Hello family and friends,
It is Leap Year! We on the MUCH team will be leaping with joy, praying for a year of many improvements, new sponsors, and new doors of ministry opening for the children. When I moved to Ukraine ten years ago, my world became much bigger. I had become a traveler, finding that there are children everywhere that I go who are in need of help. In the June Newsletter, I wrote about a missionary couple in Nikolayev, Sveta’s hometown, and a short-term mission team from Florida who was interested in helping children in the orphanages.
It seemed that the doors had closed, although another meeting with Dan and Mary Ellen, the missionary couple, blossomed into another possibility. They told us about a Pastor who was ministering to the needs of a small (ten beds) transition home west of Nikolayev in the village of Berizanka. In December, the Pastor, his wife and daughter, a translator, Sveta and I, visited Berizanka. We met the children and the Director. The Pastor’s team told the Christmas story, sang songs with the children, and I talked with the children. Afterwards, I had an impromptu meeting with the Director and learned the awful truths about these children and the children of the village. I was told that there are 100 children who need to be removed from their homes and processed to the orphanages through this little transition home.
When a child enters the government system, on the way to an orphanage, or enters life in an orphanage, he or she becomes a non-person. In this case, the transition home receives very little financial help. When Sveta and I were there, they had no medical supplies at all. Many times the children are taken from lice infected homes, or are removed from their homes because of neglect or abuse. The transition home needs medical supplies for these situations and for daily child-care. I have shared this new potential ministry with my board of directors, but in the interim, Sveta and I acted on this immediate need from our own pockets, providing $63 for the basic medical supplies, which covers a variety of items.
The next problem occurs when the children need to go to the hospital. They are non-persons, so they must pay money to be seen and treated. That cost is $38. Now, the medical system is supposed to be free, a government run socialist-type system. However, we are talking about a post-Soviet emerging country that, after twenty years of freedom, is still learning how to treat its people with respect and value. Sveta’s and my desire is to create a savings account within our ministry for these children’s needs for hospital visits and for keeping the first aid medical box full.
The last time, Mark wrote about a girl who will now be a new patient of our masseuse. Mark was very unhappy to hear of the core poor performance of doctors who have caused injury to this child at birth by their careless actions.
This child, Ya, has wonderful loving parents, and she could have been a wonderful healthy baby. Now, the situation is that the child needs constant care and concern because she is disabled. This child cannot sit, cannot stand, and, of course, cannot walk. She cannot hold her head upright long (literally, she holds her head for 2-3 seconds and then her head falls to her chest). In order to alleviate the plight of this child, a special chair and stroller are required.
Parents give a lot of time to this child: mother and daughter go to a sanatorium in another city, medication is needed, various procedures are necessary, they visit the Center for Children with Disabilities, and she receives a twenty-day massage.
Now, Ya receives a twenty-day-massage with our highly qualified massage therapist. Dr. Natalia has two goals at this time: one is to relax the muscles that are in a very elevated tone in order to reduce the frequently occurring spastic reaction, and the other goal is for the child to be able to hold her head upright for longer periods. Even these small results will be a big help for the child. We must trust in God; only He can perform a miracle for this child.
A girl, whom we will refer to as Mi, is 9 years old and lives in an orphanage/boarding school in the city of Dobromel. She has scoliosis of the upper spine. In addition to scoliosis, Mi is mentally challenged. Mi comes from a family of six children; one of the children died during childbirth. Her family lives in poor physical condition that adversely affects the parents and children, respectively.
In such families, the parents usually do not pay attention to the emotional and physical conditions of children; there is no interaction between the parents and the children. The main task of parents is to feed and clothe their children. They are not interested in the inner world of the child; the child does not feel the love and emotional support that he or she needs to grow and flourish.
Mi often complained of pain in her spine, although, after the twenty-day massage, her condition has improved significantly. Her back pain disappeared, and her psycho-emotional condition improved.
We will refer to this girl as Da. This 12-year-old is also in the orphanage/boarding school. Da also is mentally challenged. She received a twenty-day-massage. Upon completion of the massage, the girl surprised the therapist with her reaction. She was a little aggressive, crying, and asked to continue to give her a massage. (Any negative behavior is a cry for help.) A few days later, the therapist understood the reason for this extraordinary behavior. All the time that Da was getting a massage, she also experienced much attention, care, and human touch. She probably never before in her life experienced so many manifestations of attention to her person. The girl wanted to continue.
Massage is a great help for the children who are in the orphanage/boarding schools, help on a physical level and also in assisting the psycho-emotional level.
I believe that after reading this letter, you will see the great need for massage in many children. I’m expanding the boundaries of my knowledge of massage and am more and more amazed at how great the beneficial effects of massage are on the human body.
Thank you that you are supporting these children expressing your love for them in practice (in your prayers and financial support). What is the most important thing in the world? I think you all know the answer – love. Love is more important than anything.
Grace to you and peace and love be multiplied (Jude 1:2).
Living my dream,
As we march into spring, we look to God to open the hearts of our readers to seek His direction in sharing His provisions. The children of Ukraine can be a liability, or, with some help, they can be an asset for their community, region, or even their country. MUCH continues to walk through the doors that are opened before us. Won’t you join us in this great adventure? Thank you for reading. Please continue to pray for our children.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta