in ways that surprise us and change our lives forever. As we sow seeds of love, we reap God’s blessings in many ways. Help MUCH sow love into the lives of the children in Ukraine. We thank you for reading our newsletter and for your continued interest and support of our children in Ukraine.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta