Warm Greetings from Snowy Armenia

(Excerpts from letters about service the Yazidi Kurds)

Impressions from a trip to Ukraine

At the end of January, two brothers from Armenia were hugely blessed by the Lord to be able to go to the annual Missions Conference at the church Community of the Good Shepherd in Rivne, Ukraine. They had a good opportunity to share God's work among the Yazidi Kurds and Armenians. It's of great value that many people aware of this ministry, worry and pray for it.

“During the conference, brother, Michael Trubchik, left an indelible stamp in the hearts of ministers – the humility and meekness in his approach to the ministry made a great impression on brothers. We thank God that there is such a role model of faithfulness to the Lord nowadays.

Also, we became more acquainted with the history of Hope to People mission, as well as with the circumstances and difficulties that were there throughout the years. It was especially interesting to hear how the Lord helped people to start the ministry here, how the first missionaries came around and left their families in order to go to the far off places, dedicating themselves to serving Jesus Christ. We also had a blessed fellowship in small groups both in Rivne and Zdolbunov.

The meeting with children appeared to be very unusual and encouraging. During the role-playing game, we were trying to come off as pagans, and Sunday school students played their part as the missionaries who came to preach the gospel to us. We talked with the children about all kinds of wrong beliefs that people, who live around us, adhere to, and they had to explain why it was wrong. Children are taught from an early age how to defend their faith. After all, they had an opportunity to pray together — that was God's special grace.

We also visited other friendly churches in west of Ukraine. They saw with their own eyes how the Lord touched the hearts of our brothers and sisters in Christ, prompting them to assess their lives.

Our testimony about how hard it is for a pagan to come to know Christ, and what the one might go through as a result, encourages and prompts Christians to pray for the nations that have not been reached by the Gospel all over the world.”

There was one worth noting situation in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk, as the pastor of the church there has arranged a meeting with one woman, who wanted to get brothers to talk to her son, a drug addict, and eventually her son did not show up. But what has made the story interesting was that later on a neighbor came by and the brothers had an opportunity to share the Gospel and share about God's work with all those people. At the end of the conversation, they offered to pray a prayer of repentance, and the woman ended up giving her life to Jesus Christ. What a miracle of God! Following the prayer, she asked for the pastor's phone number and became willing to come to church, even though she lives pretty far from the church. As Christians, we should understand that there are no days off or time out for us because the Lord always sends people our way, who desperately need a relationship with Him.

Another sister from the church has invited brothers over for lunch to her place. Actually, she was familiar with one Yazidi, who sells fruits and vegetables at the store, so they stopped by to meet him. We hope that next time there will be more time to communicate with him and his family. In fact, this Yazidi guy is looking forward to having them over, too.

As the brothers were waiting for the session, and still had a few days before starting their studies at the Rivne Bible College Word of Grace, they managed to get their checkups done in the clinic. Brothers are grateful to the family of Andrey and Tanya Ukrainets, who took care of them helping to go see various doctors. One of the brothers needs treatment, so please pray for his health.



Study at Bible College

On February 6 through 15, brothers studied the subject of “Hermeneutics,” taught by Masato Funakoshi, pastor from Japan. Brothers were especially encouraged by what they’ve heard about the wholeness of the Bible and, the covenants that the Lord made with different people in different periods of human history.

In the spring, brothers had a class on the New Testament overview. There was a lot of useful historical information that will enable them to be more effective in their ministry. The brothers are thankful to the Lord for a great time of fellowship and mutual prayers with other students.

While being in Ukraine, brothers were able to visit several churches in Kyiv, Sarny, Rivne, Zdolbuniv. We see how the Lord does encourage churches to pray for the ministry to the Kurds and Yazidis and there are people who are ready to go there and help them to run a Children's camp in the mountains. The Lord is great!

Last Sunday, brothers celebrated the Easter as the God's Church got together. The Lord also kept their families while they were away.

Visits to Kurdish Villages

“In February, there was a lot of snow in the mountains of Armenia. It's almost impossible to drive through or even walk after a heavy snow falling. Sometimes, there is so much snow that we cannot even gather the children for Sunday school. A lot of children get sick due to weather conditions. We visited one family and prayed with them. Pray for a possibility to meet with children in the future. During the winter, the weather is often unpredictable, so it is difficult to come together on a regular basis.

On March 1st, we did not feel like we have the spring in Armenia at all, the villages in which we work were covered with snow. We are grateful to the Lord that despite the bad weather, we were able to visit people who happily wait for us and their homes are open.
Brothers have brought portable radio speakers with Bible audio recordings from Ukraine, so we rejoiced along with young people who will be able to hear the Word in the mountains with their flocks.

We are grateful to the Lord for the support of our brothers and sisters from the mission of Audio Vie Belgique who have blessed people in the mountains with solar-powered speakers. Now, people are able to hear the Gospel in the setting where there’s no power. In addition, even the illiterate people who find it difficult to read can hear about the Lord. This is a great blessing!”

Our ministers keep meeting with men in the village of Sh., where the Kurd people study the Word and pray together. At one of the meetings, they studied two opening chapters of the prophet Jeremiah.

Once in a while, the Lord gives an opportunity to go to the public bath (sauna) together with the Kurds and Yazidis. Actually, this is a great time since it makes it possible for the men to converse there, as well as to bathe because most of the men come from the mountains and do not have possibility to take a bath at home.

The Lord once again showed us that there are no coincidences in the life of believers. Brother J. was driving from one village to another and picked up one guy on the way. As usual, they began to talk. It turned out that the man was from a family which is vehemently opposed to other religions. Brother J. began to testify about the true God, saying that his family also needs the Gospel, because they themselves created so many laws they cannot fulfill, and as a result experience heavy burden. On the way, brother J. suggested that this young man should give his life to Jesus Christ and he agreed. They stopped the car on the roadside and prayed. As we know, heaven rejoice in the salvation of one more soul. After all, the young man came by the brother's J. house and brought up many questions about the Yazidism. Hearing the answers, he became thirsty for the Word. We are grateful to the Lord for His grace! Pray for this young man that his faith will grow.

Please keep praying for the closed to the Gospel Kurdish and Yazidi villages and that several children from these villages will be able to come to a Christian camp in June for the first time.

“We visited the city of Vanadzor several times. There, we built good and warm relations with several families. During the New Year holidays, one family consisting of a husband, a wife, and two boys, desired to pray with us about reconciliation with God, understanding their need in Him. Now they need support and encouragement. We are thankful to the Lord that we can be a good tool in His hands.”

This month, brothers have visited Kurdish and Yazidi villages again. The head of one of the villages told our brothers that some tourists came to them, that they spoke English, and no one understood them. Sevak and brother J. went to talk to them. They found out that the tourists were a husband and a wife from Netherland and they travel around the world by their car, and this time got to Armenia. So, they live in the car and try get acquainted with different cultures. Maybe the Dutch couple did not even expect to meet a representative of a pagan Kurdish nation in the Armenian mountains, who would share the Gospel with them. The brothers shared with them their faith in Christ and, the local people treated the European guests on a national dish “khashlama” (cooked sheep meat). Local people sang in Yazidi and the travelers sang along in Dutch.

We are grateful to the Lord that He, by His great mercy, continues His work among the Yazidi Kurds.

Material was prepared by Nina Parvanyan and Tatyana Arterchuk