All-Armenian Evangelical Youth Conference: Day 4… Aug. 5, 2018
After a night of kebab and Armenian dancing, it’s hard to tell one group from another, which is the way it’s supposed to be (5 Aug. 2018)
The day began with joyful worship and Holy Communion at eight different Armenian Evangelical churches. These Armenian Evangelical churches were blessed with the opportunity to receive God’s Word from eight pastors who are part of the youth conference leadership team. The presence of the youth was a special blessing to the churches as well, and a couple of them offered greetings to some of the congregations during their worship services. It was humbling to hear how ECA congregations have already been faithfully praying for this youth conference, as have so many others throughout the world.
Each of the churches in the union in Armenia has a special calling and strives to relate to those in its immediate area, whether children or pensioners, families, handicapped, or whatever the situation. One of those churches, in a poor neighborhood of Yerevan, is called “Huysi Tun” (House of Hope). It truly brings hope to its surroundings, with after-school and Saturday crafts programs for children, and an active prayer ministry.
Prayer already holds a central place in the lives of many of these young people. One young lady from Armenia, who was hit by a car a few days prior to the start of the Conference, told her pastor that she was determined not to miss it. From her hospital bed she insisted, “Don’t take my name off the list!” Badly scraped, but with no broken bones, she trusted God to heal her, and was there at registration the very first day.
The afternoon was souvenir-shopping time, and groups of young people went this way and that, mostly to the Vernissage open-air market, trying out their bargaining skills.
Sunday evening was the one and only “fancy” dinner for the conference, at the “Nayiri” restaurant. The food was overabundant, and the atmosphere was celebratory. The deejay kept almost everyone on the dance floor, featuring lots of Armenian dancing. Those with no experience were joining in the circle and dancing as if one huge family. Eventually even the leaders were dragged onto the dance floor! A fitting celebration, in anticipation of a shift of gears in the program as we prepare to check out of the hotel tomorrow.
– Rev. Nishan Bakalian