Hello family and friends,
SHE SAID YES!!!
Svetlana and I were married on November 12, 2011, at her church in Nikolayev, Ukraine.
My brother Tim and his wife Sonya came from America to share this special event in our lives. Svetlana’s church family did all of the preparations and provided a reception with music, skits, games, and more food than you could possibly imagine.
October was an exciting month for Svetlana and me. I met her at the midpoint of her massage demonstration at the Dobromel Orphanage for children with physical and mental disabilities. Dobromel, nestled in the Carpathian Mountains, is a poor community; the streets are filled with potholes and the sidewalks are in poor repair. Few buildings are higher than two stories, and many are showing the effects of time. Even so, the pride of the people is evident in some buildings that are painted with very cheerful colors. Life in Dobromel is a challenge, although, life for the Ukrainian people has always been a challenge.
This newsletter will focus on Svetlana’s experience giving massage to some of the 119 children who live most of their lives in the institution. As you read Svetlana’s story, please reflect on love portrayed so deeply during the Christmas Season. Many of these children have not experienced the warmth of love ever in their young lives. Please consider sharing a bit of your love with them.
For one month (two weeks alone and two weeks with Mark), I was in the special boarding school/orphanage of Dobromel in Western Ukraine. This facility of 50 years provides room, board, and education for 119 children. The children have deviations and delays in physical and mental development.
Eleven of them have no parents — orphans — the rest have parents, but many of them use alcohol or drugs, struggling with their poverty. They don’t want the responsibility for their children. Many parents are unable to provide good home care for their children. Many children are from large families with many brothers and sisters. One family has eight children, and they all live and study in this school.
Wonderful people work here and care about the fate of the children. They invest in these children, teaching them many good skills and knowledge; they take into account the characteristics of the children, and give each child individual attention. These people have an enormous responsibility and important role – to love, teach, educate, and shape the personality of each child. It is very hard work, because the children have physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities. Some children need to learn elementary activities – activities of daily living.
Thus, the purpose of my stay at the boarding school was to reveal the positive and tremendous impact of massage on the body of the child and to manifest the healing power of the Holy Spirit through me. When I started to massage children, I did not have full confidence that in such a short period I would see some results. However, the therapeutic effects of massage manifested themselves. In this step, I thank the Lord, because all good things come from Him. My faith is growing. Let us pray the prayer of faith, and we can be confident that God will answer.
Within 20 days, I gave massage to 18 children. Three children received a 20 day massage, 8 children received a 10 day massage, 1 child received a 4 day massage, 1 child received a 6 day massage, 4 children received a 5 day massage, and 1 child received a 13 day massage. Briefly, I will describe some of the results, which not only I saw, but also employees of the institution. Other treatment results will be in the December newsletter.
Roma, an eight-year-old boy, has very poorly developed speech. He received a 10-day treatment of head, face, neck, and back massage. Massage of the face and neck area had a relaxing effect on facial muscles and improved articulation. The Speech Therapist who worked with Roma for two years was desperate for results, having none. She told me, “After the boy started to receive massage, he began to pronounce voiced and unvoiced consonants, and his speech improved”. In that, she sees the therapeutic effects of massage. Of course, I realize how much this speech therapist worked for two years, but without results. After the 10-day massage treatment, I did not notice any results, but the therapist did. The work of ongoing speech therapy plus specific massage brought results! Thank God! I believe that Jesus Christ will continue to bless the children and give them healing through massage.
A fourteen-year-old girl, Ivanna, has poor circulation in her fingers (causing a violet color), stiffness when walking, and dry skin. She has so much distortion and deformation of the spine that Ivanna now wears a plastic corset that she does not remove even during sleep. The girl received a back, neck area, and chest massage, treatment position, and spinal traction. After the massage, Ivanna became more relaxed, lost tension in movements, muscle tone moved toward normal, and recovered water balance in the skin. Praise the Lord!
Even such small results brought me joy. My heart is filled with a great desire to continue working in this direction. Many children need to receive rehabilitation, healing, and the opportunity for further productivity in their lives. These children must overcome the stigma of the word, “invalid”, and see themselves as valuable people in their communities. I believe that God’s love will fill their hearts through us, and you – people who have open hearts for these children. Let our hearts become sensitive and compassionate to those who have virtually no hope for a bright future.
These children need your love, attention, and care! When I was doing chest massage for children, I had the opportunity to look in their eyes. Some children looked trustingly, but some with caution. When I smiled at them with warmth and love, setting my eye contact with love, the children eagerly absorbed my love through their eyes, and immediately their uneasiness disappeared. Many children cannot speak or speak very poorly – they are almost impossible to understand, but their eyes can say a lot.
All my time in Dobromel, I lived in the boarding school and was able to observe the lives of children. They are very caring, helping to dress those who cannot dress themselves, they comfort those who weep and come to protect those who are offended.
The arrival of Mark delighted many children. They remember him from past years. Young children hugged Mark, the older children welcomed him, shaking hands, asking him many questions, and they were happy to answer his questions. Mark was in the boarding school for two weeks, and he will tell you about his stay there in other articles.
Living my dream,
Christmas Fund-raiser Goal $5,000
The children at the Dobromel Orphanage and in Froonza are in great need of massage treatment. The Christmas Fundraiser will be used to provide massage treatment for a year at each location. Svetlana has begun to share her story about the Dobromel children. You cannot completely imagine their need until you live with them, as Svetlana and I did, even though for only a short time. Please consider our children this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season. Listen to what God is saying to your heart. If it is about our children, may He bless you greatly for your generosity.
Donate in honor or in memory of someone special. When you make a donation in honor of family or friends, MUCH will send them an acknowledgement of your gift. Please remember to include the name and address of the honoree. When you make a donation in memory of a deceased loved one, MUCH will send you an acknowledgement of your memorial.
We wish for all a most blessed Thanksgiving Holiday. Even in the midst of the financial problems that are facing the world, your world, may we all find one thing to be thankful for. God continues to bless America, maybe in different ways than we wish, but the blessings are there. Look for things to be thankful for each day; I know that, living in Ukraine, I certainly do.
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Svetlana
accompanying photos will be posted shortly – check back.