By Kyle Kevorkian
Today we all got the opportunity to explore many of the amazing sites, both modern and ancient, that Armenia has to offer. Even after receiving zero to four hours maximum of sleep from our travels, the entire group was excited when we left the hotel and were as ready as ever to explore Armenia and sight-see together.
Our first stop was the Tumo Center, which is a modern facility in Yerevan that teaches children, free of charge, technological skills in areas including animation, video game design, wed design, model making, and much more. We took a tour of the center and the guide explained to us the Tumo Center’s curriculum which is individualistic in nature. Each student designates one day in the week for them to come after school for two hours and learn at the center. As students’ progress, they advance to more difficult curriculum up until their “graduation” and even beyond this point. We were also shown various creations from several Tumo students including an animation that won second prize at an international animation competition! I suppose that’s not so surprising given the workshops which are available for these students, including some that are created by the heads of major internet/media corporations such as Twitter and Bungee Games! This was a unique experience for everyone, as even veterans like myself, previously didn’t have the opportunity to explore the Tumo Center in past mission trips. It was also a fantastic experience for me because I was taken back by the depth of curriculum and the facility and it’s technology, all of which is available to any student between the ages 12 and 18, free of charge! It was truly amazing to see such a fantastic site dedicated to the development and achievement of the youth in Armenia.
Our next stops after the Tumo Center were Khor Virap Monastery, where St. Gregory the Illuminator was kept in a pit for 13 years before Armenia became a Christian nation, and Etchmiadzin, where the first Christian church was erected. At Khor Virap, we explored the various buildings such as the chapel and also had the opportunity to descend into the pit to see where St. Gregory spent 13 years of his life in captivity for his religious beliefs. At Etchmiadzin, we visited the beautiful chapel and also the museum, which has many interesting displays such as the spear which pierced Christ’s side and the bones of some of the Apostles.
It was an amazing day for everyone as most discovered, for the first time, the beauty of Armenia while others who had been to Armenia were reminded of it. It was also an invaluable day, as I witnessed many friendships being formed between group members and certainly made many of my own.
Looks like those prayers from home are coming in handy, so I guess I’ll have to ask for today’s request! Today, I hope that when you pray, you pray that as we travel to Vanadzor to set up our clinics, the Lord prepares us for the coming days and prepares us to see the various people who will come to us and also gives us the power to share His Light with them, so that they may reflect it to others. We’re all looking forward to serving the Lord as we get closer to the opening of the clinic.
Thank you again for reading and for your invaluable prayers and support! Until tomorrow!