By Pastor Joseph Hovsepian
In 2008, after my wife and I went to Armenia, I had no thoughts of returning three years later. I also did not think that God could and would use me in any meaningful way in Armenia; or at least I didn’t think I was qualified enough. I used excuses similar to the ones Moses used: I am not young anymore, I don’t speak Eastern Armenian well, I am the pastor of an English-speaking congregation, I… I… I… etc. But God had other plans for me and for my daughter Ruth.
Three years, many prayers, and many phone calls and e-mails later, I felt God’s call to return to Armenia for another visit, but I still hesitated until I got a phone call from Arayik asking me to go back. He said that at least 24 people wanted to be baptized, some in Spitak, others in Stepanavan and Yerevan.
He also told me there were new cell groups being started and the outreach was extending outside Armenia. So I decided to return with my elder daughter Ruth so she could help me and also see the mission we have been supporting.
On September 13, we left Montreal and arrived in Yerevan almost a day later. The next morning we started visiting some of the people that I had visited in 2008, as well as some relatives. While visiting some poor and sick people, Ruth said: “Dad, Ann-Margret [her sister] should have been here with you. She is the writer; she could have written a book about the people here.”
But God had sent the two of us there and we had a mission. Our mission was to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to as many as we could and also to encourage and help the leaders who have so much work to do but so few to help them.
Before I left Montreal some people gave generous donations to help the poor and needy, as well as the missionary and the church we support there. All the expenses for the mission trip, the help given, and the Bibles that were purchased (about 300) were paid by private funds and gifts; these expenses did not tap into the church’s Missions budget, which supports three overseas missions: Bangladesh, Philippines and Armenia.