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    September 17, 2013

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Today was a very long day. Amazing, but so long. We started our day off by taking a trip to Ararat Valley. The Valley borders Turkey and on a good day Mount Ararat is supposed to look so crystal clear that it feels as though you could reach out and touch it. Today was not one of those days. We were instead greeted by a film of smog which would put the Los Angeles skyline to shame. No worries, we still lined up and took photos like a cheery group of tourists.

Then we were off to see Khor Vihrab. Shant was very excited as this has been a dream of his since he was a kid. When Marett, Tony, and I (Avo) arrived to the actual site, most of our group had already gone under ground. I saw my mother-in-law, Nelly, standing by the steps leading down to the dungeon refusing to go down, complaining that her head would spin. I have to admit at first glance down the flight of steps, it feels as though you’re about to descend into the pit of hell. But once you get going it’s less threatening than it looks. Once in the dungeon, I took a look around and thought, this isn’t so bad. It’s actually kind of nice and cozy. That’s until Irmen informed me that there were no lights when Krikor was in there. And I’ll leave it to your imagination to conjure up ideas about his less-than-ideal bathroom situation in his one room flat. At that point I thought I would have probably lost my mind within the first week. We closed our session in the dungeon by singing Hayr Mer in unison.

After a quick lunch, the group joined once again by members of Golgotha church went into three villages within the Ararat Valley for “prayer-walk evangelism.” My group comprised of Violette, Haikanoush, and myself went into Nor Gyank, a village full of orchards and vineyards. The heavy labor done in this village is shouldered primarily by women, as their husbands are in Russia working to send money back to their families. Today was hot and we walked upon dirt paths for what seemed like eternity before we encountered anybody. I have to admit, the idea of evangelism terrifies me. However, today I had a paradigm shift. We were invited into a home of a lovely young mother. We were served coffee and fruit that makes me wonder if the fruit back in the states have given up trying. We had the most wonderful time spending time with these people. Their spirits are so hospitable that it felt as though I were home. Jesus came in and out of our conversations with such politeness that one might hardly notice. Violette gave everyone a huge hug as we left. As we were walking back to our ride, I told Haikanoush, I really appreciated the way she did evangelism, how she never forced or coerced or even had an agenda. She told me, Jesus would not enter where he wasn’t wanted and for us to do otherwise would be misrepresenting Him. I love that. I could do that.

Around 6 we got back into Yerevan only to start packing supplies for the Wednesday and Thursday night Syrian-Armenian relief night events. We are planning to give away 180 very large bags of food, blankets, and toiletries to help loosen the load on a group of people who’ve lost close to everything. The fourteen of us worked non-stop for 3 hours carrying, counting, organizing, stuffing, and knotting until the work was done. It was hard work, but it was good work. And now it’s 2 am and everything hurts, but it’s a good hurt.

Written by Avo.

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