18 July 2009 by romanin
on Monday this past week, nick and i were in the dining hall signing in and i noticed that there was a list for students who were part of the “eastern europe tutorial.” well, nick and i really love the people in eastern europe and russian speaking countries, so we were talking about how great it’d be if a few of these students in this program spoke russian. being the somewhat impulsive person i am, i asked the dining hall supervisor lady if any of the tutorial students spoke russian. she said that she didn’t know for sure, so she’d ask for us and come find us if she found anyone who spoke russian.
5 minutes later, i feel a tap on the shoulder and she said, “he knows russian…” OH! umm. ok. so now there’s this man standing in front of me and nick is behind me, so i quickly tried to think of the least intrusive thing i could say in the moment…
it turns out that this man was an armenian believer (all the students in this tutorial were believers) who, like most other armenians, spoke russian! we were so excited and started talking with him, telling him that we had been studying russian all of this past semester and that we had forgotten a lot since we hadn’t practiced in a couple of weeks.
before i say more about this act of God, let me introduce you to him.
his name is ashot. ashot is probably in his mid-30’s and he has been married for 4-5 years, to a lovely woman named jasmine (hasmik). he is the pastor of yerevan armenian evangelical baptist church (yerevan is the capital of armenia), a growing congregation in a bustling urban city.
after we made our introductions, ashot asked if we wanted to eat breakfast with him. so we ate breakfast with ashot (his wife was in armenia and didn’t come to this tutorial program, so ashot had been by himself the past 5 weeks and this was the last week!). we ate and we talked and we talked…
the talk was what captured my heart. right away, nick and i felt like ashot’s kindred spirits because within the first 20 minutes of conversation we were talking about how people in our families came to the Lord and how we got to be in China, and how the Lord brought Hasmik ashot’s life, on and on. i felt like we had been ashot’s friends for such a long time. our conversation was so blessed and beautiful. we challenged each other with the trials of being believers, not of this world. we were truly communing like brothers and sisters do because of our solidarity in Christ. it was truly a wonderful breakfast.
well, we left breakfast with a lunch date with ashot that same day. so we ate lunch. again, wonderful conversation about the Body and our trials and joys as believers. ashot told us that in armenia if you want to know who is born again, you ask them not if they’re a christian, but if they are a believer.
we saw ashot a few other times in the dining hall that week and found him on thursday to see if he could go out for coffee friday night. we wanted soo to spend more time with him before he left for his homeland. oh, how we had gotten to value him as a friend and a dear brother. we shared coffee with ashot at la spiazza, a nice little coffehouse. we went to ashot’s apartment to see pictures of his dear wife and his brothers and sisters back home. we saw what the Lord is doing in armenia and it was moving. we learned about the duduk (google it if you want to know), a beautiful reed instrument of armenia that is 3,000 years old. the melancholy drone of a duduk is what you hea on the gladiator soundtrack. it is a sad instrument that represents a sad history–armenia’s long and difficult history. heart-wrenching tunes. armenia is a beautiful country. may God shed His light on its torn beauty.
i think it was the first time i fel such a strong connection with a believer from another culture and country. and i knew it was because of God. it was awesome too, to see nick’s interaction with ashot. they were like tight brothers who laughed at the same things; who talked about the Lord with a zeal that no one but Jesus would ignite. they had such a dynamic and i was so excited i got to observe it all.
God’s sovereignty brought us together with an armenian brother who believes firmly in the sovereignty of God.
it’s funny. nick and i said that we would stay in the states for 2-3 years before we went out of the country again. i thought God’s plan for us to have international relationship was on hold for awhile. little did we know “it” would start 1 month after we’ve been in the states. God has a sense of humor. he sees the desires of our hearts and combines that with his perfect timing. the result is something beautiful.
we pray for ashot as he is on his 20 hour flight back to yerevan. we hope that God will bring our paths together sometime in the future before our reunion in heaven. we hope that we will be able to fellowship and worship in ashot, our friend’s church. a future in armenia/eastern europe? the seeking begins.
Ashtvats oshne kies. God Bless You. the Armenian version…