What do kisses and cucumbers have in common? They are both in plentiful supply here in Armenia. EVERY meal, with the exception of breakfast, includes a bowl of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. The other thing served at every Armenian meal is lavash bread. Lavash bread looks somewhat like a tortilla but tastes more like lefse, without the butter and sugar. In my opinion, you can wrap just about anything in bread and it’ll taste better, so that’s what I did with all those cucumbers and tomatoes. My friends will tell you that I’m not a huge fan of vegetables so the fact that I’m eating cucumbers and tomatoes at all is somewhat of a miracle. But hey, it’s a mission trip. We expect miracles.
We finished our leadership conference in Tsaghkadzor early this afternoon (now yesterday as I get ready to post this.) The worship team at the conference did such an awesome job. I’d be the first one to tell you that I think the worship team at my church is unbeatable, and I generally whine a little when I have to be away from my church on a Sunday. But, this team here in Armenia was every bit as good and they weren’t even singing in English! I love spending time in worship with people of a different culture. It usually dissolves me into tears when I picture every tribe and nation surrounding the throne of God singing praises to Him in one tongue that we can all understand. I do try to sing along part of the time hoping that as I mimic the words the others are singing, I’m not really mispronouncing them in a manner that turns them into a swear word. One word that seems to transcend every language is Hallelujah so when I hear that I can sing, sing, sing.
Our day ended with a time of prayer. Many of the women asked for prayer as they take the step to start a women’s ministry program in their own church. Our purpose, throughout this conference was to empower them to do just that so it was exciting to know that they were ready to begin such a ministry. But one of the last women I prayed with asked that I pray for her to be healed from depression. She literally sobbed in my arms as we prayed together. I know that she is safely in the arms of God as she struggles through this time in her life, and I have all the confidence in the world that He will pull her out of the valley she’s in, but in my humanness, it was hard to leave knowing that I wouldn’t be able to give her phone calls of encouragement or go out to coffee with her next week to see how she’s doing.
As for those kisses I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post; they were plentiful as we hugged the women good-bye. It was hard to leave these amazing women who are seeking to serve God and change their world. I will miss them.