TRAVELING TO AN ANCIENT LAND
A few weeks ago, many of you attended the 9th annual “Windows to the World” event at Meadowbrook Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. It was a special evening of sharing the stories God has been writing through BrookLink. You have played a part in writing BrookLink’s story and for that we are forever grateful.
Next month, for the first time, I am traveling to Yerevan, Armenia. The opportunity to train and teach Christian leaders in this part of the world is both humbling and astounding. I’d like you to meet my friends, Stephen and Rozik Kashian. I met this amazing couple in 2013 and learned of their medical outreach ministry in their home country of Armenia. Last year, Stephen and Rozik invited BrookLink to travel with them to Armenia to equip and train pastors and church leaders. On June 13, Terry and I will join the Kashians, along with Pastor Keith Doyle and his wife Kerry on a mission to Armenia. Read what Rozik has to say about her home country and learn more about the ministry partnership with BrookLink. We invite you to pray for us as we GO!
“Situated along the ancient trade routes of the Great Silk Road, Armenia is a small, mountainous, landlocked country that boasts a storied history longer than most other European nations. It is here, at Mt. Ararat, that Bible references indicate Noah’s Ark came to rest after the Great Flood. And it is also here, in A.D. 301, where Gregory the Illuminator established one of the earliest Christian civilizations.
Armenia prides itself on being the first nation to embrace Christianity as a state religion, and today the former Soviet republic remains defined by its many religious sites. The rich cultural heritage of Armenia is its treasure, and through its people, it has survived centuries of political upheaval, the tragedies of war and genocide, and a 1988 earthquake that killed 75,000 and left hundreds of thousands homeless and poor.
On Dec. 7, 1988, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck northwest Armenia, followed only a few minutes later by second shock of 5.8. The town of Spitak, at the epicenter of the disaster, was virtually leveled to the ground within 30 seconds, and four principal towns and 58 villages (40% of Armenia’s total territory) were severely damaged. At the time, Armenia was already at war with Azerbaijan, and with many hospitals, electrical and water supply systems destroyed, the sheer scale of devastation was far greater than the tiny country’s ability to respond.
There’s been a Christian presence in Armenia ever since two of Christ’s apostles, Thaddeus and Bartholomew, evangelized this country. These apostles were subsequently both martyred in Armenia. Armenia then was re-evangelized in 301 A.D. by a missionary named Gregory the Illuminator. The golden age of the church was during the time of the middle ages of Europe. For many centuries, the church often had to go underground, secondary to outside invaders.
Most recently, while part of the Soviet Union, the believing church was underground. They, the believers, often worship in the woods or in abandoned cemeteries. After independence in 1989, the Evangelical Church was no longer persecuted and there was a significant revival. With the rapid expansion of the church, there has been great need for teaching of both pastors and their congregations. Also, recently many ethnic Armenians from Syria have escaped to Armenia because of the civil war in that country, who need to be ministered to as well.
Armenian Relief Mission, led by Stephen and Rozik Kashian, is partnering with BrookLink to provide solid Biblical teaching to pastors and lay leaders of this fast-growing church. The people are hungry for God’s word, and cherish times of teaching and learning.” ~Rozik Kashian
Please pray for safe travel and pray that His Spirit will move before us and through us as we minister. We covet and count on your prayers.
C. Lee Heyward