Sparks Family Newsletter - Getting Closer!
Sparks Family Update
March 2011
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Praise and Prayer Requests
Family in Belgium

Praise that we had a very good experience at our training in Belgium. We were able to spend time together in ministry as a family and we see new ways we can work together as a team. 


Praise for our new home and the very generous friends who have invited us to stay in that home. We thank them so much for the help as we transition to Ukraine. 


Praise for a new supporting church and some new individual supporters. We got the good news right before we left for Belgium and it was exactly the encouragement and confirmation that we needed to know we are making choices that are honoring to our kingdom building calling.   


Pray for our move to the new home and that we will have patience and understanding as we move into a much smaller space.  Pray for Stevie as well, that he would make the transition easily. 


Pray the move will go well and we will have the needed help for the move. 


Family, Seminary, Support and Ministry can all be very overwhelming at times. Please pray for guidance as we prepare for ministry and for our times together as a family. Please pray that we would all get the rest we need as well.

Praise for support needs being met, both financial and prayer; prayer for the remaining support to come in.

Pray that God would prepare us to leave extended family as we move and that He would prepare our family to be comfortable with our moving.


"Winterizing" Stevie

We asked about this in the last newsletter.


If you have some items left over from the winter please consider us.

 Although Dawn has lived through a number of Ukrainian winters, she has never experienced dressing a child for winter.  Growing up in South Florida doesn't really prepare you to know how to keep a two year old warm in cold weather!  In addition, there isn't a lot of demand for winter clothes here in Austin, Texas.

So, we're asking for help from our readers who are more familiar with the cold weather.  Suggestions and hand-me-downs are welcome :). 
How to Set Up Support
 We get asked at times how you go about supporting our ministry.


The first decision is on a means of support. This can be:

1. Financial Support

2. Prayer Support

3. Both 1 & 2


The next step would be to notify us or Mission to the World (MTW) that you would like to be a ministry partner.


This can be accomplished by


1. Emailing us with how you would like to partner and, if the partnership involves financial support, include the amount and frequency. (You can simply reply to this newsletter.)


2. You can also print and mail the form at the end of this newsletter to MTW. You then specify the details as outlined on the form.


3. If you have one of our prayer cards then detach the bottom part and mail that card to Mission to the World.


When you begin financial support you can pay by check, bank draft or credit card.


Checks and Automated payments can be mailed to:

 Mission to the World (#10572), P.O. Box 116284, Atlanta, GA 30368-6284 

The #10572 is our account number and needs to be included on the check.


Credit Cards can be set up on the MTW Website or by calling  1-866-373-6133 

Additional details about donations can be found

here at this link


Sparks Ministry Blog

Dawn has been working to keep our status on our progress and other news tidbits posted on our blog. Don't forget to check once in a while to see what we have going on and what might have happened in the past months. We can't include everything in the newsletter or it would be a book!
Dear Friends!,

We are back in the United States after spending a month in Belgium. We arrived home in mid-February and have been spending the past few weeks getting Stevie back on a schedule in our time zone as well as preparing to move to a new home as we continue to downsize in preparation for our move to Ukraine.

This issue of the newsletter will cover the following details:

Friends of Friends - We still need more contacts, can you help?
Cross Culture Reality Check - Experience at our training in Belgium.
Moving to another home - Friends have invited us into their home!
Support Report - 18% remaining needed.
Support What - What you support
Winterizing Stevie - Continued support for Stevie in the cold!
Prayer and Praise - Read to the left to see our requests and answered prayers!
How to Set up Support - Read at the bottom right if you need a some ""How-To" tips on the setup process.
Sparks Ministry Blog - Don't forget to check out our blog which is updated more frequently than the email updates.

If you would like a prayer card mailed to you that includes a summary of our ministry as well as a family photo, please reply to this message with your mailing address and we would be happy to put one in the mail to you.
Friends of Friends

Do you know of anyone who might want to participate in our mission? We would love to talk to them and discuss how we will be sharing the Gospel in Ukraine. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone who might be interested.  You can also reply to this email or call us at 512-426-4085
Cross Culture Reality Check

When Dawn and I went through the initial steps of responding to the call to Ukraine, it seemed that events like the training in Belgium were so far away and it was almost impossible to believe they would actually happen!  Well, the training (CCMI) not only happened, but we are back from it and getting closer and closer to transitioning  from preparing for the field to actually going.
This past month Dawn and I have seen how we as a family can and will work together even more closely to meet the call to serve. The past month of training has helped us see how we can work toward unity not only in our ministry purpose; but also in our family and team. It is truly the power of the Gospel. That is easy to say, but without that power of the truth of the Gospel and without the change offered by that truth, it is impossible to execute.
When asked about our training I can list off several points (and you can read a little more about them in our blog), but to be fair to the internship and experience it is much deeper and more comprehensive than those points or the brief description that goes with them. The internship took us to a level where we now see in much greater depth how we can use our years of experience as well as our unique gifts to bring the Gospel to another culture. The unique nature of our call -- of everyone's call -- is a gift like the bride is to the bridegroom. It is special to God in a way that is defined by Him and inspired and delived through the Holy Spirit to those He is calling.
It can sound mysterious and may sound almost impossible. However, considering that when I first started this process it seemed impossible to even get to this point in preparation, I can't deny that it is possible and it is happening and will happen!  We look forward as a family to taking our gifts to Ukraine and serving the call to help build the kingdom. Although we are already doing some things, we do desire to do more and look forward to the transition.   
Moving to another New Home!
Stevie helps me pack up some books
Packing and storing, it is what we do!
The last time we sent out an update we had asked about a place to live for the few months we have (prayerfully) remaining here in the USA as we finish out raising the remaining support needed to move to Ukraine.

A family from our home church in Austin has invited us to stay with them in a small guest house they have behind their home. It's is such a blessing to receive this gift! We have been packing, sorting and storing items that we can't fit in the new home as well as determining what we will be shipping to Ukraine and what we will keep here in Texas.

It continues to be an adjustment for our family as we moved from our  house about 9 months ago and now are packing up to downsize even more. Things I had not considered such as selling our furniture and even things that we really consider essential like our washing machine and basic appliances have shown us how we can focus too much on things outside of the kingdom. Please keep us in your prayers over the next month as we transition to our new home. 

Support Report: 18% Needed for the Field
Room at CCMI
This was our home at CCMI, The mess is my (Steve's) doing.
The last time we talked about support, we needed 27% of our remaining monthly budget. This time we are at less than 20% and have received commitments from new and existing supporters that leave us with only a need of about 17%. The raw number is about $1,200 a month. Praise God we are so close! Honestly, I (Steve), having never raised support for this type of thing, have been so amazed at how much everyone has rallied behind our vision and mission to go to Kyiv and to work with the Seminary.

To give you some perspective on how the finances break down:
$50 a month is 4% of the remaining need
$75 a month is 6% of the remaining need
$100 a month is 8% of our remaining need
$150 a month is 12% of our remaining need
$200 a month is 16% of our remaining need

Please keep in mind that pledges can be paid annually, quarterly or monthly, so if you wanted to donate $2,000 a year and pay in quarterly installments that is an option and it changes the % of our monthly need just like an annual pledge or a monthly pledge. The need is recurring support for the duration of our mission in Kyiv. 
Support What?
Stevie after a recent haircut!
Haircut for Stevie
When you support a work like ours you are not only supporting the ministry of the mission, which in our case is supporting and expanding the reach of the Evangelical Reformed Seminary of Ukraine to train pastors throughout Ukraine and central Asia. You are also supporting the needs of the family working in that ministry. Needs are things like food, a place to live, health care, education, and transportation related to the ministry.  All these and more are the items that anything you choose to give supports so that Dawn and I can work in Ukraine with the goal of spreading the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. We need you to partner with us, to allow us to provide for our family so we can focus on working with the Lord to build his kingdom. It really is that direct. Every dollar, every penny you give to our ministry goes to support us in these efforts.
Wow, we are getting close! This month we are under 18% of our recurring monthly need and moving into what we hope is our final home before we leave for Ukraine. It is surreal sometimes to think we are so close and yet it sometimes seems so far, but it's not far for God, not impossible for Him. We feel him helping and His and your encouragement. Thank your for your continued encouragement and continued prayers.

If you received this email because someone forwarded it to you, you can join our email list by clicking the link "Join our Mailing List" in the left sidebar of this email. If you would like to join our team, at the bottom of this newsletter is the necessary information to send a response via U.S. mail.
Sincerely in Christ,
Steve, Dawn and Steven
Sparks Ministry (Almost) in Ukraine

I would like to record my commitment to MTW/Short Term and Steve and Dawn Sparks (#10572) by:

(  ) Receiving Prayer Letter             (   ) My intent to contribute $_________
(  ) Praying faithfully for them                 to their support:
       (  ) Daily    (  ) Weekly            (  )  Monthly  (  ) Annually  (  ) Quarterly

                       (   )  Enclosed is my one-time Gift $_____________



City:_____________________________________ State: _____ Zip:________

Please make check payable to:
Mission to the World (#10572), P.O. Box 116284, Atlanta, GA 30368-6284