Praise and Prayer Requests
Please pray for our return to Ukraine. There will be many transitions and changes as we approach some new roles and adjust to being a family of 4.
Pray for our registration process. We have 45 days to register and get all our approvals to remain in Ukraine. We expect this to happen but it has taken all the 45 days to complete for some and it would be helpful and a blessing if we could get done well before the end of the time limit.
Please pray for Dawn and her adjustments specifically back to life in Kiev without all the additional help of living in a home with an additional set of hands and with Steve likely traveling fairly often!
Thank you for prayers for the medical transitions.
Praise for Anabella getting good reports from the dermatology specialist and his ok for us to return to Kiev.
Pray for Stevie as he will be missing all his grandparents and friends, who he has very much enjoyed visiting and living with over the summer.
Praise for a generous gift from a supporting church that helped with our medical expenses and for the loan of a vehicle at no cost from another supporter.
Pray for our finances in both personal and ministry support. We still have medical expenses we will be paying for over the next months as we not only had the birth but also followup appointments this past summer for all the family concerning various issues. We are thankful that we do have health insurance to cover most of this! Our support account is mostly steady, but still is below the full amount of our monthly budget.
Pray for Steve's vision issues. He visited a specialist recently to evaluate some problems with his right eye. Praise that the issue with his right eye is not progressive, but it does make it hard at times to read and see.
Sparks Ministry Blog
Keep watching our blog.
Dawn has high hopes of doing a better job of updating it more regularly once we return to Kiev.
Our Support Report
I've mentioned this in the past but wanted this time to ask for specific prayer.
Our support has been in minor flux over the past few months. We appreciate your continued personal sacrifice and pray and ask for your continued dedication to our mission.
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.
How to Set Up Support
We get asked at times how you go about supporting our ministry.
While we have pledges at the needed level to move to Ukraine, we will always need additional support team members 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
The summer has come to an end and we are in the midst of getting packed and transitioning back to Ukraine. This is a long letter but contains lots of news and updates about our return as well as future. Thanks in advance for your time that is takes to read our update.
This newsletter includes:
1. Departure Date
2. Current Needs
3. Looking to the Future
4. Ukraine Visa and Registration
5. Future in Ukraine
- Please pray for our mission.
- Prayer Requests on left
- Blog Address on left
- Pledge Card at the bottom
Our Mailing Address in Ukraine is:
Steve and Dawn Sparks
Prospect Pobedy 105, Kb. 55
We can receive packages and letters at our home address in Kiev.
Our Skype Contact
Skype # - 512-879-9900
Skype ID - stevenssparks
Looking for an old newsletter? Check our Archive
We leave Austin on August 28th at 8:50 am. The flight will take our family of 4 through New York, Amsterdam, and then to Kiev. We arrive in Kiev at 2:00pm
Please pray specifically on these days for safe and calm travel as we take our 2 year old son and 3 month old daughter on these long flights and layovers.
Current Needs and Thank You!
Our current needs center around medical expenses for the birth of our daughter and all the things a new little girl needs for the next couple of years.
We thank everyone who has encouraged and provided so generously for many things during our summer - the birth of our daughter as well as the extra time we spent in Austin because of visa and paperwork issues.
Specifically, we wish to thank:
Many individuals at Fifth Street Presbyterian Church in Tyler, Texas, who have provided much support and encouragement.
Christ Presbyterian Church in Georgetown, Texas, which has given us an amazing gift of encouragement and aid this summer.
The congregation of CrossPointe who called and elected Steve as a ruling Elder over the summer and ordained him into that office a few weeks ago so he can both serve CrossPointe and expand his serving roles in Ukraine.
All our supporters who have faithfully and sacrificially supported our efforts this past year and continue to support us as we move into a new phase of ministry in Ukraine over the next couple of years.
Steve's Mom (Kathy Sparks) who has been providing us a home and help for the past many months. It has been a blessing beyond expectations for us to spend this time with her and see her be part of her grandkids' lives. We will (and especially Stevie will) miss dearly his Mema who has spent countless hours playing, caring for, and telling him stories of "when she was a little girl" at bed time. We cannot express thanks enough for all she provided this summer. We know it has been a stretch at times and can't say thank you enough to show how much we appreciate the generous love she has shared.
Looking to the Future
This past summer has been busy and life changing on many, many levels for the Sparks Family. This is a review of what has been going on during the summer with an eye towards our future ministries in Kiev and throughout Ukraine.
This past summer, the obvious highlight was the birth our our daughter Anabella Dawn Sparks. We had a few medical concerns over the summer which have been resolved and she and Dawn continue to be healthy as we prepare to return to Ukraine. The grandparents have been able to spend time with both grandkids and will be missing them as we move, but both kids have surely gotten to know their grandparents even more than we had expected over the summer. It truly has been a blessing to us and them!
During the summer, Steve had many opportunities to serve our home church.The summer began with Steve observing and participating at CrossPointe in the capacity of Intern from the South Texas Presbytery and then Steve was called to serve as a Ruling Elder for CrossPointe. This process started at the beginning of the summer where he began by receiving the call and then studying for the exams in Bible, theology, Book of Church Order and the sacraments. Steve has completed the process of passing the exams and being elected by the congregation and ordained. During this time Steve has also been working with the CrossPointe session on organizational and process concerns, helping them as both an intern and now as a Ruling Elder to work on the Church ministries. Steve will transition back to Ukraine and begin new aspects of ministries as a result of the new opportunities this ordination has opened. It has been a blessing for Steve and our family to walk with CrossPointe through this process and service.
This summer has also been a bonanza of other birthdays! We had the opportunity to celebrate Dawn's, Steve's Mom's and Father's birthday as well as Steve's birthday with family and friends. When celebrating Steve's father's birthday it was especially exciting and rare for Steve and all his brothers to be together.
We are happy to be finally be returning to Kiev. The visa application and approval process has been complex with the paperwork and approvals requiring more time than we had expected. The extra time, while unplanned and unexpected by us, has been an opportunity for additional ministry and family time that was clearly needed for ministry here as we could better complete some items that started at the beginning of the summer.
As we return to Kiev:
Dawn will continue to work in the financial ministry of the MTW Ukraine country budget, oversight and reporting.
Steve will begin new opportunities in ministry.
Additional Church Planting in Kiev will be a new focus. While is has always been on the radar of items that are needed to grow, doors have opened for the very early stages of a new plant to begin. Steve will be working with new and existing team members to consider and work through all the aspects of this new possibility. It is exciting for us as a family to consider how we can serve this ministry but also to see and walk through the process of beginning and considering this new work.
Having been ordained this past summer, Steve will be working with his leadership to see how he can serve in new roles with the Ukraine Presbyterian Church Presbytery. We as a family and team will be praying and looking forward to working with the church planting leaders and others in the Presbytery in the months ahead.
Steve will be transitioning to a role of Country Advisor as he is looking forward to advising the team and team leaders on the preparation for and transition to new works throughout Ukraine as teams are considering changes that could bring them to new and unreached cities in this country the size of Texas.
We look forward to reporting on the progress of these and other ministry opportunities that the Lord presents over the next months.
Ukrainian Visa and Registration
Prayers have been answered as we have received our 45 Day Visa for Ukraine. During the 45 days following our arrival to Kiev we are required to register with specific authorities in Kiev that will allow us to remain for an extended period of time.
This is the first time we have been required to follow this registration process. The first Visa we had was under an older system and now with new laws and more detailed requirements for registration this new process is more complex. Additionally, as others have discovered, the process has been unclear at times and is time consuming to complete. However, once complete, it most certainly is beneficial for us and our ministry. We pray that this process would go smoothly and quickly during the first weeks after our return to Ukraine.
Future in Ukraine
This "article" was in our last newsletter prior to Steve's departure from Kiev. We decided to include and revise it in this newsletter as a reminder to us and others of how we are expanding and looking forward to opportunities to serve in Ukraine.
Dawn and I are looking forward to our continued ministry in Ukraine. This past year Steve has mostly been involved in activities that include the Evangelical Reformed Seminary, but also has been included informally in activities that include other aspects of the ministries here in Ukraine.
Since I (Steve) have been working with Jon Eide, the Kiev team leader (who is also the MTW Area Director over all the Ukraine mission), and have at times been interacting with him on missional items outside the seminary, the opportunity has arisen for that relationship to be a bit more formal.
Some of the specific details still need to be vetted; however, we see the next few years here in Ukraine as an opportunity for me to work with Jon as well as other Team and Seminary leaders. I'll be an Advisor to Jon and work with him on some country level ideas including future church planting efforts, reviewing how we manage some of our budgets as well as providing assistance to other leaders in planning and moving forward their specific efforts in church planting in Ukraine. It is exciting for me because I really get an opportunity to work with the global mission in Ukraine and help move forward and define the vision and execution of that vision in Ukraine. I appreciate Jon working with me on developing this opportunity.
Additionally, as I am also working on my own seminary studies and am working through the internship requirements with the South Texas Presbytery, I will be able to have a broader arena for preaching and teaching opportunities throughout Ukraine since I have been and will continue to build my relationships with the National Pastors and Church Planters.
As the family is packing and preparing for our return, it is amazing to look back and see how the Lord continues to confirm and support our calling to serve as missionaries to Ukraine and serve our team. We have had so many blessings this summer, beginning with safe travel and the arrival of our daughter to extended time to spend with family, Anabella's baptism by her grandfather, and Steve's service to CrossPointe. We most certainly could not have planned the summer to have begun or end in this manner and celebrate how the Lord has planned our time here and our many other blessings that continue to lead us back to our ministry in Kiev and throughout Ukraine.
Please join us in our prayer of thanksgiving for God's continued provision for us and our calling to serve in HIS ministry.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
Sincerely in Christ,
Steve, Dawn, Stevie and Anabella Sparks