Amidst the ongoing destruction in Ukraine and Israel, and the aftermath of war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, ministry continues. SGA’s Senior Vice President of Ministry Operations, Eric Mock, recently returned from a trip to Armenia. He witnessed firsthand how God is working through His people to care for ethnic Armenians who have fled the Nagorno-Karabakh region and are struggling to build new lives for themselves in Armenia. Read more from his report:
Hello dear friends,
I realized I did not give you an update on our dear friends. It was one of perspective. Unlike the ongoing destruction in Ukraine and Israel, we are ministering to those forcibly removed from their homeland. Their hopes and dreams, their businesses and places of employment, the places where they raised their kids and themselves were raised, all gone. The churches, their buildings, their legacy, gone. In a moment, 150,000 people were asked to restart their lives, but with little to no family support system nor opportunities.
Two things happened. First, churches in Armenia took refugees and now see they might not be leaving for a long time. We visited a church plant where 15 refugees were taken in. One was Nelly (she is in the picture, wearing purple and reading her Bible), who is a faithful believer who walked through the mountain by herself to make her way to a bus. Arriving here, she knew no one… no one except the family of God. She told the taxi, take me to the Evangelical Church! And the taxi driver knew where it was. Aid that we provided has been used in part to minister to these people. There at the church they hold a Bible Study one per week for the refugees, and two women have come to faith. They were not there at the time for us to meet them, but their stories are being sent to us. One was named Anahit, who was a member of the church and fervently opposed to the Armenian Baptists. She experienced the love of God in her time of greatest need, heard the Gospel and now believes. Hardship was the medicine she needed for her hard heart, followed by a steady dose of love and the hope of the Gospel. When she came to faith, Asatur said her face glowed with joy.
The other thing is that three entire churches were uprooted, moved near here and are trying to reform. In fact, Pastor Garnik and his church were the ones we previously assisted in purchasing potatoes and getting food the people who were surrounded and cut off with nothing to eat. Now they have re-gathered their church and even found a building to rent and worship. There they take food to those in need, and over 20 unbelievers now are coming to worship with the fifty that made the journey. And since re-gathering, people have also come to faith. We will attempt to gather their stories tomorrow.
So, they are not embattled any more, there is no new flow of refugees, but these refugees with nowhere to go, and these re-gathered churches living out the Great Commission, need our help. Please do start with prayer.