Day 2 – Good News

Today I woke up around 5:30 a.m. after having gone to bed at 1:00 a.m. Last night it took me almost two hours to write and up load yesterday’s post. Internet speed is not the best here but I am grateful that I can post regularly from the hotel lobby.
After breakfast we met up with Arayik and headed out to visit another cousin. Anahid (dad’s 1st cousin) is married to Hyak and they have three children. Two of the three were there today, Shushane (20 years old) and Ervand (17 years old). They live in a single family dwelling, I felt as though I had stepped on to a movie set. Their home has not been upgraded in anyway since Communism fell 20 years ago. What money they have goes towards their very basic needs and tuition fees for their son. The daughter is unable to attend college since they do not have the extra money. No one in the family really works except for the odd job here and there.

Even through all these hardships their hospitality is heart warming. The coffee table was laden with fruits and sweets. Haik had actually baked the sweets, baking is how he passes time.
After all the pleasantries were done, dad opened up the subject of salvation. The kids were ready to talk and asked questions. For almost an hour dad and Arayik explained what being saved meant. One example that was used seemed to hit home.
You are presented with two glasses, one you know has “Fanta” and the other you know has poison which one do you drink? Without a doubt you would drink the glass with Fanta in it. We know there are only two roads one leading to heaven and the other to hell. Which road would you take?
Ervand has attended a youth group run by an evangelical Pastor and has a good grasp about things. Shushane also understood what was being explained. Both are mature and knew what had to be done. Shushane was the first to stand and decide to take that first step. Ervand was a step behind her. As the kids approached my dad and Arayik the question was put to the parents. Are you ready to make this commitment? Both replied positively and stood as well to pray and make a commitment.
As I watched this amazing event unfold in front of me I realized that this was the outcome of faithful prayer on the part of my grandparents and my parents. My grandparents are rejoicing with the angels in heaven this day. Please pray for this family so that they grow and mature in their faith together.

Our second stop for the day was to visit a woman that is a relative as well (just not sure as to the connection) that while my grandpa Hovsepian was alive used to write to her. My mom took over the correspondence 16 years ago when grandpa died.

Her name is Takouhie Charchian and she used to be a doctor back in the day. Now she is not well mentally and physically. She lives in a dilapidated building with cement stairs leading to her home which are held up purely by angels. There are a dozen or so large containers piled in the front room used to catch water that leaks into the house each time it rains. Her home is tidy and clean but falling down around her. Please pray for Takouhie.

We stopped to visit St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in the Kendron District of Yerevan, the largest Armenian church in the world. This church is a commemoration of the 1700th anniversary of Armenia declaring Christianity as a state religion and houses artifacts. Initially, visitors could light a candle in the main building but it was decided that cleaning the soot would be too difficult in the huge space and they built a small building adjacent for visitors.

I don’t know how to explain this but when I travel I am not drawn to churches of any kind. I’ve always felt that these buildings took away from the purpose of worship. Too much extravagance. I am sure many of you are aghast at what I am saying. From the outside this massive building looks sterile, no greenery to soften the landscape. Upon entering the building rather then feeling a oneness with God I felt a cold chill down my back. I looked around at those seated and they stared blankly at the image of Mary holding baby Jesus. As they exited the building they would turn and face the alter and crossing themselves walk backwards out. This is done so that they do not turn their backs to the alter at anytime.

From there we headed to Arayik’s place where Nellie had prepared a lovely lunch. We had a wonderful time of fellowship.
We didn’t stay out too long today since yesterday had been a very long and the coming weekend is packed with activities. We were back at he hotel around 3:30 p.m. allowing my dad to decompress for a while and prepare for tomorrow’s baptismal service and Sunday’s sermon.
I have spent the afternoon and evening catching up with personal and work emails, writing in my personal journal, studying in preparation for the teen class back in Montreal and putting together this post.
We didn’t have any plans for the evening or for dinner. We are fed up (said tongue in cheek). Dad headed out around 7 p.m. for a short visit with Pastor Hovhaness. The church is a short walk down the hill from the hotel.
Let me give you a quick update on the waitress that I have been trying to befriend. As I sat and did my work today she walked by and asked to look at my Bible which was open on the table. As she looked at it I asked her if she had a Bible. Not only does she have a Bible but she also reads it. She does not attend a church but feels the importance of reading the word of God because it has so many important things to teach us. Unfortunately, I did not have an Armenian tract with me but tomorrow morning at breakfast I will be prepared.
My apologies for those who find these posts long. I do my best to try and condense the day’s events as much as possible.
Please pray for strength for my dad as he will be baptizing 30 candidates tomorrow in Spitak.