Hello family and friends,
June has been a hot one in our area this year. Water pressure is low because everyone is watering their gardens, particularly on the weekends. Our pea crop is harvested, the tomatoes are coming along, and the cucumbers are ready to climb the trellis. Everything else continues to grow! A couple of goats jumped the fence the other night, but the damage was minimal. We have very much work to do this summer. Things are looking up here on the home front.
The war between Russia and Ukraine continues with new directions.“Moscow has brought to bear different kinds of weapons, according to American and European officials: money, ideology and disinformation.” Read more here.
Many countries are now taking measures to protect themselves and their neighbors from what they fear the future will bring. “In May, Lithuania joined Latvia and Estonia in announcing they were seeking a permanent NATO presence on their soil to counter increased Russian military action.” Here is the rest of the story.
It seems to me that this war between Russian and Ukraine, labelled as a Ukrainian civil war, does not follow the rule of the Geneva Convention or the International Committee of the Red Cross. One Ukrainian pastor told us that a man who traveled with him to the war zone on a regular basis traveled by himself one week. He was stopped by Pro-Russian forces, was beaten, and held for ten days before being allowed to return to his city. In other areas, pastors aiding the soldiers in the war zones are being targeted as the enemy. Their spiritual influence, provision of hope, and encouragement are feared by the Pro-Russian forces.
“The Russian Federation’s Regulations on the Application of IHL (2001) states: “persons protected by international humanitarian law include … medical and religious personnel … Attacks against such persons are prohibited.”” All of the rules and regulations are here.
Is there any good news from Ukraine?
You bet there is! While Sveta and I were in Marganets in May, we visited school #3. MUCH provided uniforms for the volleyball and basketball teams. The teacher in the picture was extremely grateful to MUCH for new balls, nets, and gymnastic mats that replaced old ones which were falling apart after years of use.
The big story took place as Sveta and I were taking a walk. As we turned the corner, we saw three of the girls from the English class that we visited at school #3. As we talked, we learned that the girls were living in a good foster home. They had been in the Transition Home that MUCH sponsors and were placed in a nice home. The girls continued to tell us that eight other foster children lived with them. To provide accommodations for all of these children, the foster couple sold their small house and bought a bigger one. That is an action of commitment!
Our last journey in May was to Dobromel. We also visited the village of Ternava which is two-and-a-half miles from there. Here is another picture of the intense interest that the children at the village school have in computers. MUCH has touched their future by providing these computers.
In the small gymnasium, the children are lined up in front of the new volleyball net to show all of the wonderful sports and exercise equipment that MUCH provided. It is truly amazing how this village school provided a good education without the tools needed. Thanks to the wonderful sponsors of MUCH, the educational programs at the Ternava village school are improving.
At the Dobromel orphanage, bicycles are the newest therapeutic tool. The children are developing balance, spacial relations, physical strength, and respiratory endurance. I’m sure there are more benefits. The children are having a great time. They may or may not understand the therapy involved.
Sveta spoke with the director of the orphanage today. He asked if it would be possible for MUCH to provide some bicycles for the smaller children next year. He is very pleased with the therapeutic results of the older children. He understands that the younger children will have greater benefits. This is because their nervous systems are still developing and are more receptive to change. With your support and the MUCH Board’s approval, children from ages six through twelve will be riding their way to better therapy next year.
I especially love our trips to the orphanage in Dobromel. The children there are special to me. This picture is of the younger children’s speech therapy group. Some children can not speak.Teachers and speech therapists work with them. As a result, some of the children are now able to speak syllables or words. Every child works at his or her own level, as they struggle to communicate with words.
On our May visit, the teachers were demonstrating their programs for the director. The speech therapy group of children gave a performance using their limited communication skills. It was interesting to watch as they tried to follow the instructions of the teacher.
Natasha coordinates her massage therapy treatments with the speech therapist’s classroom goals,which achieves great results. Two boys who came to the orphanage last year and did not speak at the time, now speak some words and can construct simple sentences. This is great progress!
There are ten true orphans at the Dobromel Orphanage. They will spend ten days with American families this summer. This first-time program will be part of their summer program, but the big hope is that they will be adopted while in America.
They already know about this. I noticed a big change in some of those children as they were preparing for their big adventure. They have changed, becoming more mature and serious. This was especially pronounced in three children. I think that the idea of going to America gives them hope that maybe someone will love them and take them into their family. I pray that their dreams and wishes come true. May the Lord bless each child with a new family. (Two of the boys in this picture and one from the speech therapy group picture will go to America).
Each time that Mark and I visit the children at the orphanage, we take pictures of them that they receive on the following visit. The children love to get pictures of themselves and their classmates.
The children say, “We received new pictures again! We have our albums and we keep our pictures clean and safe!”
Once again, thank you all very much for your support and assistance for our children in need!
The children receive solutions of many problems through your compassion that is expressed in financial gifts and prayer. The teachers, computer class teachers, massage therapists, and parents whose children must live at the orphanage for various reasons, (poverty and dysfunctional family ties) are very grateful to all of you!
Living my dream,
Summer is the hardest time for many of the children. They may go to camp for the summer, but most of the children at the Dobromel Orphanage must spend the summers with their dysfunctional families. The children who have no relatives and are truly orphans will be in America for ten days, and the rest of the time they will be at camp. Please pray for them that their summer may be safe and pleasant. Thanks to all of you for your participation in my work with the children for the past thirteen years.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta