I haven’t mentioned it on my blog until now but many of you already know that I’m getting ready to go to Armenia next Tuesday for a three-week mission trip with my dad.
POP QUIZ! Where is Armenia? Many people have no idea so here’s a quick look at where it’s situated. Yup, it’s pretty small!
This will be my first time in Armenia (my dad’s fourth) and my first time outside of North America since 1984. (I know…crazy, eh?) That time, our family went to Greece (where my father was born) for three weeks. I was only 12 then so I didn’t really enjoy being away from the familiarity and comfort (okay, and calmness) of home for so long. (I guess I was already a homebody!)
This time, I’m excited. I’ll be stepping out of my comfort zone for a big chunk of time but I feel like God has been preparing my heart for this. In the last five years, my father (with the support and encouragement of our family and also our church members) has been working with local pastors in Yerevan and surrounding villages to share the gospel (we’ve printed and distributed more than a million tracts, plus Bibles, New Testaments and copies of my dad’s book, God’s Workshop (translated into Eastern Armenian)) and to disciple new believers through home Bible studies and mentoring relationships. It’s a very exciting story but too long for me to share all about it here. If anyone wants to know more, please visit our family’s ministry website: www.josephhovsepianministries.com. We’ll be posting reports about our trip under the “What’s New?” section.
We’re taking two suitcases full of donated clothing and reading glasses and look forward to sharing these with families in need. Among other villages, we’ll be visiting Spitak, the area worst hit by the 1988 earthquake that devastated northwestern Armenia. Two earthquakes (6.9 and 5.8 magnitude), four minutes apart, took place on December 7 and were followed by aftershocks for months. An estimated 45,000 people were killed in the earthquake, 15,000 were injured and 517,000 were left homeless. Twenty-five years later, Spitak has not recovered and many families live in broken-down homes that are not much better than small shacks. The population today is only about 15,000.
Here’s an example of a home in Spitak:
Our three weeks in Armenia will be jam-packed with speaking engagements for my dad, a baptismal service he’s been asked to officiate and visits to various families, so I won’t be able to get online very much. Still, I will try to post a few blog updates. I am sure I will have lots to tell you and many wonderful photos to share!
Those of you praying for this trip: Thank you!