What Matters Most

Houry Barsoumian

by Houry Barsoumian
What is essential to survive? What is it that keeps a human being to go on? What is that one thing, that one reason to get out of your bed and start a new day?

These are questions that people ask themselves at different ages and stages of life, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. It does not matter if you are a child, a teenager, an adult or an elderly. What matters is to find the reason and to know the one thing that matters most in order to go on.

We hear a lot about people or encounter them in our daily lives and in our communities who have everything yet they are depressed because they are not able to find that one thing that matters most in their lives.

Children have a lot of toys, games, iPads, Xboxes, Wiis, yet they are not happy and furthermore, they are bored. Teenagers have all the freedom and the independency that they claim matters most, yet they still think that they are unfortunate and are not content. Adults have the money, university degrees, partners, spouses, children, stability, and income but still they are not satisfied because all these are not enough to have a reason to wake up. 

When those people are asked what matters most they do not have an answer. They are not sure because they are not aware neither of their needs nor of their capacities and are still searching to find answers outside of themselves.
What matters most is more than what the person can accumulate; it is more than something depending on the outer world, or something that just happens to the person with a magic wand that brings happiness, or a reason to be satisfied and produce all the motivation to survive.

Having the privilege of working with human beings in an up-close and personal way, it has been clear to me that what matters most in life is to Love and be Loved.

What Matters Most

That is the only reason that keeps a human being fight all the obstacles, find a reason to survive and be satisfied with what they have, which can be very little and sometimes it can be practically nothing. People who have nothing yet because they do have a loving and supporting family they are able to face life and its daily challenges with a smile and positive attitude. I have met cancer patients who were in very serious health conditions yet they were able to see what matters most since they have a friend who was ready to accompany them to every session of chemotherapy showing them the Love that is needed to fight the battle.

When I write about love and being loved, I do not mean about romantic love, a love between husband and wife, between lovers, between man and woman only, even though having that kind of a love in life with the right person, gives even a stronger sense of stability. 

Yet to Love and to be loved means having Loving relationship in all aspects of your life: to love your surroundings, to love what you do, to do what you love, to love yourself with all the mistakes and the shortcomings that you have and most importantly to love your God and to look at your life and what’s in it with a sense of gratitude.

If couples learn to love themselves and each other then they will love their children in the best way possible and thus the child will grow up with a wonderful sense of self-confidence and will learn to love himself/herself and thus love their surrounding. There will be something for the child that matters more than what the world can offer or money can buy.
The teenagers who are loved will love the freedom and the independence that they have and will look at it as a prospect for growth.  
The adults will love the opportunities that they have and will make the best out of it with a sense of gratitude for what life offers.

All these can be theoretically very good; however, but what do they mean practically?  
What can a person do to have what matters most: To love and to be loved?

A Few practical steps:

  • Have an honest look inside your heart, ask yourself what you need, what you want and evaluate if having those things would make you feel satisfied. This would help you know yourself and have an honest relationship with yourself.
     
  • The world is a lonely place, so make sure you have a strong support system. Surround yourself and work on your relationships in honesty and transparency to have that family or group of friends where you can share everything, where you can be yourself and that there would be no judgment and unhealthy criticism. This support system would keep you real and would help you have the assurance that you matter.
     
  • It is not enough to have this support system, you should also be the support system for others. Since in giving and in being, the support system becomes stronger. It is not enough to only receive, but in giving it is purified and serves its purpose.
     
  • Love what you do. Not everyone has the opportunity to do what they love yet you can always find something positive in what you do. You can find a reason to love what you do.
     
  • Last but most important, have that strong relationship with your creator because God who is the source of love, genuinely manifested in Jesus Christ, has created you and loved you even before you were aware. The assurance of that Love will always hold your hand, will guide you to be a better person and to have a clear understanding of what matters most in life.  

The world is a lonely place; people are desperate to find a reason in this life, to fight the battles. You can be that one thing for your surrounding that matters most by Loving and being Loved.

"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8

United for God's Service

George Sahili

by George Sahili
Being a 16-year-old teenager who attends the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church at Amanos and serves there with all of his heart, I decided this year to participate in the church's annual camp. It was very amazing. I felt home and learned a lot throughout it.

The camp took place in a village called Dhour Choueir, a campus called Ayn al Assis. We could breathe fresh cool air and feel relieved. The environment was all good, natural and relaxing. The service concerning meals, refreshments and rooms was quite satisfying. I find all this one of the most important reasons for the camp to be amazing.

The reason why I took the initiative and decided to participate is the love and care that all of the church members showed me. I really felt part of the big holy family. I considered my fellow participants as brothers and sisters and spent a great time with them full of joy and happiness.

The topic was about service. Two sessions plus the Sunday worship's message filled us with helpful information and grace. We learned how to serve God the right way in church, and how to serve our fellow humans generally as to be serving God referring to what his word says (Matthew 25:34-40). I personally was filled with the Holy Spirit and decided to work on myself in order to improve the pureness of my serving.

I pray to God thanking him for having given us the opportunity to organize camps and unite aiming to praise His holy name, and asking him to keep this family and let it grow even bigger being filled with more love, hope and faith.

Ms. Vartoug Balekjian presenting the topic of being servant of God

Ms. Vartoug Balekjian presenting the topic of being servant of God

Koko Aynlian leading the games night

Koko Aynlian leading the games night

One of the study groups

One of the study groups

Dinner and fellowship

Dinner and fellowship

Children having a great time (oh, and his dad is really cool!)

Children having a great time (oh, and his dad is really cool!)

say cheese!

say cheese!

Family-Retreat-1

Battling against the Forces of Evil

ManoChil

by Manochil

Reposted

Negative energy, karma and positive thinking – these are the 21st century’s buzz words used by famous psychology gurus all over the world.

The constant advice that psychologists impart on us today is to possess good karma, impede negative energy, and propagate positive thinking. Words like evil or sin have all but vanished from the books and lectures of our academicians and scientists to the extent that people now mock and belittle anyone who speaks of the presence of evil. The world claims that there is no such thing called evil – only the proliferation and retraction of negative energy. No sane person would believe in evil spirits insisting that these are fairytales that the media sells through children’s books.

I understand that one cannot have tangible proof about the reality of evil because evil has no physical form. So how can we be sure that we are not alone on this planet? I personally believe in the presence of evil – it is real and it lurks among us. However, I cannot fully explain evil because it is part of the unseen spiritual realm, while we humans belong to the physical realm.

So what exactly is evil? Socrates describes evil as mere ignorance, while Plato illustrates it as the absence of good. During the Bible study at the Emmanuel church youth gathering, a friend described evil as anything that hinders the work of God; another described it to be the source of laziness; and yet another friend considered any disagreement among believers as stemming from evil.

Now the Bible mentions that one of the gifts of the spirit is the gift of discernment which means that those who possess it have the ability to identify evil in a person or in a gathering or place. However, everyone is prone to advocating – consciously or unconsciously – the diabolical schemes of the forces of darkness. I believe that evil breathes hatred, murder, disagreements, wickedness and malice among people. But it works behind the scene; it never plays up from front. It’s because of its subtle maneuvers that people underestimate its role among us.

Paul announces in Ephesians 6:12 that we do not fight against flesh and blood but against the evil spirits against which we have been embarking on a spiritual warfare. Hence, we as believers in Christ should always be aware that our fight is not against flesh and blood but against the higher powers of this world, against the forces of evil. Therefore, we should all be on guard to not let evil gain a foothold among us.

From a personal point of view, I have felt the works of evil within the church itself. Unfortunately, we never realize that the evil works heavily among the community of believers to tear it apart. There is countless number of believers who have retreated from the church community and cut themselves off because somewhere we weren’t aware that many times we were perpetuating and advocating the works of the dark forces. I only ask God that He may give us the wisdom to accept our wrongdoings and the humility and power to rekindle the long lost fellowship with our forgotten brothers and sisters in Christ.

As a conclusion, I want to say this: Whenever we face fierce disagreements, hatred or divisions in our households, among friends, colleagues or within the church, we must be aware that evil is working among us trying to create havoc through and among us. Our duty as believers in Christ is to stand still, hold our ground and resist the forces of darkness at all cost.

World Christian Endeavor Union's Board Meeting in Romania

Rev. Raffi Messerlian

by Rev. Raffi Messerlian

I praise God that through His grace I participated, during Sept 14-25, in the following events:

  1. During Sept 14-18, as a board member, I participated in the World Christian Endeavour Union’s board meeting, held in Romania in the city of Cluj-Napoca. Several other board members from other continents were also present at the meeting. These meetings served as a beautiful opportunity to share about the work of the various CEs in the world, as well as to talk about future of the WCEU and its vision and mission. We also discussed the World Christian Endeavour Convention that is going to be held in 2018 in USA. At the end of the meeting, the president of WCEU, Rev. Kálmán Adorján (Romanian) officially appreciated and thanked the WCEU General Secretary, Mr. Andreas A. Rudolf, who ends his term in November 2016, and will retire. He then officially called Rev. Dr. Dave Coryell (USA) to his post as the newly elected General Secretary. He officially starts his ministry on 1 December 2016. Finally, the president prayed to God and asked for His leading of the new General Secretary in his work.
     
  2. As a member of the WCEU I also serve in the Central Committee and the Nomination Committee. The Nomination Committee is working on both the election of the new president and the new board members, that will take place during the 2018 Convention.

Photo source: WCEU

Rev. Raffi Messerlian (in the center)

Rev. Raffi Messerlian (in the center)

WCEU-Romania-2
WCEU-Romania-3
WCEU-Romania-4
WCEU-Romania-5
WCEU-Romania-6
WCEU-Romania-7
The president thanking the General Secretary

The president thanking the General Secretary

Dr. Dave Coryell and Mr. Andreas A. Rudolf

Dr. Dave Coryell and Mr. Andreas A. Rudolf

WCEU-Romania-9
WCEU-Romania-10
WCEU-Romania-11
WCEU-Romania-12
WCEU-Romania-13
Mr. Andreas A. Rudolf and Rev. Kálmán Adorján

Mr. Andreas A. Rudolf and Rev. Kálmán Adorján

WCEU-Romania-14
WCEU-Romania-15

Evangelistic Worship Services with Rev. Gilbert Leonian

"Be Strong, God Loves You", with this main theme Rev. Gilbert Leonian will be leading the evangelistic nights, that will take place at Emmanuel Church (Amanos/Dora), at 8:00pm, during three consecutive nights of 9|10|11 of Novemeber 2016.

Come to listen to God's life-giving message, come for renewal, for fellowship.

You are all invited!

Evangelistic Rally - Rev. Gilbert Leonian - 2016

The Armenian Evangelical Church started with the spiritual awakening of the mind, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian

Translated from Armenian from the source: http://protestant.am/eca-170-rev-doc-paul-haidostian/

InterviewWithPaulHaidostian.png

Among the various Evangelical figures whom we interviewed on the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the Armenian Evangelical Church, the opinion of the president of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, is very important.

- The Armenian Evangelical Church is hundred and seventy years old. Perhaps compared to many older churches in the Middle East and Europe it is considered a young church, however, among the Evangelical Reformed churches it is not considered so new. The 170 years of reformation within the 500 years is an important time span. The Armenian Evangelical Church started with the spiritual awakening of the mind. Spiritual awakening, meaning that first a human being’s spirit and mind should awaken. And then that awakening should create a spiritual and collective communication, and that communication should also transform its own society. This is how I see the progression, which was also realised in the Armenian Evangelical history.

Today’s challenges and situations. I need to state that the Armenian Evangelical Church had a long experience in keeping institutions, especially, education and social service institutions. 

It seems that it was in these two sectors that the Armenian Evangelical Church had the long-term success.

Various other institutions and programs were launched but they passed away quickly, not keeping their strength. For example, publication and translation departments and others. The church always had these departments, however, they did not keep up as well as the educational and social service departments.

The next strength that the Evangelical church had was the ministry of the youth, junior youth and children. I think that during the past few years we haven’t been paying enough attention to the long-term education of youth, junior youth, and children. In many of the countries we emphasise on the work with youth, junior youth and children ministries, like Sunday Schools etc, but in short-terms, meaning this year, next year, two years, three years, five years. But then where do we reach to? This is our weakness, that we need to address. If a child attends Sunday school, then joins the junior youth group, then the youth group, and after this stage I notice that the transition to a mature believer, as an active church member, remains weak.

The other issue that lies in front of the Armenian Evangelical Church, and unfortunately after 170 years, in certain communities, the Armenian Evangelical Church still has to declare that it is indeed a Church. I call for the Armenian Evangelical Church to be self-confident and positive in its role, because it has this beautiful experience, the zeal of the Gospel, and having the reformation and renewal policy it has its own constitution, internal bylaws, that permit it to always be in renewal. Therefore, on the occasion of the 170th anniversary my wish is that instead of thinking about how we can reach out more in this world, for the church to emphasise more how we can reform our church, and hence our community, our environment will reform through our reformation.

These are some of the challenges. The number could be large, however, I am happy to say that throughout the 170 years, in spite of all the difficulties, be them political, economical or others, the Armenian Evangelical Church, as a minority, has carried out tremendous work, and generally outside viewers tell me, perhaps one-third of the Armenian population are Evangelical that they were able to accomplish all these. I tell them, that perhaps three percent, or four percent in other countries, not more. But we should always praise God that this church had tremendous opportunities in Christian ministry and nation-building because eventually hundreds and thousands of Armenian children and youth have received education, whether school or college, with the Gospel inspiration and piety education, and these have only brought benefits to our people.

Equipping the Youth to Run Meetings

RaffiChil

by RaffiChil
Can we train the youth to become good stewards of their time, communication, youth groups, and churches? Is it possible to teach our youth how to run their youth groups, and help them become the next leaders in their teams, organizations, schools, and churches?

I was present at one of the sessions of Toasmaster, an international organization that teaches leadership and public speaking. What caught my attention during the meeting was the intervening role of one of the board members, who was making sure that the meeting session was running according to the correct procedure. Later, I learned that this task is circulated among the board members, and everyone gets a turn to become the arbiter.

The Armenian Evangelical Church, during its history, has created by-laws and constitutions, as well as adopted the Robert’s Rules of Order as the go-to-source, whenever more reference is needed during official meetings and conventions.

Today, for a church to function properly, board members with various gifts and talents are elected to offices of chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, treasurer, public relation, etc.
But, what are the responsibilites of each of these offices and why do we need them in the first place? Can’t we have a flat platform instead? Which one is better: a structured platform or a loosely-defined one? What is a quorum? How can I learn to abide by the decision of the majority, even if I voted against a move? Does this process make the church very formal and bureaucratic?

My understanding is that the constitution is not an end in itself, but is a means to have a proper process in taking decisions and to maintain smooth functions within the body.

The first church held its first meeting in Jerusalem. They prayed and they held their meetings in order.

"When Paul and Barnabas came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them…
The apostles and elders met to consider the question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them…
The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up…
Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas…
With them they sent the following letter…"
(Act 15:4-29)

Here's what Christian Endeavor mid-Atlantic website says about youth running meetings:

We encourage youth to be equipped to Run a Meeting. Christian Endeavor allows youth to plan and carry out the meetings with guidance. In order to do this well, youth must be trained to run a meeting.

Source: http://www.cemidatlantic.org/resources/Youth-Worker-Downloads/

The by-laws are already written and adopted. What's missing is educating the youth.

Roberts Rules of Order

Chanasser Publication (Ջանասէր) March-April 2016 Issue

Chanasser March-April 2016

Բովանդակութիւն՝

  • ԽՄԲԱԳՐԱԿԱՆ
    • 101 Դաս՝ Հայոց Ցեղասպանութենէն Հաղորդագրութիւն... «Ջ.»
  • ՀԱՅ ԱՒԵՏԱՐԱՆԱԿԱՆ ԲԵՄ
    • Հրաշափառ Յարութեան Նորոգող Զօրութիւնը... Վեր. Մկրտիչ Գարակէօզեան 
    • Տէր Յիսուսի Յայտնուիլը Մարիամի... Վեր. Յակոբ Ա. Սարգիսեան 
    • Քրիստոսի Յարութեան Նշանակութիւնը... Վեր. Դոկտ. Վահան Թութիկեան
    • «Ծառայութիւնը» Քրիստոնէական Աստուածաբանութեան Պրիսմակէն... Դոկտ. Հրայր Ճէպէճեան
  • ԱԶԳԱՅԻՆ-ԵԿԵՂԵՑԱԿԱՆ-ՀԱՍԱՐԱԿԱԿԱՆ
    • 1915-ի Ցեղասպանութեան Հայ Ժողովուրդի Ամենամեծ Կորուստը Իր Մտաւորականութիւնը եւ Ուսեալ Տարրը... Սէմ Րագուպեան
    • Ո՞է Էր Փրոֆ. Ռուբէն Ստեփան Րագուպեան
    • Ռուբէն Րագուպեանի Մահը Հայ Բողոքական Համայնքի Կարաւանին Մէջ
    • Ռուբէն Րագուպեան Անզուգական Նկարագիր Մը... Երուանդ Հերեան
    • Վկայութիւն... Արմենակ Խաչեր Րագուպեան
    • Տօնական Օրերն Իբր Կրթական Ազդակ... Ռ. Ս. Րագուպեան
    • Զօրակցութիւն Մտաւորականութեան, Բայց՝ Ի՞նչ Չափանիշներով... Պարոյր Յ. Աղպաշեան
    • Մեր Զաւակները Նիւթապաշտութենէ Հեռու... Մարալ Տէյիրմէնճեան
    • Հարցազրոյց՝ Րաֆֆի Չիլինկիրեանի Հետ... «Ջ.»
  • ՀԱՅԿԱԶԵԱՆ ՀԱՄԱԼՍԱՐԱՆ
    • Պարգեւատրում՝ Կիներու Միջազգային Տօնին Առթիւ
    • Շնորհահանդէս՝ «Իմ Ընտանիքիս Պատմութիւնը» Հատորին... Ծաղիկ Սահակեան
  • ԱՆԴՐԱԴԱՐՁ
    • Համազգային Զգաստութեան Կարիք... Ռ.Ա.Մ.
  • ԳԻՐՔԵՐՈՒ ՀԵՏ
    • Լալա Միսկարեան-Մինասեան. «Սուրիական Օրագրութիւն»... Համբիկ Պիլալեան
  • ՀԱՅ ԱՒԵՏԱՐԱՆԱԿԱՆ ԿԵԱՆՔ
  • ԼՈՒՐԵՐ - ՀԱՅԱՇԽԱՐՀ
  • ՄԱՀԱԳՐՈՒԹԻՒՆ
    • Մովսէս Գարամինասեան

Սեփականատէր՝ Մերձաւոր Արեւելքի Հայ Աւետ. Եկեղեցիներու Միութիւն
Հրատարակիչ՝ Մ.Ա.Հ.Ա.Ե. Միութեան Հրատարակչական Մարմին
Owner: Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East
Publisher: U.A.E.C.N.E. Publications Committee

Has Science Made Us Socially Irrelevant?

by Vahé Jebejian
You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is not longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. Matthew 5:13


Saint Augustine of Hippo warns Christians to be careful when debating with non-believers issues which have been demonstrated by reason and experience. In De Genisi ad litteram (The Literal Meaning of Genesis) he writes: “The shame is not so much that an ignorant person is laughed at, but rather that people outside the faith believe that we hold such opinions, and thus our teachings are rejected as ignorant and unlearned.” St Augustine makes a relevant point: How will people believe in things such as the resurrection of the dead and eternal life if they think that Christians hold beliefs and opinions that go against modern experience and reason?

Christophobia is a real thing in today’s culture. People have certain assumptions about Christians and often avoid getting into discussions with them. The challenge then is for Christians not to become socially irrelevant. Indeed, Jesus warns believers not to lose their saltiness, not to become bland (Matthew 5:13). God puts it even more bluntly in Revelation 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Socially Irrelevant


Science and Christians
As Christians, it is my belief that we should be the first to get excited about any new scientific discovery. On December 24, 1968, as Apollo 8 was in space, the crew announced the following: “We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.” The message was none other than Genesis 1:1-10.

As believers we know “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all
the earth, their words to the ends of the world,” Psalm 19:1-4. Thanks to science we are unveiling the “knowledge” and “speech” that the psalmist talks about. In Einstein’s words, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”. Similarly, Thomas Aquinas insisted, “Scripture and science are not contradictory, as human reason and divine revelation are gifts of God”.

From the 15th to late 19th century, major scientists were Christians, such as Newton, Kepler, Faraday, and Maxwell. Faraday, who discovered the magnetic field, says, “The book of nature which we have to read is written by the finger of God”. They saw no conflict between these two disciplines. For them, science pointed to God.

Science is a self-correcting discipline, everything undergoes scrutiny before it can be claimed as truth. Darwin waited for 20 years before he published On the Origin of Species. He was so overwhelmed by his findings that he was sure that it would shock the public. Darwin took time to assemble enough proof and evidence to support his thesis. At the end of his book, he states,

Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Darwin does not deny the existence of God. He does not claim that evolution through natural selection is possible without God. In fact, he felt that evolution was working towards an increased complexity and possibly a divine purpose. Was this what the psalmist had in mind when he said, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” Psalm 8:3-4

This is how Paul describes the Word of God: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways” Romans 11:33. Francis Bacon, author of The Advancement of Learning (1605), which later inspired Diderot’s and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie, writes,

To conclude, therefore, let no man out of a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficience in both.

Yes, Christians are not of this world, but Jesus sent them into this world. Jesus explains this very clearly in the gospel of John, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world,” John 17:15-18. We are not of this world, but Jesus prays so that his disciples would stay in this world and keep their saltiness.

Next time we give a reason for our faith, as instructed by Peter in 1 Peter 3:15, let us be relevant to our today’s issues. The Christian worldview is the only one which makes sense of this world. Let us learn how to share it in a way where we will not lose our saltiness and be trampled on by others.

My Personal Experience At Chanits Camp 2016

George-Megerditchian

by George Megerditchian
This year was my first Chanits camp, and the experience was different and more amazing than I could have ever hoped for. Youth from many different backgrounds, majors and careers, from the nurse to the banker to the farmer, all gathered to worship the Lord from August 24th to August 28th at Camp Kchag.

In total, 65 youth came to Kchag to hear God’s word. Fifteen youth came all the way from Kessab, which was extremely inspirational for me. Seeing youth travel from Syria in these terrible times to share their testimonies and stories was just incredible. The theme was ‘SERVANTS OF RIGHTOUSNESS', and was based on Romans 6:18. The passage says “And being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness”. What a meaningful verse to base the camp around, as 65 servants of righteousness gathered together to worship God and have fellowship.

Every morning, we started our day with devotional time and worship, both of which were very inspirational to me. Each devotion was a clear message from God that we should trust in him completely and cast all of our burdens onto him, all the while giving thanks for everything that we have. 

After that, we would hear the main sermon of the day. Each day during this time, we discussed different aspects of life and its relation to us as Christians.

We discussed what a Christian's role is when it comes to topics such as human rights, the environment, politics and forgiveness. As Christians, what is our role in each of these fields and how should we contribute in each of them? Should we join a political party? Can we help less privileged people? Should we protect the environment? We discussed these questions and many more in our Bible study groups. 

Besides the sermons, we also listened to many lectures and had little workshops based on the main sermon of the day. They offered us all fantastic opportunities to learn not only about spiritual issues and growth but also about social issues and what we could do about them. 

This year at Kchag, there were two particularly special things we did outside of our normal routine. The first was hosting the Trad social work team. They came and spoke about their challenges in their work field, their mission, and the projects they do to help children to learn more about Jesus. It was wonderful to see an organization that is so focused on helping our youth grow into warriors for Christ.

The second special event we held, and my personal favorite, was planting five trees in Kchag with the help (and supervision) of our Kessabtsi friends. For me, it was so amazing to be able to plant trees while being around all of God’s beautiful creation in nature. I was helping in the cleaning of all the old dead grass, and I looked around me and saw the hard work that each and every person was doing in order to plant these trees; all at once, I just felt the wonder and might of nature and was so proud to see everyone so passionate about planting these trees and growing something fresh from the ground. There was something touching and symbolic about the fact that we were planting these trees to help them grow and to nurture them and care for them. It reminded me of our walk with Christ and how, just like the trees we were planting, to grow we need to be properly cared for and nurtured. 

At the end of each day, we would separate into groups for prayer time. Each of us used to share his or her doubts, concerns and challenges in our Christian life and comfort and encourage one another. We would spend time praying for each other and giving thanks to the Lord for the blessings that He has given us.

I thank God for the wonderful experience that I had throughout this camp. The memories I made, the fellowship I had and the communion I shared with my brothers and sisters in Christ was unforgettable.

This was my first Chanits camp, but I certainly hope it won’t be my last.

Worship time

Worship time

Farmers of Kchag!

Farmers of Kchag!

Chanits-Camp-2016-5
Worship band

Worship band

Chanits-Camp-2016-4
(L to R row1): Houry Hadjenlian, Garine Cholakian, Kayane Messerlian (L to R row2): Badveli Sevag Trashian, Badveli Datev Basmajian, Rev. Hrayr Cholakian, Rev. RAffi Messerlian (L to R row3): Shant Agishian, Assadour Mncherian, Badveli Hagop Akbasharian

(L to R row1): Houry Hadjenlian, Garine Cholakian, Kayane Messerlian
(L to R row2): Badveli Sevag Trashian, Badveli Datev Basmajian, Rev. Hrayr Cholakian, Rev. RAffi Messerlian
(L to R row3): Shant Agishian, Assadour Mncherian, Badveli Hagop Akbasharian

Nareg, the guy on the far left is taking this group photo

Nareg, the guy on the far left is taking this group photo