God is our Hope and Future
Our dear Aglow leaders of Armenia, Ruth and Ruzanna, have sent an update on their travels to Artsakh to minister to the people healing from the recent war. God did miracles as they traveled and ministered. Continue to pray for this nation and people as God restores and gives them hope for the future.
Here, in Ruth’s words, is a report of their trip to Artsakh:
Thank you for your ongoing love and support for Armenia and Artsakh and the ministry that the Lord has called us to. We have been on a trip to Artsakh from February 18-22. It was quite an adventure and it would take many hours to actually describe all that God did. We have prepared a small written report. We hope you will be blessed by this!
We were in war, attacked by Azerbaijan and Turkey from September 27-November 9, 2020. Starting from this period up to 75 days, we had refugees from Artsakh staying with us in our home in Yerevan, Armenia. Families we knew through our Aglow ministry as we visited Artsakh to build relationships since 2002.
These days together were something like the Kingdom of God coming to earth. We lived together in peace and harmony with 25 people of all ages and backgrounds. It was the love of God that knit our hearts together and we were able to comfort one another and pray and believe together in unbelievably horrible times.
When these families went back to Artsakh, they kept inviting us back to them. They made a surprise visit to us during the Armenian Christmas holiday. They said it was our turn to visit. The men volunteered to come take us and return us back home if we were willing to come. We agreed to do so and the day was set.
On this trip, we were four people: Ruzanna, Keghani, Christina and I. Ruzanna brought her violin and was leading the worship during the meetings. Keghani being a trauma therapist had prepared very professional seminars in helping people cope with and heal from trauma. Christina was with us to observe and to make videos and take pictures of the trip. I was coordinating the trip details and the different meetings with the onsite people. I was also leading the meetings with Keghani and Ruzanna in bringing the spiritual and biblical perspective on the subjects we were discussing.
Some days before the trip, people were trying to discourage our travel because the weather forecast was saying that there would be a snowstorm. Even the drivers had their reservations but we could not manage to change the dates and prayed and trusted God for the rest. There were many prayers before and during the whole journey and this gave us courage to just forge forward. As you will see, it was all worth it because God was in it and it was all about Him and His Kingdom…
Thursday, February 18 - We were supposed to be off in the early morning hours but were delayed. On the way, there were drivers coming from the opposite direction saying the roads ahead were icy and uncrossable in certain areas. We continued on and only found roads that were smooth and without any difficulties. After seven hours on the road, we arrived at the first Russian checkpoint. They did not like Keghani’s passport because of her Canadian address even though she had an Armenian passport. We could not convince them to allow us to continue and no human intervention worked. To make a long story short, it seemed it was God’s will that we arrive in Stepanakert, and His angels helped us through and we were at our destination after 12 hours of traveling. We went through the most dangerous part of the journey in the dark and with heavy snow and it seemed like a normal and easy trip. Only God can organize that.
Our brave brother Armen was the driver who kept a very positive attitude throughout this ordeal and kept us laughing with his overflowing humor. We were greeted by all the families who were in our home during the war. They were waiting all day for us and did not go home until we arrived safe and sound. It was a joyful time.
Friday, February 19 - We went with our Aglow sister, Gayane, who is working as a social worker, to different potential project sites. Many of the people are starting projects for provision and healing. They are dreaming for their future. Here’s a list of the projects they hope to begin soon:
- Project 1 – Chicken Farming, producing chickens for all Artsakh and giving them to farmers
- Project 2 – A Greenhouse
- Project 3 – A Cultural Center for events and ecotourism
- Project 4 – Painting on ceramics and clothing, goal to open drug rehab center, book shop
- Project 5 – A Bakery opened by a 17 year-old helping family as father recovers from war
- Project 6 – Drone building and photo studio, giving teen boys a skill
- Project 7 – Knitting small dolls and making bedding
In the evening, we visited the home of our sister Zemphira who has a home group meeting for women. There were about 30 women waiting for us. We all encouraged them from our hearts and I shared a message called “Standing on Christ, the Only Solid Ground”.
Saturday, February 20 - We had two meetings for women at the younger Gayane’s house who was hosting us during our stay there. Keghani spoke about healing from trauma with two groups of women. I spoke about being Pursued by the Goodness of God.
Sunday, February 21 - The same two groups of women came. For the first group, Keghani continued to speak about healing from trauma through changing the way we think. I continued by speaking about changing our thoughts from a biblical perspective. With the second group, Keghani spoke on the same subject and it became a long discussion as some women had lost their husbands in the war and needed to express their sorrow. After these meetings, many women said that they were greatly helped, and in some cases, healed.
Monday, February 22 - We set out on our journey back to Yerevan. The Lord helped us through all the check points without difficulties. Our brave brother Arthur brought us home safe with God’s help.
To conclude, we can surely say that this was a good beginning for our trips to Artsakh. We know that we are needed and people are waiting for us. We experienced God’s miracles throughout and are continuing to see the results by the following responses. People are now writing and reaching out to us and we are doing our best to make ourselves available to talk with and encourage them. God willing, we will go back. For now, we are waiting for a visit by some of the families towards the end of March. We will pray and see when the Lord shows us is our next visit.
This is the time for the Kingdom of God in Artsakh and we do not want to miss this chance. With your prayers, we will succeed. Thank you for all you have done already.