Hello family and friends,
I wish for each of you a blessed Easter, Passover, or holy day in which you participate. As we celebrate hope, we see how God is blessing the children.
In my last Newsletter, I wrote that spring was here but I was expecting one last, late snow. It has been quite cold lately, although, I had to go to Dobromel, NW Ukraine to experience that last snow of the season. In the low 40’s F here in Illichevsk, people are still wearing their scarves and winter coats. Even so, they are all out in their gardens getting the soil turned and ready to plant.
Nestled in the Carpathian Mountains, the quiet little town of Dobromel is located only five miles from the border of Poland, it is surrounded by farmland, true to the Ukrainian agricultural way of life. Dobromel is quite a distance from Illichevsk, where I live, requiring a forty-minute bus to Odessa, a twelve-hour train to L’vov, a two-hour bus to Truskavyets, a fifteen-minute bus to Borislav, where I stay with Pastor Volodya, and on Saturday, a two-hour car ride to Dobromel Orphanage. That is a lot of travel time to spend only a few hours with the children and to have a meeting with the director. It is well worth the time; if I could not hear and see it all first -hand when I visit the children, view the improvements, talk with the director, and experience life at this orphanage, I could not fully understand their situation. It is really all about building relationships.
I have been writing about the future massage program for the children at Dobromel Orphanage in the last two newsletters. To my surprise, the director, Mikola, has been busy preparing for a massage program, so much so, that he now has an exercise specialist, trained in massage, on his staff in a limited capacity. After our meeting, there was no question in my mind that Mikola wants MUCH to begin the massage demonstration project in September, with my fiancée, Sveta, providing massage for four of the children. He is very anxious to see results, anxious enough to send Natasha, the exercise specialist, to Illichevsk to observe our two masseuses at the clinic. Natasha will observe massage treatment at our clinic here in Illichevsk in August, with children similar to the children at the orphanage. She will observe massage treatment by Sveta in September with the children at the Dobromel Orphanage. When God opens a door, He opens a door!
Someone has said, “Our lives are filled with challenges and obstacles, but everyone’s life is also filled with abundant blessings. There is only one very important thing – it is to see those blessings.” Working for some years for MUCH, I have come across many people whose children are seriously disabled. For me, most of those parents are great examples of courage and real love that shows despair in none of their life situations.
Last Saturday, there was a meeting of such mothers and Mark. We talked about expanding the massage program in a second location in Illichevsk.
Last year MUCH tried this program, but for management reasons, MUCH stopped it in autumn 2010. I remember how many calls with different questions I got from the mothers at that time: “Why? When will it be started again? Do we have any hope?” All of those questions touched me very much because every mother or grandmother tried to tell me, in detail, stories about the progress that their children had with this masseuse. Some weeks later, this group of mothers arranged the meeting with Mark as a representative of MUCH, and then they wrote a letter of their hope to the MUCH Board of Directors, asking to start that massage program again.
A couple of months passed and last Saturday the meeting with this group of mothers happened again. The mothers read a letter-agreement written by MUCH to them. The letter gives only one condition for the parents whose children will benefit from the massage therapy – to supervise the schedule of massage. MUCH wants to see regular massage treatments for these children with serious disabilities.
For me it was a great delight to see mothers whose dream had come true. The expression of their faces told everything – their eyes shone with happiness. It was a real answer, a real blessing, because they had been waiting for the renewing of this program for many months. The third masseuse, Natalya Borisovna, was the first masseuse in the MUCH Massage Clinic in Illichevsk. Very often, I call her the pioneer of this program.
For reasons of her own, she gave up the original job of masseuse at the MUCH Massage Clinic. When she chose to leave, she continued to work in different cities and places with children suffering with serious illness or disabilities.
My hope has always been and is for Natalya Borisovna to work on the team of MUCH. This woman has an open heart, wonderful hands, and great experience in massage work. I have a great hope to see great results of her work soon.
Until next time,
I never imagined that my life would be focused on helping children with disabilities, particularly in a foreign country. Although this country becomes less foreign to me every day, it may remain foreign to you. We want to help you understand the culture, the people, and the children of Ukraine. As always, thank you for your interest in our children, God’s secret gifts from above.
Blessings of love and healing,