Friday, September 13th @ 9:05pm our team of 14 people embarked on what felt like a world wide scavenger hunt. There was a pretzel stop in Munich, a strudel stop in Vienna, and an all out bus hunt in Armenia. Like most scavenger hunts, there was a lot of fun and excitement mixed in with a sense of anticipation. In Munich, we enjoyed the beauty and refinement of the airport shops & restaurants…so much in fact that some of the team members almost accidentally decided to stay there. At 7:05pm (our listed boarding time) several of our group members returned to realize that most of the passengers for our flight were already on board, and the gate would be closing in 10 minutes. After anxiously waiting for several minutes, Pastor Shant told everyone to go ahead and get on the flight while we waited as long as possible for signs of the remaining 4 missing team members. It came down to within about 1 minute of the gate closing when the last 4 missing team members barely squeezed though the gate and safely onto leg 2 of the trip. We all breathed a sigh of relief to see all 14 of our group on that plane! Compared to that, the 2nd, & 3rd leg of the trip was fairly uneventful. We didn’t lose any people or purses; we didn’t even lose a bag which in and of itself was a miracle.

The biggest miracle of all, however, was our own personal visit by an angel… in the form of a bus driver. I say this a bit tongue in cheek, however, his appearance truly was a miracle for us, and I imagine a much less pleasant arrival if he had not been there. When we all came into the terminal, we were anxiously looking out for signs that said ACFOC, or Panorama Resort (our amazing condo…another miracle for another time), or ANYTHING that let us know that someone had come to take us to a bed and a shower. We looked, we waited, we looked some more, waited, some more, and finally, seemingly out of no where Neshan, Viken, Avo, & Shant found a man who was waiting for 15 Americans…we were 14 but that was close enough at the prospect of getting to our destination. All our luggage was loaded, we were on our way, there was only one problem. Nothing in any of the details fit what we were told would happen with the busses. First of all, the man didn’t seem to truly know who he was picking up or where they were going. Second, there were supposed to be 2 vans, not one large bus. Finally, we had to search for him- he didn’t seem like he was looking for anyone! So, it was with quite a bit of nervous prayers that we were on our journey. I am pretty sure that there was an audible cheer as we pulled up to our location and our nice “heavenly visitor” drove away. So what, you may be wondering, is the miracle in all of this?

*Shant received a call this morning, OUR busses (yes 2 of them) had apparently heard we were coming tomorrow and had not showed up. That means that had that mystery bus driver not come, we would have been stranded at the airport until we were able to figure something else out. I definitely feel very sad for some group of 15 Americans, but I THANK GOD for our angelic bus driver.

As all good Armenian events go, we ended our travels in our condos which came equipped with fully stocked fridges with quite the Armenian feast. Sojuk, eggs, lavash, cheese, fruit, varunk, and reportedly the “best loligs anyone has ever tasted”. It was an ending filled with joy at finally being in Armenia, and wonder at God’s great provision and unending love for and protection over us.

(written by Jen)
*As best interpreted by Shant’s grasp of Eastern Armenian 😉

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