Day 9: Our last day in Armenia! We all woke up at the Hotel Ani, sleeping in and having a late breakfast. At around 9:30 we met in the lobby for our last day of sightseeing in Armenia. We went on a tour to Khor Virab, the monastery where St. Gregory was imprisoned in a pit for 13 years. We got to travel into the pit and witness the small space where he was kept captive. Next we went to the holy city of Etchmiadzin, where we went into the museum there and saw all of the artifacts and garments that they had. During this time, we also got a special tour of the pagan grounds underneath the Etchmiadzin cathedral. After our tour, we ate a delicious lunch of monteh and kebabs then returned to Hotel Ani to relax for a few hours. When everyone was rested, we got dressed up once more and went out to a dinner before going to see a concert at the opera house. We sat and had some appetizers, but we were running out of time to get to the performance so we had to cut dinner out until after the show. We then walked across the street to the opera house and saw a 2-hour strings performance there which was conducted by a cousin of someone on our mission trip. The show was lovely and full of passion and after the brilliant performance, we all headed back up for our delayed dinner and some wild and crazy dancing. During this time, we bid our translators goodbye and shortly after headed back to the Ani to pack and get some sleep before the upcoming travelling.
This year’s trip was absolutely amazing. For such a large group, everyone meshed well together and we all became a family; bonded in our faith and in our desire to extend our faith to help others. This trip is a truly enriching experience for anyone because not only do you make friends and meet fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but you also get the amazing opportunity to share Christ’s love with people who are yearning for help and need to feel His love. I have to say a huge thank you to Dr. and Mrs. Philips for orchestrating this entire operation. It takes months of hard work and many phone calls and they have managed to do it over and over for the past six years, and it is truly amazing and I am blessed that they have allowed me to continue coming back on the trip for the past three years. This trip is always such a privilege and I’m so glad that God has given me this opportunity. I suggest that if anyone has any desire to join next year’s mission team that they contact Dr. or Mrs. Philips because this trip is truly an amazing experience and an incredible journey to take part in. Thank you!