Շուրջ 20 ժամ ճանապարհորդությունից հետո վերջապես ապահով հասանք Հայաստան: Բոլորս էլ հոգնած ենք, բայց անհամբեր սպասում ենք գալիք օրերին:
Շուրջ 20 ժամ ճանապարհորդությունից հետո վերջապես ապահով հասանք Հայաստան: Բոլորս էլ հոգնած ենք, բայց անհամբեր սպասում ենք գալիք օրերին:
Մեր ծառայակից ընկերներից շատերին, ինչպես այստեղ Կանադայում, այնպես էլ Հայաստանում, ծանոթ կհնչի Լիլիթ Մանթաշյան անուն-ազգանունը: Լիլիթն արդեն մի քանի տարի է սերտորեն համագործակցում է մեզ հետ, զբաղվում է մեր գրքերի, ավետարանչական թերթիկների, ուղերձների, զեկույցների, նամակների թարգմանություններով: Նա հավատարմորեն աշխատել և ծառայել է այս ամբողջ ընթացքում, այդ իսկ պատճառով վերջին երկու տարիներին մենք աղոթում էինք ու խնդրում Աստծո առաջնորդությունն եւ օրհնությունը Լիլիթի հետ մեր համագործակցության մեջ:
Վերջերս Տերը բացեց դռները, որպեսզի նա գա Կանադա և մեզ հետ միասին ծառայի ՛՛Թեմփլ՛՛ մկրտական եկեղեցում, որով հաստատվեց, որ դա Աստծո կամքն էր և Նրա ծրագիրը Լիլիթի կյանքում: Եվ մենք շատ ուրախ ենք, որ նա ապահով հասել է Կանադա նոյեմբերի 19-ին: Լիլիթը կդառնա մեր հայալեզու ծառայությունների առանցքային օղակը, ինչպես նաև կներգրավվի այլ ոլորտներում: Այսուհետ ավելի հաճախ կտեսնեք և կլսեք նրա անունը, քանի որ նա կապ կհաստատի այն մարդկանց հետ, ում հետ մենք աշխատում և ծառայում ենք, և նրանց հետ, ովքեր դիմում են մեզ գրականության եւ տեղեկությունների համար:
Առաջիկա շաբաթների եւ ամիսների ընթացքում դուք ավելին կլսեք մեր ծառայությունների և նոր նախագծերի մասին: Խնդրում ենք աղոթել, որ Տերը շարունակի օգտագործել մեր ծառայությունները, որպեսզի Հիսուս Քրիստոսի ավետարանը քարոզվի բոլոր տղամարդկանց, կանանց և երեխաներին ինչպես մեր համայնքում, այնպես էլ աշխարհով մեկ:
Yesterday we said that our report was the last one for this year’s mission trip… but we forgot that our plans and God’s plans don’t always match up! During breakfast at the hotel this morning, we caught the attention of two women when Pastor Joseph spoke to one of the kitchen staff in Greek. The younger woman approached us and asked if we were from Greece. We explained our background and it turned out that she is from Montreal, too! The other lady, her aunt, is from Cyprus. We left them with four of our tracts (in different languages) and a business card, inviting the younger woman to come and see us in Montreal some day.
We then had someone visit us to say good-bye, after which we dropped in on our cousins for a final meeting. We ran some errands before heading to the home of one of our ministry partners for another good-bye. Outside their door, we met one of their neighbours, a woman they have been witnessing to and who was happy to hear more from God’s Word. Pastor Joseph counseled her for quite a while and prayed with her, and we gave her a tract, too. What great opportunities to continue to plant seeds!
The last thing we did before packing our bags is say good-bye to another family that came by the hotel to see us, and now we are winding down. We need to be up at 5:00 a.m. to head to the airport and then it’ll be at least 16 hours before we are home, sweet home. So, thank you again for all your prayers!
By God’s grace, we completed our last day of ministry in Armenia for this year! We had a long day—two churches services in different parts of the city and two visitations in eight hours—but we feel blessed by all the opportunities we had for worship, fellowship, teaching, and encouraging. Pastor Joseph was urged to speak at both services on the same topic he preached about last Sunday: Running the Race. It’s a message all believers need to hear.
We did one visitation en route to the afternoon service, in response to an urgent plea to pray with a family going through a hard time, and the second visit was on our way back to the hotel, when we dropped by someone’s workplace to give some words of encouragement.
We are here for one more full day and will probably have a couple more brief meetings but mostly we’ll be preparing our suitcases for the journey home and trying to rest, so this will be our last report. Once we’re settled in back home, we’ll organize our photos into a slide show for those who may be interested.
Once again, we appreciate your prayers over the past three weeks and ask that you hang in there with us for the next 48 hours. We look forward to returning home but will definitely miss our beloved friends here.
Today we were out for about seven hours and visited seven homes, meeting with a total of 28 people (including 3 small children). We can’t possibly go into detail about each of these visits but, in each home, we listened as struggles were shared, we offered spiritual guidance as needed or requested, we prayed with the families, we left them devotional books and we offered practical help as we were able to. The needs are endless so we always pray for wisdom and the direction of the Holy Spirit.
If you have followed our past mission trips, you may recognize some faces in our photos and videos. We also met some new people today, including a dear 96-year-old man who was an Armenian hero in the Second World War.
Though we were tired as we headed back to the hotel, we were in good spirits and our group began joyfully singing hymns. What a blessing to serve together in God’s kingdom!
When we reached our rooms, we found that Emmy had kept her promise to meet with the young woman who lost her legs in a car accident (she travelled 60km to see her) and give her our literature and some help. Unfortunately, our time here is limited and we cannot visit everyone who would like to meet us, so we are grateful for faithful friends who will continue to do outreach and discipleship long after we are gone, working on their own as well as in cooperation with each other.
Please pray for Pastor Joseph as he prepare to speak at two different churches tomorrow. We look forward to the times of worship and fellowship. God bless you all.
Since our first visit to Sayat Nova a few years ago, we are always eager to return to this village, about half an hour southwest of Yerevan. Pastor Joseph has baptized a few people from that village and it was nice to reconnect with one of the families and make some new acquaintances. One lady in particular had sent word a couple of weeks ago that she wanted to meet with Pastor Joseph and she was able to join us with her daughter. It was a good opportunity to answer some great questions about what it means to be born-again, about heaven and hell, etc. It also gave us joy to see that Annie, a young teen we have taken photos with in past years, is still faithfully reading her Bible and sharing her faith. You’ll see in the photos that Sayat Nova is one of many poor areas in Armenia, with challenging living conditions. However, the believers there inspire us with their joy and gentleness.
The rest of the afternoon was spent meeting with or talking on the phone with our ministry partners here, making further arrangements for outreach, visitations, book and Bible distribution, and so on. Pastor Joseph was also able to offer some counsel over Skype to someone who had a few questions.
We hope to do some more ministry tomorrow as we also prepare for Sunday, which will be quite busy. After that, we’ll be getting ready for our trip back home on Tuesday morning. Your continued prayers encourage us. Please pray, too, for the people we meet and reach out to.
We had another busy day, driving all over the city and nearby villages to visit families desperate for an encouraging word and God’s touch in their lives. Please pray for these five situations we encountered today:
If we shared a full video compilation of today’s visits and prayers, it would be too long, but we hope that these clips give you a glimpse into the wonderful ways the Lord is working here. We would not be exaggerating if we said we’ve been astounded by how many people have received and are responding to our devotional books and are eagerly reading the Bibles and New Testaments we provide. Thank you for your continued prayers!
Knowing that the next few days will be busy with visitations and that Pastor Joseph will preach at two different churches on Sunday, we spent today taking care of business, so to speak: running errands, purchasing supplies, planning our next meetings, etc. We also stopped by the print shop where our devotional books have been printed and our friends there were delighted to see our team. Those are the only photos we have from today but we’ll be back tomorrow with more video and, no doubt, interesting stories to share.
We have five full days left. Please pray that we will be fruitful and effective in our outreach. Thank you!
Condensing today’s experiences into a few paragraphs seems impossible. We visited three families and witnessed varying degrees of poverty and hardship, but also different levels of understanding about God and the Bible. We tried to visit a couple of others but the timing wasn’t right. In between two of our visits, we stopped at a beautiful Apostolic church for a quick look. There, we met an Armenian couple visiting from Crete and immediately befriended them (Pastor Joseph was born in Greece so the connection was natural). We hope to stay in touch and share our faith with them.
One thing that really struck us today was the contrast between the opulence of the state church and the dire conditions of some of the homes we have visited. It was a good reminder that beautiful buildings are nice to look at but they do not ultimately meet the basic needs—physical and spiritual—of people. We, the Body of Christ, need to be the Church and reach out to those around us. To that end, we’re grateful that we were able to meet with these families, talk to them, pray with them, and leave them books and Bibles. (One family was so embarrassed about their home that they were reluctant to let us take pictures. We were able to take a few, however, and feel it’s important for our supporters to see the needs of those they are helping us help.)
Before heading to the hotel from our last visit, we stopped at another church—an evangelical one—and dropped off more copies of Pastor Joseph’s books and also gave two Bibles to one of the deacons who does a lot of outreach in his community.
Please continue to pray for our work here as we approach the end of our mission trip. Thank you!
In yesterday’s report we mentioned being moved by the faith of a blind gentleman at the church we visited. As if to continue on that theme, today we had the opportunity to be humbled and blessed by a 10-year-old blind boy. Our friend Emmy arranged for us to go to Gor’s home where we also met his mother and 12-year-old sister Annie.
Gor lost his sight from complications during childbirth and dreams of seeing one day. . . and becoming a famous singer! With his sister snuggled close and supporting him, he courageously belted out three songs for us, in Armenian, Italian and Russian. He also plays piano but didn’t want to play for us because he felt ashamed that three keys on the piano are broken. Gor also read to us for a while, mastering difficult words as his fingers swiftly skimmed over the Braille in his book. Surgery for Gor is a possibility but would be very expensive.
When Pastor Joseph engaged him in a conversation about life after death (the article he partially read to us was titled (roughly) “German Scientists Prove There Is Life After Death”), we were pleased by his insightful comments and questions, as well as by how easily he and his sister listed the Ten Commandments when quizzed. Before leaving, we gave copies of our books and also offered a small sum to the family to help with immediate needs. We parted with many hugs, knowing that we will not soon forget this dear family. Please pray for them.
We spent our last day saying our final goodbyes and picking up some of our favourite chocolates from Grand Candy. It was a mostly relaxed day as my grandfather wasn’t feeling 100% and the following day we knew we would be up at 4:45am to start our 15 hour journey back home.
I’ve been truly blessed to be a part of the 2016 Armenia Mission Trip and everyday I look forward to the next time I can return.
I kid you not, I tried to find a way to be left behind in Armenia. 😉
Our second to last day was spent visiting two different church groups. The first group gathers together every Sunday in the small home. Today there were over 40 people in attendance, not including the children. The second church my grandfather preached at was filled with many young people, which we all agreed was very encouraging.
I’m really sad our trip is ending, but we have one last day to enjoy!
Knowing that these are our last visits on this trip makes me sad, but I know I’ll meet them again one day.
Anyone who knows my dad will notice that this is his doppleganger! We got such a kick out of it and it was definitely a memorable evening.
Today was such a great day, we visited with two families that I have come to love very much and in the evening we visited for the last time with some family that I met for the first time while on this trip. I am enjoying every single moment that is left of this trip, wishing that time would stop so I wouldn’t have to leave.
As our trip is quickly coming to an end, we are making our last few visits. Today we visited with my grandpa’s first cousin and then went to visit a family who’s son is the boxing champion of Armenia. All the beautiful paintings you see are done by the father.
We started our day with a visit from a journalist here in Armenia and then later headed out to see a young girl who my grandfather baptized last year. We spent several hours with the family at their home where they asked questions and spent time learning new things about the bible.
Today was a really exciting day! We drove over two hours to our first destination where everyone had a little picnic, from there we drove at least another forty-five minutes and pulled over to the side of the road, walked down a steep and slippery metal ramp (sorry no footage of this as I feared dropping the camera into the creek below), down to an area where it was decided the baptism would be held.
This is by far the hardest day we had in Armenia. We had many visitations and with each stop we learned about the troubles of each person. And it’s sad to say, there are many more situations like these.
There was a lot going on and it was very difficult for me to express the emotions going through my mind and honestly I don’t think I will ever truly will be able to. These will always be difficult memories for me to revisit.
To quote my grandfather, “Even though there are many suffering families and people, and though we can’t help them all, we try to help as many as God helps us to. Our main mission is to bring the good news and the gospel of hope to hundreds of people through visitation and speaking to them in small and large groups and also through tracts, books and bibles we purchase.”