Sharing the love of Jesus Christ one person at a time.
We at Joseph Hovsepian Ministries are excited to share with you about our Montreal-based ministry, which encompasses five decades of involvement at Temple Baptist Church as well as personal outreach projects both within our own community and in other parts of the world.
The main goal behind all that we do is to share the love of Jesus Christ with as many people as we can, in whatever ways are within our means, and to help and support others who share this vision, working alongside them whenever we can. You can view our statement of faith here .
Pastor Joseph is back in Armenia this summer with his daughter Ann-Margret (August 8-29, 2017). To see what they were up to click here to watch the daily vlogs. You will feel as though you were a part of their trip.
There are also many photographs that were taken throughout their trip and you can take a look at the by clicking here.
Joseph Hovsepian Ministries is supported by individuals whose vision is the spreading of the Good News of Jesus Christ to as many people as we are led to by the Holy Spirit. This ministry is not supported by any organizations or other ministries but solely by family and friends.
Books and other materials are available for a free-will donation (to help cover printing expenses) or freely to those unable to make financial contributions. Click here to learn more.
We’re pretty much at the halfway point of our mission trip and today was our longest day, full of exciting and memorable blessings. We left the hotel around 7 a.m. and drove two hours to Vanadzor, the third largest city in Armenia, 128km north of Yerevan. Unlike most of the areas we have seen so far, Vanadzor is lush and green, high in the mountains (we saw snow on a far-off peak!).
In Vanadzor, we met with the congregation from Horom and were also joined by Susanna, a dear sister we have gotten to know over the last couple of years. Our Armenian-reading friends may be familiar with her Facebook group dedicated to sharing chapters from Pastor Joseph’s book, God’s Workshop. She has distributed many, many books for us and today took home a couple of heavy packages of more books to give out. We are thankful for faithful friends who help us reach people we’d never come into contact with ourselves.
Our day was dedicated mainly to equipping the friends who do a lot of the hands-on work of distributing Bibles, New Testaments, gospel tracts and devotional books on our behalf. In the morning we went to pick up hundreds of books (purchased or printed by Joseph Hovsepian Ministries, with the help of our donors) from one of our brothers and took them to the home of another family that helps us.
We had some sobering conversations about the severe challenges many families here face—not only the financial hardships that are easy to spot but situations of grave abuse that are not apparent to the casual observer. We have spoken to many young people who are despairing about their futures, feeling hopeless about employment, marriage, health and any kind of real happiness.
Some mission trip days lend themselves to many stories and pictures to share. Other days, we need to keep the conversations closer to our hearts because of their sensitive or personal natures, and we need to guard the privacy of those we’ve spoken to.
Today our focus was more on counseling and encouraging. While the day wasn’t busy with activity, we feel like we covered a lot of ground in offering moral and spiritual support, and we continued to learn and grow, too, through these interactions. We also took some time to plan for the next few days (for example, we will be picking up Bibles and books tomorrow morning).
Here’s a personal reflection from Ann-Margret: It’s really, really, really hard to find anything to complain about when you hear other people’s stories, some of them so tragic it hardly seems possible.
It’s shameful, the stupid issues we bicker about in North America when we have so much to be thankful for, so much comfort, so much freedom, so much stability, so many resources and opportunities. And yet… we waste it all trying to fight for MORE rights, MORE comfort, MORE affluence, MORE recognition. Sigh…
Everyone should spend at least one week in a part of the world that is under some kind of REAL oppression, not oppression we create in our imaginations just to have something to whine about. Spend time with people who don’t have a bathroom in their ramshackle home. Spend time with people who work for five months without seeing a paycheque. Spend time with people who live in -25C weather for 100 consecutive days with only a small space heater. Spend time with people who have been repeatedly beaten almost to the point of death and are still able to speak with gentleness and grace. It definitely puts things into a bit of perspective.
We had a bit of a surprise today: a poignant moment for our family. We have cousins in Yerevan and had agreed to accompany them to a cemetery to visit the gravesite of our great-aunt, who passed away a few months after last year’s mission trip. We felt that ministering to those who are grieving fit well with our purpose for being here. What we did not expect was to also see the tombstone of our grandmother (and great-grandmother) Dikranouhie, who died in 1974. This was the first time any of our Canadian family had been to her burial site and it was a moving experience for us.
It was also interesting to see how different the cemetery was from what we’re used to in Montreal and to learn about the different traditions here. Later in the evening, we learned more about life here in Yerevan and the challenges of doing ministry when we bumped into one of the missionaries we work with. He operates a taxi service for tourists and has many opportunities to interact with the different ethnic groups that visit the city. We appreciated the stories and insights he shared about presenting the gospel to people.
Tomorrow we will be meeting with at least one family and hope to be an encouragement and support to them. Please pray that we would have wisdom and discernment as we plan the rest of our days here. On Thursday we will rejoin the group from Horom, but in another village, for a day of worship, teaching and fellowship. Pastor Joseph will also be baptizing a couple of people that day. Other than that, we are moving forward day by day in faith, responding as best we can to the Lord’s leading. Thank you again for your prayers!