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To serve the Church among the Slavic nations of the world by assisting it to become fully equipped to fulfil the great commission of Jesus Christ

A Life Saved to Serve


Irina 1

Can you remember the first class you translated in?

This was a question posed to Irina Gancear a few months ago when she was interviewed about her memories as a translator at the SGA Mission school in Balti, Moldova – and this was her response: “Oh yes, those kinds of things cannot be easily forgotten!”

Translators are a vital ‘component’ in the Mission School teaching programme. Effective translators, as well as having good skills in language, must also have good character and a strong walk with the Lord. Assisted by the Leadership Support programme, Irina has been translating in the Balti Mission School for 8 years now. In those years she has displayed these qualities to an exemplary degree.

Irina was born in Moldova, but spent much of her childhood in Ukraine before returning to Balti. She did not know God when she was young, but says that her grandmother planted Gospel seeds in her heart. Later she attended a Christian camp and was challenged about the need for a personal relationship with Christ. She had tried so hard to be ‘perfect’, but at camp learned that only Christ is perfect, and that she needed to repent and trust Him. “Freedom and joy came after accepting Jesus” says Irina.

Irina in ClassWhen some time later she was diagnosed with a serious illness, there was a big problem. Irina’s family could not afford to pay for the expensive treatment which she needed. However, her Sunday School teacher who was a translator for Slavic Gospel Association, shared this need with the mission, and SGA provided finance to help meet this cost of her treatment.

After her recuperation, her Sunday School teacher (also named Irina!) encouraged her to come to the SGA school and ‘have a go’ at translating. Irina says, “I was excited, but also very nervous because I knew how important and serious handling the Word of God was.” And that first class? “Oh, it was a disaster! It started well and then the theological terms started appearing!”

Irina’s Sunday School teacher was a good mentor and she encouraged Irina to persist. So that first lecture “did not become my last” says Irina. She was motivated to keep going, to use her considerable linguistic skills, and eventually to become the main translator for the school. Irina’s slight build and gentle personality belies her strength of both character and body.

Her translation ministry is exacting – seven hours of lectures each day for two weeks at a time, plus translation of notes, preparation of PowerPoint outlines, weekend translation duties for SGA teachers as they minister in the churches, business meetings, and communication with SGA staff by email. Irina is certainly ‘worth her salt’!

She has a message for the believers in the UK. “My heartfelt thanks for so many years of prayer and commitment to my life. Please continue to remember me, and especially that my father will come to faith.”

In the interview with Irina it became clear that here is a young life which exemplifies everything that SGA seeks to achieve - lives transformed by the power of the Gospel. Irina’s life has been influenced by camp ministry, the preaching of God’s Word, and the teaching at the Mission School which she has heard and translated over the last eight years. The financial help for Irina through SGA’s Leadership Support Programme has brought rich blessing to her life, and through her ministry of translation blessing and encouragement to the lives of many others.