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    September 20, 2013

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Today eight of us packed our bags and headed another unknown adventure to Aghveran.

Our meeting point was at the “Crossroads” inter-varsity office where we had to meet and go over camp details with Lilit and Kathryn, (a missionary from Germany, fluent in Armenian, Russian, & 5 other languages).  While waiting there for our vans, we wandered to some of the neighborhood stores where we bought a lot of food and snacks to help us have something to eat with our various food sensitivities.  As we shopped, Viken took over, and became like a child in Disneyland as if he has never seen Armenian grocery stores or Armenian food.  After almost 2 years of a strict gluten-free diet, he has become a breadaholic.  He bought lehmejunes, boregs, breads, cookies…enough to feed 20 people.

The vans finally arrived already loaded with some campers from different churches. We were placed in one Russian made van that was pretty beat up and old, only we didn’t realize how bad until we hit the road.  Viken and I sat in the front next to the driver, Mesrop, a genuine man from one of the villages.

The other 2 vans took off fast but ours was struggling, huffing and puffing making all kinds of weird noises not to mention the drivers’ door that kept opening up every five minutes and he had to repeatedly slam it shut all the way there with a completely calm attitude. His seat belt was loosely hung over his shoulder & not fastened because the buckle was broken, so I pulled his seat belt and held it tight in case we lost him in one of those door opening episodes.

Half way there, he pulled over for gas and asked us all to get out.  When I asked why, the response was that there was always the danger of explosion during re fueling!!!!!! Great!!!!!!! So we moved as far away as possible from the van.

We got on the van and started driving again when shortly after we heard a loud deflating noise along with strong smell of gas, he pulled over again, worried this time, and  urged us to quickly jump out of the van.  He opened up the hood and got busy with tools that kept falling down and flying up while we prayed for dear life and safe arrival.  The road from then on was very steep and I’m sure we would get there faster on foot than inching upwards in that so called van.  At the next upward turn, help was waiting, another van, to carry half the load up, hallelujah !!!!!

The campsite was an absolute piece of heaven.  The hillside covered with beautiful fall colors, cottages spread out up and down the hills, music playing all throughout the open fields, cozy seating areas under trees.  After leaving our stuff in our assigned cottages, we headed to our meeting hall where we met the group of 65 young boys and girls ages 15-25 from different churches.

Tony along with Marett and Carina was in charge of the overhead projector and all the games and activities.  I almost don’t recognize my own son!!!!!!  When did learn how to work the video/sound equipment????  He is so comfortable in this new environment and with his limited Armenian language, he had the microphone in his hand and instructing the group with games, cracking jokes, & making comments!!!!!!!!!!!!! The funny thing was that everyone understood and even laughed.  They really seemed to be to be enjoying themselves and even seemed to like him despite his overgrown beard and loose basketball shorts and flip-flops.

Taline and Jen, as usual did an amazing jog of leading the worship and Marett and Karina were doing a great job of running the games and trying their best to not look out of place and straining to understand this difficult dialect with a sweet smile on their beautiful faces.

The campers were an amazing group of kids on fire for the Lord.  Shant , despite some struggles with his health, gave an awesome message and everyone seemed really focused and seemed to enjoy it.

— A journal entry from Irmen’s time at the leadership camp.

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