Day 5 – Witnessing

On Monday, we drove to the town of Ashtaruk to visit a family where the head of the house, Jora, is an unbeliever. His wife, Shusana, and daughters (Gayane and Marine) have been praying for their husband and father for a long time. In 2008, dad had visited this home when the Shusana was the only one at home.

On this day, her husband, sister-in-law (Laora), two daughters and one son-in-law (Hovannes) were all there. The have a wonderful ‘akey’, a garden with all kind of fruit trees and 4 chickens roaming around. Quickly the table and chairs were set up in the garden and a bountiful harvest of fruit were placed on the table.

As we sat in the garden and enjoyed all these wonderful fruits dad and Arayik had the opportunity to speak about how life changing it will be if he were to accept Christ as His Lord and Saviour. There was a lot of give and take between the men while you could see prayers on the lips of the women. These women have been praying for their father, wife and brother for a very long time.

At a certain point Arayik went to the car and brought the Chick Publication “This Is Your Life” in Armenian. He went through the booklet one page at a time, reading and explaining. Everyone in that garden listened attentively.

When Arayik finished reading the question was put to him. Would you like to pray? Very simply he answered, “No”. You could feel the heartbreak of those who love him so dearly and pray for him. He cannot give his reason. But he knows the truth and he must make this decision on his own.

His one daughter and I sat side-by-side and she held my hand so tightly that the blood stopped flowing. Women in Armenia do not easily speak up but you could see the passion in his daughter as she begged her father to have a change of heart. There were tears in the father’s eyes and yet his heart has been hardened through the years. He once was an active member of the communist party.

We left there with mixed emotions. We rejoiced to be able to sit with others who believe as we do and to hear their testimonies yet there was a dark cloud.

back row: Hovannes
front row left to right: Laora, Marine, Shusane, Gayane, Me, Dad, Jora

We headed to Oshakan the burial spot of St. Mesrop Mashtots creator of the Armenian alphabet. Mesrop Mashtot was a 4th century monk who invented the alphabet which is still in use today with almost no changes.

Our next stop was in Ohanavan to visit one of the oldest churches in Armenia. The Hovhannavank Monastery in situated atop a steep gorge.

We rushed back to the hotel to quickly change and join the whole Hovsepian clan at a restaurant. Dad planned this reunion to give us an opportunity to meet and get to know everyone in one shot since our time here is so short.

The cousins all together. There are a few missing who came later.

Those who know the Hovsepians or want to see more pictures of the reunion the pictures can visit an on-line album: The Hovsepian Reunion in Yerevan, Armenia.