Perspective can be a moving target, especially when traveling to a foreign country. So as we approach a week since our last dinner with the brothers in Armenia, there still seem to be many ebb and flows of thoughts to process about our trip. First, we would like to give thanks to our Savior, Yeshua the Messiah for provision, a safe journey, and His Spirit leading us into new connections with brothers there. We would also extend our appreciation to the many brothers who sacrificed to send us out with a love offering to those laboring on a very difficult spiritual front.
Leaving on the 13th and returning on the 20th, it was sixty some hours of travel with about five useful days on the ground in Armenia. Opposition came from many fronts. One in particular was at check-in in Charlotte, where the CSA agent was confused concerning COVID-19 testing for entry into Yerevan, and was adamantly opposing us.
The US Embassy, etc. just wanted us to test upon entry into the country and did not require testing before travel. The woman’s supervisor came, calmed her down and actually looked up the requirements on the US Embassy page. Voilà, shalom restored.
From worldly requirements to spiritual ones, as Yeshua bids us to “Come and see!”; one of the primary things we desire to obey is to bring back Joshua and Caleb’s news rather than the other ten guys reconnoitering the land. In other words, we would like to understand the spiritual battle from Elisha’s servant’s perspective versus our own.
A Lebanese Armenian brother, Ara, met us at the airport and stuck with us during the whole trip in country. He brought a level of comfort to Kalim with an ability to relate the various aspects that were similar and those in contrast to Lebanon, not to mention being a solid servant brother and multi-lingual to boot.
Struggling to stay awake during a three hour church service the next day, one of the main things that struck all three of us, was brother Solomon’s description of having to go through 150 bodies in order to identify his nephew who was killed in Artsakh. We were a mini-representation of Americans dozing while Armenians fight to survive.
The first breakfast at the hotel, a Persian-Armenian nuclear engineer from Dallas sat nearby; Benik was irretrievably drawn into our fellowship and spent time traveling with us and even shared a bit about himself at our last meal with the brothers.
Five of us, Gray, Kalim, Ara, Benik and myself met Solomon going up to Khor Virap. “Deep dungeon” is the pit that Christianity sprouted out of in Armenia in 301 A.D. A link on the Silk Road in the Plains of Ararat (Urartu), underneath where Noah landed, it is both spiritually significant and a bellwether for those with eyes to see and ears…
Probably one of the more significant highlights of our trip was praying for Benik down in the dungeon. One can sense the sacrifice Grigor made in his 13 years surviving it, the story of angelic visits, the woman throwing bread down a hole, and finally to be hauled up to pray for his persecutor’s deliverance in 301 A.D.… Like Joseph’s ordeal.
We spent time on the way up to Lake Sevan at a refuge for several refugee families, where Kalim prayed with them for salvation. Edik watches over them faithfully there. We met with several brothers that are shepherding His flocks amongst tribulation and wept with those who weep, and did our best to listen, encourage, and help.
Having arrived in Yerevan with no personal connections to anyone on the ground, other than recommendations and referrals; it was amazing how the Spirit gathered folks around the table at the culmination of five days. Elders that have served the body of Messiah from different camps for many decades fellowshipping together.
There was an awe inspiring spirit of repentance and grief over the sin of the nation, somber and real reflection on the need to return to our master Yeshua.
Many feel deserted by Christians and Christian leaders in the west, not to mention the Armenian diaspora at large. Yet the focus there was self-reflection, repentance.
One brother who was 70 had been imprisoned under the Soviets twice for some 12 or 13 years for his faith. He shared that folks have no cause to complain about the Armenian genocide when there is wholesale abortion going on in the country. He did not ask for recognition or sympathy, but rather spoke into us prophetically.
One can feel the lingering oppression and damage that Marxist ideology wrought in the country, and how hard it is to free folks, even believers from the vestiges of it. Concurrently it causes real grief for how “Christians” in the west vapidly buy into it. When will we realize that innocent blood cries out to Him from the ground?!
I believe all three of us return with a good report that He has faithful servants in the land of Noah, doing a good work; that we need to continue to reach out and lift up their hands as they fight an existential battle with the forces of evil.
When the west ignored the Armenian Holocaust in the early 19th century, Hitler saw an opportunity to wreak havoc on the Jews and others… History repeats itself. What’s going on there today should give us pause and bring us to repentance too.
Again, we thank Yeshua our Messiah for allowing us to go and bear witness of the awesome work that He is doing today, even as the days of Noah approach, we ask You Lord to open our eyes to see and our ears to hear what the Spirit is speaking… In His mighty name, amen.
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5016 Knobview Trail
Winston-Salem NC 27104
If you are interested in going on the trip please contact
Kalim Andraos directly at 336-682-6004