Sparks Family Serving in Kiev, Ukraine
Sparks Ministry in Ukraine
January / February 2012
Join Our Mailing List
Praise and Prayer Requests
Sparks Family in the Cold!
Sparks Family in the Cold!

We continue to be thankful for our call to Ukraine. The more time Steve spends with the Seminary and the Country Teams he sees how it is clear and obvious there is a job that needs to be done to further the ministry of church planting and that he can contribute to that.  


We will be going through another transition over the next few months. Please pray God's hand will be there to lift us up as we face the challenges of the travel and transition. 


Please continue to pray for Stevie that all his needs are being met as well as that he will have time to spend time with other children and have good times of play and fellowship. 


We are so thankful for the Medical Care we have gotten so far here in Ukraine. We praise God that he has provided. We pray however that Steve can continue to understand all that is needed despite the language barrier and that the transition back to our U.S. doctor would go smoothly.


Pray for good health as we all are suffering from colds and Steve has had a sinus infection for a while and it is making day to day items difficult.  


Pray for Steve as he continues his language study. He has been working on country level items now but will soon be looking for a language helper and a language tutor and would pray that the perfect person would be made available to fill these roles. 


Pray also for Steve as he works on a class with Covenant Seminary's distance learning program.


Praise for the generous families that are helping us purchase a vehicle in Kiev. Please pray that we can resolve the very complex paperwork and other legal issues (that many do resolve) to move forward with the purchase of a car. 


Pray for our unborn daughter and her health and well being and that Dawn's pregnancy will continue to go well. 


Pray for our finances as we look forward to a new child and adjust for medical and related travel expenses.


Sparks Ministry Blog


Need more? Keep in touch with our progress and other news tidbits posted on our blog.


Vehicle Update
Prayer has been answered and we are in the process of purchasing a vehicle. We believe that we have enough funds to make the purchase. Steve is working with a lawyer and our Team Leader figure out the process and what documents we need to have in place in order to purchase the car. The process is complex, being a foreigner in Ukraine, even when you pay for the vehicle in full. The government has lots of registration requirements for both the person purchasing the vehicle as well as the vehicle. We will keep everyone posted as we know more about the timing, etc. If the process looks like it will drag out too long then we will likely need to wait until we return after the baby. This is good in that we don't have to worry about where to park the vehicle when we are gone, but bad in that we would really like to return to Ukraine and have the vehicle available to use right away. We will, of course, trust that God's timing is in all of these decisions and keep praying for it all to be clear. If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me via email. 

Support Report

Our support has remained steady over the past months. We received a good boost in December that helped out with the average giving over the past year to meet our monthly needs which had taken a little dip in the averages.


Support is always on the edge and we thank you for the continued giving towards our ministry. You sacrifice is what allows us to continue to serve the Kingdom in Kiev. We feel honored and blessed by your trust in us to serve well. 


If you need more information about giving to our ministry please don't hesitate to ask. We would love to talk to you about how you can help. 


If you have any difficulty with getting support payments or need more information on our prayer needs at anytime, please feel free to email us. If you need help getting a checking or credit card set up you can also call MTW at 1-866-373-6133.  


The donations address is:

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.  


Dear Friends!


It has been an exciting month and a half since we have had the opportunity to send you a newsletter. We hope to recap for you both our family activities as well as some ministry activities that have happened over the last 6 weeks. 


This newsletter includes: 

     1. Baby and Travel News

     2. Seminary Session

     3. Ukrainian Winter

     4. Our Christmas

 - Prayer Requests on left

 - Cold, Cold, Cold

 - Blog Address on left

 - Support Report on left

 - Pledge Card at the bottom 


Our Mailing Address in Ukraine is:

Steve and Dawn Sparks

Prospect Pobedy 105, Kb. 55

Kiev 03115

Our Skype Contact
Skype # - 512-879-9900
Skype ID - stevenssparks
USA Address & Temporary Transportation Need 
When we are staying in the USA (see details below), our mailing address will be 

Steve and Dawn Sparks
c/o Kathy Sparks
8932 North Plaza Ct.
Austin, Tx 78753

Mobile Phones
Dawn - 512-426-4085
Steve - 512-947-0963
During the time we will be in Austin, we will need a vehicle that can transport our family. If you have any ideas or an extra vehicle that we can borrow, please reply to this email. 
Baby and Travel News
A good friend sent us a Rudy's BBQ sauce and rub kit. This is Stevie enjoying some Texas meets Ukraine BBQ.

The big news, as most everyone knows, is that we will be having a daughter on or about May 22, 2012. This is so exciting for us and as with any new addition to a family it means lots of new and big changes for everyone. We look forward to it all (mostly!). We are in the middle of a big "what will we name our daughter" debate. We actually thought we had a name but the initials would be bad, bad, bad, so we had to stop for a while and rethink our strategy. 


One of the other big decisions we needed to make before we got too far into the pregnancy was where to give birth. We consulted with other team members who have had children here in Ukraine as well as other medical and support staff and it made sense, considering all the factors, for us to return to Austin for the birth. Dawn will be leaving Ukraine with Stevie on April 11th to stay with my Mom in Austin who lives close to her doctor. Steve will be leaving almost a month later on May 8th to be there for the birth. Your prayers would most certainly be appreciated during this time. 


During our time in Austin we will also need to get all the passport and other papers worked out for our new baby girl and also get our Ukrainian visas renewed. This process has changed in the past 6 months and, while we know people who have made it though the process, we can be a little apprehensive at facing the stack of papers and the waiting required. Since this trip is medical and for visa renewal and not an HMA, I'm not sure how much travel we will be doing with a baby that is just a few weeks old. I'll be sure to keep people posted when and if we are able to speak or be part of any events during our time in Austin. 


We expect to return to Ukraine on August 1 as a family of 4 with new Ukrainian visas!  

Ministry Opportunity
Stevie, although only 2 years old, attends a Ukrainian 
preschool 2 days a week.

 When we arrived in Ukraine, one of the big challenges we anticipated was how Dawn and Stevie would have opportunity to work in ministry other than the country finances that Dawn continues to manage. We found out that a preschool is across the street from our home behind the large bingo hall and night club. It is also where the Pastor of our church's daughter attends a few days a week. This has opened a door for Dawn to get to know some of the other Ukrainian parents who have kids attending the school. It is hard to blend in with a 2 year old that talks up a storm in English, around a bunch of other kids all learning English and Stevie learning to speak a little Russian and Ukrainian. The picture above was taken at the end of December for the Ukrainian New Year's and Christmas program. 


Dawn has also started working with a few girls from our church on Monday evenings. You can read more about this on our blog. The address is


Seminary Session and Work Travel
Seminary Session - Student Worship before class.
During the month of January, Steve spent most of the month traveling.  First, to southern Ukraine for a special project and then spent two weeks at the Seminary Sessions outside of Kiev getting a chance to learn first hand how the seminary process is working. This was also a huge opportunity to spend time with the other staff and see what is needed and how we can better meet the need of training leaders who serve in the Ukrainian Denomination. 
The session was eye opening in both how the seminary has been delivering training to students as well as getting a chance to meet more of the students and learn about their individual calls. 

The training process uses a facilitated model that has seminary staff working alongside a foreign seminary professor to deliver the lectures of a course that usually takes a semester in the USA.  The lectures are given over a period of two weeks. The students listen to the instruction, take notes and then over the next few months will work with ERSU staff to complete assignments for the courses. This particular session had two courses divided into 1/2 day lectures for a period of 2 weeks.
View from the window of the car that drove me out to the Seminary Session. The roads had about 1-2 inches of ice and snow. It was a slippery slide of a cold drive! I appreciate the driver. Even when the snow was a foot deep he continued to move forward! 
The students come to the session that is held at a facility about 50 miles from Kiev. If you have visited on a short term team you might have stayed at a "sanitorium" and this is the same thing. The benefit you have in being on a summer team is that while there is often little or no hot water, the temperature is above freezing in the summer. The facility is heated but the water is room temperature of about 60f if you are lucky! They are in the process of planning a remodel at the facility, I'm hopeful that we will have better hot water the next time!

Most of the students are men, the seminary has 2 women working on a Master of Arts in Religion. We had about 15-20 students this past session. They were from all over Ukraine, most of them working as non-ordained pastors or in other leadership roles in Reformed churches in Ukraine and surrounding countries.
Ukraine Winter - Cold! -25C
Sparks Family in the Cold Winter Weather!

A friend sent us a Flat Stanley to take with us on an adventure. This is Stevie standing in -5F or more posing for a picture.

This past winter has been a record setting one for Ukraine. During the past 6 weeks, I have experienced temperatures I did not know existed. It is amazing to see the city continue to function at temperatures of -25C, which is -13F. We had times when it was colder that what you see in these pictures. It was a deadly winter for people in Kiev. We have seen reports of many deaths. The last number I noted was more than 150 people in a short period of time. I've been concerned with the homeless and elderly population here in Kiev. You see many of the homeless 
We had temperatures colder than what I have captured here. 
in the Metro asking for change and I know some of them sleep in hidden corners in the stations which at some times have little or no heat.  The government did open some shelters but I am not sure how well they worked. We are experiencing a little break in the winter weather right now as the temperature is above freezing at about 37F. It seems really warm and I would be enjoying it more if I was not suffering from a bad cold. Please pray for the people of Ukraine that they can and will continue to manage well with the cold and all the challenges that come with these difficulties. 
During the Christmas holidays we had a great time with our team here in Kiev.  Here is everyone. Next year we expect another family of 4, 2 more babies (a boy and a girl) and possibly 1 single guy and a couple. That is 9 more family members  working in Kiev on church planting and reformed education!
Our Team
The Kids! (2011)

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.
Sincerely in Christ,

Steve, Dawn and Steven

How to Set Up Support
We get asked at times how you go about supporting our ministry.

While we recently reached the needed level to move to Ukraine, we will always need additional support team mebers through the months and years! 

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 



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