All-Armenian Evangelical Youth Conference: Day 5… Aug. 6, 2018

Hayr Minas warmly greets the youth in the left chapel of Etchmiadzin (6 Aug. 2018)

Our time in the capital city has drawn to a close, and we have shifted our base of operations to the AMAA’s Sheen-Shoghik Camp in Hankavan, in order to begin the retreat portion of the conference.

But first we paid a visit to the Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin, where the Rev. Father Minas Hakhverdian guided the entire group into the cathedral, still under renovation. There he congratulated the AMAA on it’s 100th anniversary, and exhorted the young people to continue in the faith of their ancestors. He offered a prayer for them and a word of blessing before leading the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Finally, he opened the treasury and the museum for the youth to see.

Here are some thoughts from a participant from Brazil, Sabrina Sirabonian:
“I feel I am experiencing what my grandparents talked about during all my childhood: all the stories, the landscapes, the people. At the same time, I am able to reflect and realize that this is who I am, no matter the place or time.

“Today we went to Etchmiadzin. How incredible it is to be in the first Armenian church in the world? My favorite part was the little museum situated inside the church. Each detail, each cross, and tapestry fascinated me.”

Eventually the group reached Hankavan, and later in the evening gathered for worship, led by a youth/leader band, an introductory message from Rev. Mgrdich Melkonian, retreat director, presenting the retreat theme: “Continue in what you have learned” (II Tim. 3.14). Pastor Aram Babajanyan presented the first Bible study on II Timothy, ch. 1, highlighting the special relationship between an elderly mentor and a young servant of Christ facing hardship.

Sabrina’s overall reflections are telling: “Armenia feels like I am walking around family members all the time… it feels like home away from “home”. God has been showing me so much through the leaders on this conference and also through the other participants. His faithfulness never ends, and me being in Armenia today is a proof of that. I am having the opportunity to meet and build relationships with many young Armenians from around the world, and sometimes it feels like I have known them for a long time and not only four days.”

Rev. Nishan Bakalian