RUBY: How long have you attended Troy United Methodist Church?
Carol: We moved to Troy when I was 1. My parents started attending the Troy United Methodist Church right away. That was when the church was the little white building along Main Street. I think it is fair to say that I don’t remember much about that church building.
RUBY: What drew you to this church?
Carol: The people. The people in this church have been a part of my family as long as I can remember. Because I grew in up in this church (my family having joined the church when I was only 1 year old), I have had continued support and prayers from the members from my childhood through the present. When I went away to college and law school, I was absent for 7 years (except those weekends when I was home visiting). But when I became settled and returned to the church, the people embraced me, watched me get married, and supported our growing family. I continue to be drawn to this church daily as a safe and inviting place where my children can learn about God and be supported and loved by this wonderful church family.
RUBY: Which service do you typically attend?
Carol: We attend the 9 am service, and most recently have been attending the Wednesday night Youth Service at 6:30 in the Family Life Center.
RUBY: Share a favorite Bible verse and/or song, and why this is a favorite.
Carol: "If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.” Psalm 34:18
Pastor Kurt Stone shared this verse with Jon and I after we lost our twin sons on Valentine’s Day 2008. It was difficult for me to acknowledge the truth of those words on that day, but over time I did.
Carol Sparks pictured far right.
RUBY: Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I heard that you have an awe-inspiring tradition in your family as a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Carol: Well, it has definitely become a tradition, but not through our own efforts. Really, it is a tradition that has evolved through the grace of the Holy Spirit. After we lost our twins in 2008, we started a search for answers on how could this have happened to us.
Our previous pregnancy was complication free; in fact, Hannah was born 2 days late on Valentine’s Day 2006. Our search for answers left us with the conclusion that there was no really good answer. The doctors, who I truly believe are the best of the best, told us that I was unable to carry the twins full term because “there were two.” Without underestimating the true miracle of life that only God can explain, I just couldn’t believe that with all of the advances in medicine, the doctors’ explanation was good enough. So, Jon and I agreed that there was an obvious need to support medical research relating to the complications of a multiples pregnancy and birth. To do this we formed a nonprofit organization and decided to hold an annual fundraiser on Valentine’s Day weekend every year to celebrate the possibility of life! Afterall, we have 3 reasons to celebrate. Hannah turns 6 this coming Valentine’s Day, and Cale and Nathan are celebrating their 4th year of eternal life in heaven.
RUBY: Can you give us the specifics on the upcoming fundraiser for people who may be interested?
What: Fourth Annual Hearts for Hope Dinner and Silent Auction
When: Saturday, February 11, 2012 from 6:30pm to midnight (bidding starts at 6:30 and ends at 10:00)
Where: The LeClaire Room (on the Lewis and Clark Campus, across from Market Basket), 600 Troy Road, Edwardsville, IL 62025
Why: To raise money for medical research relating to complications of a multiples pregnancy and birth
How: Go to interwovensouls.org to purchase your tickets today ($65/each or $500/table of 8). Ticket sales end on Sunday, January 29th.
Lee Russo centerpieces may be reserved at interwovensouls.org.
RUBY: Chad, Colette, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Faith at Home event at Troy UMC for 2 and 3 year-olds. Would you mind explaining Faith at Home and how you became involved in this ministry?
Carol: I was first introduced to David Roderick and the concept of Family Ministry when I was serving on the Staff Parish Committee. With two young kids, I was eager to learn how to shape home to allow room for God’s plans. A few years ago, David asked me to read a book and then get together to discuss it. After only a few chapters in, I was sold. I knew that without a doubt there was a calling on my heart to help resource families that longed for the same sort of home that I did. The Faith@Home events are designed to give families one opportunity each year (for each child) to participate together in a practical way to invite God into their homes. I love that the mission of the Troy United Methodist Church is to exist to invite others on a journey with Jesus. It stands to reason that no one can journey with Jesus if He doesn’t get an invitation to come along. So, Faith@Home events give families practical ways to invite Jesus into their homes and give room for the Holy Spirit to go to work within their lives.
RUBY: Our family is so grateful for all of the delicious dinners we have received through the Care Ministry. Would you mind telling us more about this and how one may participate in delivering meals as well as how one may receive meals?
Carol: The Care Ministry is a great ministry that puts into action the truth that we are the hands and feet of God. The CareCalendar is a resource that the church uses to organize needs a family may have during a time of illness, surgery, recovery, or inability. I am truly a fan of this, and I am a previous recipient of its blessings! When I was pregnant with Jaden, I was on bedrest for 4 months, and the church truly supported my family by use of this resource. When a family is in need, the church will ask someone to organize the calendar, and the word will be quickly spread (church bulletin, e-Reach, Facebook, emails, etc.) for helpers. I have learned that the CareCalendar is as much of a blessing for those who receive from it as those who give through it. I think we are all wanting to give, but sometimes we just don’t know who or how to help!
RUBY: Who has inspired you as a mentor and why?
My parents. Many of you may know my parents, Fred and Jeanie Parsons. From their examples, I have learned the importance of education and the ins and outs and ups and downs of the business world. With their support, I earned my law degree and eventually started my own practice. They are my only clients that solicit my legal advice and repay me with knowledgeable business advice and Sunday dinners! From them, I have also learned the importance of giving – giving of oneself to your spouse, to your children, to your family, and to God and giving of your treasures in a way that honors and worships God. I am so thankful that my parents continue to mentor me so that I can each day be a better wife, mother, and follower of Christ.
RUBY: Tell us more about your family.
Jon and I live in Saint Jacob with our daughters, Hannah and Jaden. Hannah attends Silver Creek Elementary as a kindergartener, and Jaden attends First Step Preschool in the 2s class. Jon is the Senior VP of Operations at Midwest Railcar in Maryville, IL, a private railcar lessor with a fleet of over 10,000 railcars. I work for myself part-time at Sparks Law Office, P.C. to advise small business owners on their legal needs and to assist individuals with estate planning.
RUBY: How may we contact you in order to make a further connection?