Hello family and friends,
Have you pruned your fruit trees? Spring is right around the corner. Days of sunshine are more abundant. Sveta is ready to get out and work with her roses and vineyard. Our nineteen fruit trees are mine to care for.
Sveta and I are very happy to hear that Americans are receiving vaccination to combat COVID-19. You can read about the most recent vaccine beginning activity in Ukraine here. This news from Radio Free Europe is dated Feb 23.
MUCH focuses on working with infants and children. For some of the little darlings, development comes early, and others, with time. But there are some youngsters for whom MUCH can only provide treatment that will maintain a plateau of progressive change. Such a story is told in Mark’s Moments, below.
Three years ago, MUCH enabled two Christian young women to become massage therapists in our city of Mykolaiv. One of them, Anya, was introduced to a teenager, Maria, who has severe cerebral palsy. She has worked with this girl for three years. This year, a third Christian massage therapist that MUCH enabled in Mykolaiv last year, is also providing massage therapy for Maria. Oksana (in picture) is very happy to be working with her.
Maria is seventeen years old. She has grown, and maintains her weight. Spasticity is a big problem when it is time to move Maria. Because of COVID-19 and Maria’s own bout with illness, she was without massage therapy for four months. Sveta visited with Oksana this time and saw how much of Maria’s progress was missing.
Her arms and legs are stiff and very challenging to manipulate. It is very difficult for Maria’s grandmother to bath her and dress her.
Her grandmother is not a healthy women, and has high blood pressure. She has raised Maria since she was 6 year old. Maria’s parents divorced, and only this one grandparent had compassion for her. It was typical that children with severe disabilities are abandoned by their parents and most relatives. That is changing as more medical services are becoming available.
A Ukrainian family raised money for this child. When Sveta passed it on to the grandmother, she was in tears. She said, “I knew that God would provide money. I didn’t expect it to be this way.” Her financial need is so great. She scrapes by with her small pension and even smaller government provided pension for Maria.
MUCH home-visit treatments are serving children who would normally not receive any regular help. Six of the thirteen MUCH massage therapists are home-visit therapists. The rest either have their own clinic or work within a government orphanage, or transition home.
Periodically, during the quarantine time, when many children were at home since last year, orphans continued to spend time in the orphanage. Of course, it’s not fun to know that your friends are with family and you are in the orphanage. Even so, several snowy days brought them joy.
I remember the time before my marriage to Mark, when he asked me to provide a twenty-day massage therapy program. I agreed, and lived at this orphanage. I was to provide massage treatment for the children and share the results with the Director of the Dobromel Orphanage. I provided massage therapy treatments during the day. In the evenings, some of the children gathered in my room.
Of course, I missed my son, daughter, and especially my one year and three month old granddaughter. One evening I was so sad that my heart sank with self-pity. I cried and thought, “What am I doing here? God, why am I here when my daughter needs me at this time to help her with the baby? My parents need me too.” My face was flooded with bitter tears and at that moment I heard the Lord inside me say to me: “You are not here forever, soon you will return to your family. And these children have nowhere to return to. Imagine how hard it is for them to deal with this situation. These children are mentally and physically challenged; they also need family and love. “
My tears instantly stopped, self-pity disappeared, and compassion for these children settled in my heart. Since that time, compassion and love for them always accompany me. I am sincerely happy when I see the results of massage treatment!
Last year Misha, (in the dark plaid coat), received four ten-day massage treatments. The boy’s posture improved. Thanks to the speech therapy facial massage, he began to speak better. He expressed himself with an emotional tone, instead of mono tone.
This year, the boy’s aunt promised to take him to her home for a few days. But she did not come and the child took it very hard. The boy closed himself off from others, became aggressive, and he again displayed behavior representative of mental disorders.
Natasha, the massage therapist gave Misha a ten-day course of relaxing massage therapy, including drawing with sand on a color lighted sand box. Misha drew a house, a family. This symbolically resembled what he had not yet been able to express. He was filled with fears, high emotion, and psychological trauma. Drawing was like an evaluation of his emotional mood. It is also one of the lessons of game therapy. After the complex massage treatment, music therapy and drawing with sand on the sand box, Misha’s psycho-emotional state stabilized. Misha became friendly and a smile shone on his face again.
Living my dream,
Blessings of love and healing,
Mark and Sveta
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