by Candice Nahigian
Ok it’s happening, the thing our overprotective Armenian families warned us of. A few of our group members have fallen victim to, yes, poretsav. However, you must know that every time we pray for healing, God provides in a quick manner and constantly reminds us of His love and of His provision. We must depend on Him to get through any challenge on this trip and in life.
One potential cause of our stomach woes might have been our passionate participation in the national water holiday known as Vardavar. On this day, people in Armenia douse each other with buckets of water as they travel around. Those who don’t want to get wet, don’t leave their house–it’s that intense of a celebration and everyone is subject to a good drench. Consider yourself elderly? Prepare to get wet. Professionally dressed? Watch out. Sitting in a taxi? Good luck getting out dry.
I’ll rewind a bit and point out that today was Sunday and we were so happy to join the Evangelical Church of Armenia in its worship services. Fewer experiences will be able to trump singing the Hayr-Mer in our homeland. God has provided for each of our churches worldwide and this was a reminder that no matter where we come from, we worship the same loving God.
After church, we prepared for our festive day. We took a double-decker bus tour around Yerevan which quickly became water roller coaster. We hung off the sides of the top of the bus inviting children on the streets to throw buckets of water our way. We were chanting and laughing, ignoring the prerecorded tour information track playing on the bus, and we were finding special humor in seeing Badveli Vatche holding a wet shirt off the bus as if to surrender to the day. Our rowdy bunch went silent, however, as we approached the top of a hill overlooking Yerevan. To see Yerevan in this manner is to see Armenian nationalism in its entirety, to participate in its culture and to understand the impact of its history, our history, in our lives. So many of us came to this country thinking that we would serve and give to this place. What we did not strongly anticipate was how much we would receive. In this moment, as we looked out at our Hayasdan–our bodies drenched, a soft breeze blowing as we crammed closely to the side of the bus–it was no surprise that words could not leave our mouths.
Yet we are still disconnected. We physically struggle to be fully immersed in this place simply because we cannot eat certain foods or even drink the tap water because our bodies are not adjusted. Today was different, though. With each bucketful dumped on our head as we splashed later in Republic Square, we at least got to be covered in the cool liquid that we cannot drink.
What a blessing it is to know we are washed in the blood of Christ and we are invited to drink from the living water. Now as we head to Hanqavan for camp, I pray we can serve with the attitude of gracefulness for this gift. I pray God will break down the barriers and humble ourselves before Him. May we not see division. Lord, let us drink the water.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” -Romans 12:3
Candice Nahigian, 20