Please be praying for our friend, Ira Zakharova! She is right now on her way to Stanytsya Luhanska, a city that is literally in the warzone.
You may recognize the word “Luhansk” from the news. That is the capitol city of one of the Russian-backed, puppet “republics” that are rebelling against Ukraine. She won’t be there. Stanytsya Luhanska is in the Luhansk region, not the city. It’s about 20km from Luhansk itself.
Ira will be serving there with Sasha Andriyashyna, a name that anyone who’s been in Ukraine for some time with Calvary Chapel should remember. She is one of our favorite translators at the big conference in May. Here is a picture of us with Sasha:
Sasha has been serving as a military chaplain in Stanytsya for some time. Ira will be in Stanytsya with her for at least until the summer and will be working with Youth For Christ to serve the teenagers there.
Ira is a long-time, good friend of ours. She and David served for a couple of years together at New Horizons. This picture above is from a VBS at the church with David (in the cowboy hat with the guitar), Katya to the right in the red bandana, and Ira to the right of her in the purple bandana. She is one of our most trusted friends, and it’s going to be hard not being able to see each other every once in a while in Lviv.
Ira felt the call to serve people in the warzone at the very beginning of the War with Russia in 2014. When they shelled civilian areas in Mariupol, a city in the south-eastern part of Ukraine, she went there on a missions trip to serve the people in the aftermath. Since then, she has had many opportunities to travel there on short term trips, and God has slowly confirmed His calling for her, especially over the past few months, to go and live there now.
Ira is what we would call a high-caliber missionary. She serves with excellence, works hard, and is motivated to get things done. She loves the Lord and honestly tries to serve Him the best she can.
So, please pray for Ira! For safety, for ministry opportunities, for culture shock (living in the East, especially in a war zone, is very different from living in Lviv), and for her to be able to show the love and light of Jesus Christ there. Please also pray for opportunities for us to come and serve her and support her in Stanytsya Luhanska.
If you would like to support Ira financially, please click on the contact us link above to send us an email, and we will work something out.
Here are some more pictures of memories and projects with Ira that we have done over the years.
David and Ira were on a ministry team together in 2010 to serve in North-Central Ukraine. We still talk about that trip sometimes.
Ministry teams from different churches hanging out at Michael Pratt’s house in 2011.
On one Sunday, when David didn’t have a backup vocalist at church, Ira filled in… this was probably the one and only time she’s sung in a worship team… right Ira? 🙂
We (David and Katya) put together a retreat for the youth and young-career-aged at New Horizons in 2013, and Ira was there.
Serving on a missions trip at an orphanage in 2014.
This is a conference that Ira and David had a big part in organizing for the Calvary Chapel churches in Western Ukraine in 2014.
Hanging out at the big Calvary Chapel conference in Kyiv in May, 2015.
Traveling to the Carpathian Mountains together one last time before she moved to Stanytsya Luhanska this year.
Ira, we love you, will miss you, and hope that you will be able to visit us (and that we could visit you) someday soon!