Why are cars so expensive here?

One thing that was really hard for me to understand while living here in Ukraine was why cars here are so expensive and why so many missionaries choose to have their cars imported all the way from America or other countries in Europe. This is the rule – every single missionary I know that has a car has had it brought over from America. Katya and I were the exception to this rule when we bought our Fiat Doblo in Ukraine, which you can see here at camp:

Unfortunately, that car turned out to be a lemon. EVERYTHING on it broke, from door handles, to battery clips, to the hood release, to the transmission, to the computer and the natural gas system (gasoline is terribly expensive here!), and finally to the engine failing.

I bought the car because several of my friends assured me that it was the very best thing I could get in our price point. At the time, we had about two and a half thousand dollars. We bought the Doblo for $3800, borrowing the rest of the money from the owner. Once the car was breaking down and no longer safe to drive, we sold it miraculously for $2800, after putting in about another $800-1000 or so in repairs.

What kind of car do we need?

We believe that the best thing for our family would be a small- to mid-sized SUV (ie. a Ford Escape or Nissan Rogue Sport), because of the ministry we do, the size of our family (Katya’s mom and sister included), and the condition of the roads in Ukraine. We also obviously want something reliable.

We live over an hour away from church by bus and want to minister in other cities. Aside from making ministry easier, having immediate transportation in a country that’s experiencing a war (you never know when you might need to flee to the border), and just helping family, we just want to be able to get out of the city once in a while. We’ve recently seen the need to “get away” more often for our own spiritual and emotional health.

Here’s a comparison of what you can get in Ukraine vs. America for the same price:

USA (Ebay):

Ukraine (AutoRia):

As y’all can probably see, the same car in Ukraine can cost up to about 30%-50% more, depending on the year and model. Also, because of the condition of the roads here and the general “car culture”, cars in America are usually in better condition, even when they are priced less.

The Loophole

Some of our friends here have found a way to “hack the system” with the car market. They buy salvaged cars at auction in America, ship them to Ukraine, register and repair them here (which is generally much cheaper than in America), and then sell them. This is one of the ways that we could get a car.

We have the $1200 from the stimulus money that everyone got earlier this year. That would be just about enough to have a car shipped from America to Ukraine. The rest that needs to be paid for is the cost of the car itself, any repairs that it will need, and registration. Oops… I forgot to talk about that.

Registering a car in Ukraine

Another thing about Ukraine that needs to be taken into account when talking about the cost of a car here is registration. That can be anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending upon the year of the car, its emissions certification, and the size of its engine. The system is supposedly there to protect the environment, but it’s actually just turned into one more way that corrupt people in power extort the little guy. To get around these regulations, it’s best that the car you’re importing have the following:

  • The size of the engine should be 3 litres or less
  • The car should be newer than 2015
  • The price of the car also affects the price of registration, but I’m not in the market to try to register an expensive car
  • Lastly, electric cars get a discount

All of that to say, please pray about this. If you would like to help, please click here to contact us.

P.S. There are friends of ours that have recommended that we get a local, Chinese car, like a Geely. I’m still looking into that. However, even with that cheaper option ($4000-6000 vs. $8000-10000 for a Ford Escape), we cannot afford one that would be in any kind of good condition.

A Productive Quarantine

I hope y’all are all doing ok. I know that America is getting crazy as the election gets closer, riots are moving through the streets, and everyone still has quarantine fever. Katya and I have done our best to be as productive as we can during this period. I want to give you a preview of how that’s been.


I finally found a type of construction that I really enjoy! I’m sure I look strange to American eyes, sawing concrete, but I had a blast filling in a couple of holes in our balcony’s railing. The blocks I’m using are called “gasoblocks” (or “carbonated concrete blocks”) in Ukrainian, so they are much lighter and less dense than normal cinderblocks. I was able to cut them in a way that I didn’t really need mortar for them to be very secure. However, once I shaped them all exactly how I wanted them, I took the entire thing apart and put it all back together with mortar and sprayed other holes with expanding foam.

Construction here in Ukraine is always a bit of an adventure. Mike Pratt can tell you – there’s always some nuance or element that Americans don’t think of, even with something as simple as putting up wallpaper! So, even when I ordered the materials online, I was concerned that I would miss something. Thank God, it went well.

David’s New Podcast

I started a podcast on YouTube and on Anchor.fm about missions life in Central and Eastern Europe called “David Snead Ukraine Missions.” The video above is my most-viewed episode, where David Markey and I talk about God’s amazing work in his and his family’s lives.

Ministry and Seminary Online

Katya and I have both adjusted to our studies being 100% online, with Zoom meetings multiple times a week (not just for seminary, but also for church ministry). I’m very proud of Katya – she’s learning and growing so much. Our church’s home fellowship (which is now being led by someone else) has also moved online, and our church services are just now starting to transition back to in-person meetings.

David started a new podcast!


We’re exploring many different ways to minister online, and one of those ways is to encourage other missionaries and folks back home through a new podcast, David Snead Ukraine Missions. If you would like an inside look about how missionaries are continuing ministry, connecting with church members, evangelising, and even figuring out the Lord’s Support online, check out the podcast. There are already two episodes.

There are three ways to get it:

Our church is changing how we receive support

Our church is changing the way that we receive support online. We’re hoping to make this as easy as possible for everyone. If you have any issues at all, please be sure to contact us.

Here is the letter that I received from Tammy Hole, our new missions coordinator at Horizon Indy:

Screen Shot 2020-04-07 at 16.18.23


Please note Horizon Missions is in the process of switching to a new online giving platform.

Your missionary support can be given to Horizon Missions the following three ways:

  1. Mail a check to Horizon Missions, ATTN: Accounting, 7702 Indian Lake Road, Indianapolis, IN 46236. Be sure to enclose a note saying “For David and Katya Snead”, so that it gets to us.
  2. Use automatic bill pay with your bank and they will mail us a check.
  3. Or through Electronic Giving – please follow the instructions here:

If you have never given through Tithe.ly before, but wish to do so now:

  • Visit https://get.tithe.ly/. Select “Sign Up Free”, then select the option for “Give to Your Church”.
  • Click “Give Online”, enter your email address and create a password, then click “Create Account”. Complete the fields for requested information.
  • On the next page, search for and select the option for “Horizon Christian Fellowship, 7702 Indian Lake Road, Indianapolis, IN 46236”
  • At the bottom of next page, select your option for “credit/debit” or “bank account”. Enter the requested account information.
  • Enter the amount you wish to give and select the specific missionary name you which to donate to. If you desire, you will have the option to set up your gift to recur as often as you wish. If you do not select this option, your gift will process just one time.
  • Select your payment type and indicate if you would like to cover the bank fees. Complete your address and click the green button to submit your payment.

If you already give electronically monthly:

Follow the steps above to set up your giving account in Tithe.ly and make your first donation. From this point forward, please do not return to Horizon’s old giving system. The old system will be shut down on April 30th. At this time, our website still points to the old system (Stewardship Technologies). Please do not use this access point to give.

If you give electronically with recurring transactions:

Once you have created your new giving account in Tithe.ly as outlined above, THEN log in to your account on our old system and cancel any future donations.

Once again, if you have any issues at all, please be sure to contact us or call Tammy Hole at the church office: +1 (317) 823-2349.

Feeling a little overwhelmed today…

Today has been a little hard with getting starting and getting things done. I sometimes struggle with anxiety, especially when I have a conflict with someone (don’t worry – it’s not Katya) that I’m not sure how to resolve, and when there are a bunch of deadlines or financial ups-and-downs that converge at the same time. That’s today.

Here’s a song that I wrote a couple of years ago on a day like today. Please pray for me, so that I can get through the day, make peace with folks in a godly way, and that God would provide for our financial needs. The deadlines are for seminary and for preaching this Sunday.

I’m writing a newsletter right now (please click here to sign up for our e-mail newsletter if you haven’t yet) about some of those things. It’s often hard to write newsletters on a day like today, because I always want to show just the positive side of what we’re doing here. That’s what people want to hear, right? 🙂 Anways – y’all can pray for that, too.