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Armenia

"The people who met Noah"

Not many of us manage to visit Armenia at least once. But sometimes "Armenia" can visit us. Thanks to the conference with George Murray in Rivne, two brothers from Armenia have visited Ukraine. They told us about implementing the service in their home country and what are the needs there. 

 

Artak, what could you tell us about Suren in one minute?

Earnest servant, loyal friend, who loves God, who will always help or come in time. As a teenager he was a bully. And before repentance, and after it he loves friendship. For the sake of friendship he could give his life. Before believing he had quarreled with friends and left alone and then God spoke to his heart. Far friend had invited him to the film "Jesus" and there God touched Suren. Initially he had been disappointed about the fact what he had, and in the church he saw a real friendship and followed Jesus. He was 13 years old.

 

Suren, and what you could tell about Artak?

Artak is a friend, he loves family, he is hospitable and sacrificial. Artak's elder brother – Arthur had repented and called Artak in church (it was in Ukraine). But he initially didn't want to go there. Then Arthur said: "Can you help me in church by playing the accordion?" And Artak started going to play. So it lasted half a year. Artak was listening to the Word there. One time, pastor asked the audience: "Who wants to repent?" Artak put accordion behind, went up to pastor, tapped his shoulder and said: "I want."

 

Artak, how did your Christian life developed?

I was appealed to children's ministry in 22 years. The club calls Awana. I was a mentor at the camp, then even the director, and Sunday School teacher. In 2004 my elder brother Arthur invited me to participate in children's ministry. Six months I helped him in Armenia, we were founding Sunday schools, day camps and stationary camps. Eventually I realized that I would stay at home and now I've been serving here for 10 years. Last 5 years I fulfill pastoral duties and coordinate children's ministry. Now, taking in consideration camps, ministry covers about 100 children.

I have so far (laughs) 4 children: 3 girls and 1 boy. Irina 8 years, Jeremiah 6 years, Mary 5 years and Milana 9 months.

 

Suren, and what about you?

In 1998 I began to study and simultaneously served in the Bible League from 2002. In 2001 I was the coordinator of "Heart to Heart" or EE (Evangelism Explosion). In 2003, when Arthur arrived, I joined the service of the IPO "Hope to people." I was involved in missionary service among Kurds. And in 2004 a church in Avsharov appeared. Then, 2 years later I began the service in Armavir. In 2010 I was ordained to pastor-missionary.

I am already 14 years in marriage. We have two sons, 12 and 6 years old. Senior – David, and jonior – Mark. Wife – Gayane.

 

What other peoples live in Armenia?

Yezidis, Assyrians (very cunning, they are Catholics), Molokans, Greeks, Russian, Ukrainian.

 

By what percentage, at least approximately, the country is covered by Gospel?

On the north the Ararat valley region, Armavir, more the South and the South-west (Persian border) there are almost no Churches and Christians. In Sisian there are many pagans. In Goris, Kapan and Meghri already are spiritual things, although there are no churches. In the South, in Nagorno-Karabakh Churches are already there. And, in general, 70% of Armenia are covered with evangelism.

 

What you need to know about Armenians, and what should people be like if they want to travel to Armenia (and/or become a missionary there)?

You should know the culture, the language, have love to people, be hospitable, not official, sociable and always with a sense of humor (laughs). Armenians shouldn't be trusted much. They do not like when they are trusted at once. This, they say, can be taken as an advantage.

Clear boundary between girls and boys. This applies to clothes, makeup. The girl has to be not too active in communication, not teaching the guy. Even in Parliament there are only a few women, but they are not taken seriously.

This attitude is the same to the guys with long hair, with earrings, with "goat" beard – these will not be listened to.

It is not accepted, that the young man would teach an adult. Although, in principle, they do not like when they are advised, but the like to prompt. 10 people will be watching a man cutting down trees and prompting him, but noone will help.

 

What other cultural traditions are in Armenia among different peoples, to which you must be careful when you come?

"Holy bed" – dead parents bed. In the bed lies a snake skull. They come there every morning to worship ... If you touch it, you will be unclean, will be treated badly.

About Yezidis. Men and women communicate and eat in different rooms. Even weddings are hold separately, i.e. men and women, as well as husband and wife are in different rooms.

Yezidi girl in 13 years is already married. In 17 years, she is already considered an old maid. At the wedding, you need to throw an apple from the roof to get to the head of the bride. The more pieces, the more happiness. This is because of Eve, who eat the forbidden fruit.

They live in families for 3 generations.

 

And how Armenians and Yezidis coexist?

They respect each other when they come to the "foreign" territory. Because of mutual respect there is an obstacle to share the Gospel. Like, we have our own religion, and you have your own.

 

What are your plans for the future ministry?

In November, we want to make the trek. We need to connect Yezidi teenagers. We want to renew Yezidi ministry in Armavir region. This is due to finances. To get there, you need to overcome a long way. The ultimate goal – Yezidi church. We want Yezidis to come back to Armenia, because all are leaving because of the economy and the war. There is tension with Azerbaijan because of "robbed" Nagorno Karabakh. It is 370 km from Yerevan. Stepanakert is capital. The same had happened to Crimea in Ukraine.

 

Does Armenia send missionaries?

In Iran, then Turkey. They kill Christians. Missionaries translate Bible or Christian resources. They convey something to the point "A" to point "B". In Iran there is rigid Islam. Therefore, Christians gather in small groups. Nobody knows what is church. Armenians visit their homes and teach them the Bible. One of the actions carried out in Iran was the transfer of 300 Bibles three years ago.

 

PS.: There is "noncanonical parable" about Noah moored to the mountains of Ararat was met by Armenians...

Pray for Armenia

• for strengthening of our churches;

• for new church in Erevan, for the trip in Karabah;

• for summer events and baptism;

• for new ministers;

• for minister’s families;

• for finance to repair building in Armavir;

• for finances to visit missionary locations;

• for Bible College “Ararat” (students, teachers, finances);

• for our trip to Ukraine in July-August;

• for Natasha’s health.

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