Mark grew up regularly attending a Lutheran church with his parents and brothers. At age seventeen he first attended a Gospel preaching church where he witnessed the living testimony of true believers. Seeing their testimonies drew Mark to want to receive Christ. He began listening to a Gospel radio program regularly and finally came to repentance and faith in Christ and called on Christ as his Lord and Savior. As a senior in high school he met some Baptist believers. In the course of time he began attending Baptist churches and was immersed about two years after being saved.
Donna is the oldest of nine children and grew up on a farm in Manitoba, Canada. Her family lived with her Grandma who truly knew and loved God. When Donna was eight years old she had the opportunity to attend Bible camp. Although most people saw her as a good little girl, she knew she was a bad liar and sinner. She turned to God from her sin and trusted what Jesus had done for her on the cross. The camp had a Bible reading and memorization program that helped her to grow spiritually and know what God wanted for her life. Her life’s verses are Proverbs 3:5&6.
Schooling and Service
In 1977, God led Mark to Pillsbury Baptist Bible College to pursue a degree in Bible. There God called him to fulltime Christian service and directed him into elementary education. At Bible College Mark met Donna and they were married in 1980. Mark and Donna are blessed with four children who are all grown and married now. For 29 years Mark taught in Christian schools. Through the years both Mark and Donna have served in a full range of ministries in Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches. Mark received further Biblical training from correspondence courses and earned his Certificate of Theology from a local church Bible Institute.
Surrender to Missions
In the fall of 2013, Mark and Donna took just over a month to go on a mission’s trip to help and be a blessing to missionary friends, Eric and Jessica Curtis. While preparing and preaching a parting message challenging Ukrainian believers to reach their own people for Christ God clearly spoke to Mark’s heart, calling him to reach Ukrainian souls for Christ. Since our call to Ukraine, unrest and war has broken out, but we are confident of our call and believe God has called us to Ukraine for such a time as this. See I Corinthians 1:26-31. Brethren, pray for US. Ukrainian Sinners; Ukrainian Saints; Ukrainian Servants—Mark and Donna Kuenzi
December 2, 2015
Dear Pastors, Churches and Other Praying Friends,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We praise the Lord for the opportunity to be in service for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who shall reign forever and ever.
I am writing this prayer letter by candle light and firelight from our warm, cozy Ukrainian home here in the village of Vvedenka. This morning we woke up to about 4 inches of snow and a power outage. We were scheduled to take the electric train to Kharkiv today for Russian language studies, but with the power out the train was not running. With the heavy wet snow of our first winter storm many power lines were down in many villages and a good portion of Kharkiv was without power today. We are praising God for plenty of firewood, a wood stove, and snow to melt. As we type this on Dec. 8th, our power came back on after 4 days so we are extra thankful for our electric and water now!
Thank you for your faithful prayers that saw us through the visa process. They are good through July, 2016. We will begin the visa renewal process for another year in May.
Keep praying regarding our distribution of the Gospel of John along with our testimonial tract called “Because of Love”. The tract explains who we are and why we have come to Ukraine and then explains why Christ came to this earth Many people are not receptive to receiving Gospel literature, but those who have received it seem to be receiving it with interest. Since we have gotten our religious visas and have begun more overt evangelism, my wife and I have distributed almost 1,500 Gospels of John and tracts. We have completed our village of about 950 homes and began in the next village. We also distribute in the city of Kharkiv near the University each Wednesday. About one in every 8-10 people that we offer a tract to in the city receives it. So far we have received 4 telephone calls in response—one not favorable and 3 favorable. Donna has completed 2 Bible studies, through our translator, with Ola, 28 years old, who has a very sinful past, but seems to be seeking. Donna is continuing this study by phone as Ola who was in our village living with a man she met on the internet has returned to her village about 3 hours from here. We are to meet with another lady, Tiasya, in Kharkiv on Dec. 11th to answer any spiritual questions and encourage her to do a Bible Study.
Pray as well for our continued Russian language studies. Progress is slow, but we are progressing more rapidly now as we started working with an additional teacher, who is a believer, and has taught Russian language to foreign students at the University. She became a believer sometime after one of her students from the university witnessed to her and her husband.
Pray for our regular attenders—several have not been faithful in attendance lately, but we praise the Lord that we have had 8 visitors in the month of November.
BRETHREN, PRAY FOR US. We ask that you consider choosing one of these folks that God brings to mind and pray daily for a month for that individual.
Ukrainian Saints—Vasia (28) lives with us, doing well spiritually, but pray for wisdom and patience as he looks to the Lord and waits for God to send a Christian woman for him to marry. He recently got laid off from work so pray also concerning a job. Jobs are scarce here and many are looking for jobs. Lina and her son Max (12)—Both profess to be saved (Lina’s husband, Dema is unsaved). Pray for Lina as she has been discouraged lately and is missing services about every other week. They have to travel by public transportation almost 2 hours to church. Pray for Lina and Max to be a good testimony to Dema. Tanya and her son David (8) also from Kharkiv, who live with Tanya’s alcoholic father and niece and the boyfriends she brings home. Zina from a Baptist Union Church who has come 3 weeks and brought visitors with her. Zina professes to be a believer and is very concerned for souls but she believes baptism has something to do with salvation. We have given her some Scripture on this and the doctrine of eternal security. Tamara (about 60) struggles as she lives with her unsaved antagonistic mother Baba Shura, and she has a son Ruselan who drinks heavily. His wife, Katyia and 3 boys, Bogdan (12), Nikita (10) and baby Daniel all need prayer. Nikita comes on his own or with his Grandma sometimes.
Ukrainian Sinners—We especially think of some whose testimonies are not clear—regular attenders—Gala, Serioga, Valodian, Sveta. Slavik and Ola (who have not come since Yuri’s (age 47) death in October)—Yuri was at church the Sunday before he and his neighbor (27), after drinking vodka, flipped their car in the river and drowned. He was well known here. Pray that the lost will think and consider their soul. Please also continue to pray for the salvation of Pasha our translator and his family. He seems tender at times and then hardens his heart again. Recently he told us he thinks logically and cannot believe the Bible. He does seem to be listening and thinking. Also pray for other visitors that have been out once—Ola and her daughter from the village, Aksana and her 2 children and niece from the city and Nastiya from the city.
Ukrainian Servants—Over all we are doing well but pray for continued health and strength. Pray for wisdom in dealing with the people and for wisdom in learning Russian.
May you have a JOYOUS CHRISTMAS SEASON AND NEW YEAR as you rejoice in God your Saviour and continue in your service for Him. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
Because Christ lives your Ukrainian Servants,
Mark and Donna Kuenzi
I Corinthians 1:26-31
Valodian, Lina, Max, Vasia, Gala, Tanya, Pasha, our translator, and his wife, Juliaand Mark at church eating lunch outside.
Tanya and David at the river Meal after church—Zina, Valodian, Tamara, Vasia, Gala, Max, and Serioga.
The boxes are full of literature to distribute.
Our hope—Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.
Have a Blessed Christmas as you look to HIM.