Hope for Hovhannes

Post Summary: 

Hovhannes is two and lives with his parents in northern Armenia. Last month, he got to meet his sponsor, World Vision blog manager Matthew Brennan!

Having seen World Vision's work in Armenia up close, Matthew has high hopes for Hovhannes's future. See why …

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Seven weeks ago, I was half a world away in northern Armenia with a group of eight other writers, exploring how World Vision is working to empower vulnerable Armenian families and communities lift themselves out of poverty.

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    Highlights from Armenia

    Post Summary: 

    Our Armenia Bloggers departed Yerevan not quite a week ago: jet lag is fading, we're returning to normal life … but we're all changed by our experience.

    Take a look at some photo/video highlights from our trip and see what inspired us, what moved us, and how together we're already making a difference for the wonderful people of this beautiful country.

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    DAY 1

    After flying into Yerevan, we spent our first day there before driving north to Gyumri for the week. Near Yerevan, we visited Etchmiadzin Cathedral (left below). Constructed from 301-303 AD, it is considered the oldest cathedral in the world! As you can see, it is in the process of being restored today, and still serves as the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

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      [Podcast] Our role in God's story: Agents of reconciliation

      Post Summary: 

      Today is our last day in Armenia. From the hopelessness of poverty to the joy and wholeness that child sponsorship brings to communities, families, and children, we've explored the full impact of World Vision's work here in the land of Noah.

      Join us today for a podcast live from Armenia! The latest episode of That God Show brings you the stories of the families we just visited, and how we play a role in God's big story.

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      With the latest episode of the That God Show podcast, Benjamin L. Corey and Matthew Paul Turner come to you live from Armenia!

      Coming off some moving experiences witnessing the work being done by World Vision in this part of the world, join us in an exploration of what it means to discover our place in God's grand story of reconciliation.

       

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        When you can’t find the words

        Post Summary: 

        As our World Vision Bloggers trip to Armenia nears its end, Juli Wilson describes her struggle to find the right words for her experience, meeting "some of the most overlooked … heroes of the world."

        Read how witnessing these stories painted for Juli a picture of faith, family, and God's good plan for us.

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        I love words. No, really—I seriously love them. They are my medium of choice, my paintbrush, if you will. Sometimes though, I have a terribly difficult time finding just what to say. This is when I know God must be up to something extra good. You know, the kind of something we can’t begin to explain because it’s way bigger than us.

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          Zhanna exists

          Post Summary: 

          Sponsoring a child through World Vision is more than setting up a monthly auto-pay from your bank account. It's a relationship with a child, a real child who lives a real life in a country far away.

          Amy Bellgardt of Mom Spark is with us this week in Armenia, and on Saturday she had the chance to meet Zhanna, the little girl she sponsors!

          Read about Amy's dedication to Zhanna's life and well-being.

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          Over the years, I have sponsored a few children who lived in poverty. I would mail a check, or better yet an automated bank draft, and the funds were sent like magic. A handful of letters and emails between myself and the child would go back and forth throughout the year, but I would be fibbing if I said that I ever truly felt connected to the person and family on the other side of the world.

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            The problem with a breadless Gospel

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            “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works" –James 2:14

            Blogger and author Jarrid Wilson writes from Armenia: "We cannot ignore the needs of those around us."

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            Today I walked into another home. Not just any home, but a home in the rural hills of Armenia. The house was full of dust, and the cracks in the walls screamed for care and attention. Although the floor was full of dirt and rubble, the joy on the faces of those who lived in this home would make you think otherwise.

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              A mother-woman

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              On Day 3 of our Armenia Trip, blogger Anna Whiston-Donaldson reflects on meeting Aida, a mother of seven, and the warmth of her love for her family amidst hardship of winter.

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              “I have my children with me and [they] are healthy,” she said, beaming.

              And in that moment, in the run-down, 2-room house on the side of a snow covered mountain, I envied her. I wanted what Aida had, all of her children healthy and with her.

              A mother-woman | World Vision Blog
              Aida and her husband. (Photo: 2015 Laura Reinhardt/World Vision)

               

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                Light a candle, plant a tree

                Post Summary: 

                After the World Vision Bloggers' first day in Armenia—visiting Etchmiatsin Cathedral and the genocide memorial—Addie Zierman reflects on the ways in which we bear witness to tragedy and poverty, and how we can respond to suffering.

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                This morning, I lit candles in the Church of St. Etchmiatsin—the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The oldest cathedral (according to Wikipedia) in the world.

                The sanctuary was under construction. The whole place smelled of sawdust and paint, and men climbed on high ladders, banging around in the ancient rafters of this old place of worship. At the altar, a large tapestry hung heavy with the scene of Gregory the Illuminator receiving a vision: Christ descending from the clouds with a golden hammer, telling him where to build the church.

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                  Looking for rainbows amid suffering, genocide, and other mysteries of God

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                  The World Vision Bloggers are in Armenia!

                  Author, speaker, and blogger Matthew Paul Turner kicks us off with a reflection on the story of Noah's Ark, Armenia's long and complex history, and his hopes for this trip.

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                  As a child, my father loved telling me Bible stories before bedtime. Animated and full of belief, Dad told the stories of God and God’s people with such rich enthusiasm that me and my sister, Elisabeth, would plead every single night for another story. The stories of the Bible played such an integral part of my childhood. The narratives of people like Moses, King David, Esther, and Daniel were potent echoes of hope, faith, and devotion for me, sometimes inspiring my curiosity to know God and sometimes haunting my imagination like ghost stories.

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                    Five reasons why I’m excited to go to Armenia

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                    Our Armenia Bloggers Trip starts this week!

                    Join us on our journey to the land of Noah and of second chances as we explore how World Vision tackles the root causes of poverty in this ancient Christian nation … and during the cold, bitter winter.

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                    Tomorrow, seven World Vision Bloggers and I will depart our various home airports across the United States for Paris, where we will meet—many of us for the first time in person—and fly together to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.

                    In past roles and now with World Vision, I’ve had the opportunity to lead dozens of trips covering 19 countries on five continents, but I’ve never been more excited for a trip abroad than for this one! Here are five reasons why …

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