Michael and I are back in Armenia. We flew back on Friday and today we celebrated the old New Year (January 14th according to the Julian calendar) with our church family. Michael gave a sermon on resolving to walk in God’s way in this New Year from Psalm 1. We are so glad to be with our church family again. We felt in their prayers and in their conversations an uncertainty, a trepidation of the unknown future which made us hurt inside and made us pray that we can be strengthened to strengthen them.
One of our ladies has a son who is serving as a soldier at the front. Her son, only 19, is serving in deep snow and face to face with the enemy. Encouraged by the constant aggressive talk of their leader and their captains, the Azeri soldiers are constantly prowling the front and surveying and terrorising the Armenian soldiers. Another of our ladies had just waved her 19 year old nephew off to two years of conscription yesterday. She was struggling to fight back the tears as she told me of one young conscript who had died of a heart issue on his way to his conscription – he should never have been sent, but I guess lack of men meant that he wasn’t checked as he should have been. Today the Armenian news is full of the story of a young man who died manning his post due to the extreme cold, he was lost in the snow and when they found him he was too late. He came from an area just a few minutes from our headquarters. Poor young men and their poor families. The prayers in our church reflected these sorrows and also the unknown future. Julietta dadig (grandma) came rushing up to see me, she was so grateful that God had enabled us to come back soon. She said “I’m so glad you came back, I want you to come and visit me and bring me a warm blanket as I’m cold, and I want to have coffee with you.” (Julietta’s family of three live in such a small flat that we all can’t sit together when we visit). Brother Ashot (with his disabled daughter Ellen) shook Michael’s hand over and over. “You won’t go again now brother will you? You will stay with us now.” Ashot is very ill with serious kidney issues and yet cannot leave his disabled daughter to go and be treated himself. They are so dependent on the church family for help and encouragement and fellowship. Anna who lives with her two mentally disabled daughters came to shake my hand and to ask if Abigail (my daughter) had enjoyed the dried fruit that she had especially made from her fruit trees and sent to her. She said “I am so grateful to you all, we are warm as toast in our room with the wood you have given.” Dear brother Ara and his wife came to shake our hands. “I prayed that you would miss us soon and come earlier than normal,” he said “and God heard my prayer.” Trial, insecurity, loneliness and uncertainty.
But then what a joy they had during the singing “He will hold me fast, For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast.” Michael emphasised over and over in his message that the future unknown is in God’s Hands as is our every moment and our entire lives.
After the meeting we had a fellowship lunch which was so joyful and uplifting and then all the children gathered for the first Bible club of this year! “My God is so big! – There’s nothing my God cannot do!” I so love seeing these children sing. I wish you could have heard them today. The hall was full and the singing was wonderful! Please pray for these precious children as the year’s clubs continue and they look forward to summer camps. Pray that they get to know Jesus as their Saviour and their dearest Friend.
Pray also for the church family. This week we restart weekly Bible studies (Thursday) and ladies meetings on Tuesdays.
Tomorrow we are back in the office!