Mission Armenia: The Journey Home
#MissionArmenia Travel Log - September 22
Flights from Yerevan seem to be early in the morning. After two hours of sleep on Tuesday night, I awoke at 1:30 am and finished packing my suitcase and backpack.
In typical fashion, Edik had prepared fresh Armenian coffee. I’m not suggesting that it’s strong, but my hair stood up! Seriously, it was delicious. Arthur, Edik’s son, joined us. He speaks good English and helped Edik and me be able to communicate.
I was completely surprised when Ohar got up, then Vard (Edik’s mother). They wanted to make sure they saw me one more time before I left. We prayed together, hugged each other, and cried.
At 2 am, we drove from Artashat to Yerevan’s airport. The lines were large, but we had plenty of time. Edik and Arthur insisted on staying with me up to the point I had to go through customs. We said our goodbyes, and I proceeded through customs in time to find my gate and flight to Vienna (about a 3 ½ hour flight).
A short layover in Vienna, then on to Warsaw (a 55-minute flight). I arrived in Warsaw around 9 am.
Warsaw is a very commercial city. On the way, I could see how lush and green the countryside is in Poland. I took an Uber to the hotel, checked my suitcase, and headed out to find a restaurant for breakfast and coffee. It gave me just enough time to have some food and return to the hotel to find my room was ready.
Although I was tired, I chose to go for a walk and take in some sights of this city. I pressed on until around 9 or 10 pm, then called it a day.
My bed never looked more attractive!
#MissionArmenia Travel Log - September 23
A Day to Rest
Today I slept! My plans were to do some more sightseeing. My body had other plans. After a light breakfast, I went back to the room. I realized how tired I was, so I told myself I would sleep for another hour.
At 4 pm, I awoke. Apparently, my body was speaking to me. I’m glad I listened.
This evening I’ve been reflecting on the memories and ministry that took place in Armenia these past couple of weeks. I’m aware of how God has bonded my heart to the people of Armenia (and Belarus and Russia).
Our Russian/Belarusian ministers that were in our conference were also ministering in the mountain villages of Armenia. These precious brothers and sisters love God and have a passion for sharing the gospel with people inside and outside their countries.
It’s hard to imagine how fast this trip has been. Because of the faithfulness of our friends who have supported this mission, we have been able to attend to some very pressing ministry opportunities. The people of Armenia, Belarus, and Russia thank you!
Although I haven’t felt like doing anything today, other than sleep, tomorrow will give me the opportunity to see a few more sights before I leave.
I’ll travel back to the airport tomorrow for another COVID test. Then, on Saturday it’s off to London (one night stay), then the long flight home to Phoenix on Sunday.
It will be good to be back home. I’ve missed my wife, dogs, and friends. But what a great journey it has been.
#MissionArmenia Travel Log - September 24
A Day in Warsaw
After breakfast, I took an Uber to the airport to take another COVID test (required before I can enter the UK and USA). The process was very efficient. In about 20 minutes I had received the word that I was COVID Negative.
Receiving the documentation required to re-enter the UK and USA, I “Ubered” back to the hotel and decided to take a nice (long) walk from my hotel to explore some of the sights of Warsaw. After checking with the hotel concierge, I headed toward Old Town. The weather was somewhat overcast and breezy. I’m glad I brought a sweater and a light jacket. The temperature is significantly cooler than in Armenia.
Although Old Town has been reconstructed since the end of World War II, the refurbishing captures the beauty and originality of what this part of Warsaw looked like before the war.
It’s difficult — but important — to remember how thousands of Jews were placed on trains that took them to their deaths from this location. What is now more of a tourist attraction does not change the history that took place here.
On the long walk back to the hotel, I stopped at an outdoor cafe for a coffee and sandwich. Not only was it a welcomed rest, but it also allowed me to see how Europeans tend to pace themselves in a more relaxed fashion than Americans. People were engaging in conversations with each other, laughing, sipping their tea and coffee, and enjoying the outdoors.
I walked through a number of beautiful parks, while still reflecting on how God blessed our time in Armenia. Once I returned to the hotel, it was time to pack and get ready to leave for London in the morning.
Although I was not nearly as tired as the day before, I was ready to turn in early, grateful for God’s goodness, faithfulness, and for keeping me safe.
#MissionArmenia Travel Log - September 25
A Little COVID Confusion
I traveled from Warsaw to London today. There was some confusion at the Warsaw Airport regarding COVID forms. The British Airway agents were as helpful as could be, but they were also confused about which forms and what answers should be given. It seems that there are constant changes taking place. Sometimes, the agents are last to be informed.
Despite the challenge, the agents were very nice and helpful. I made my flight (just in time) and had a comfortable flight to London.
Trying to avoid challenges for tomorrow’s flight, I decided to speak with agents to make sure all the correct forms were handled. Again, I received three different answers. The last agent seemed to believe all was in order and all I would need to provide tomorrow is my COVID negative paperwork.
So, I guess it’s a “definite maybe.” Oh, the joys of travel! :)
When I arrived at the hotel, I discovered that my suitcase had broken. A quick trip back to the airport allowed me to purchase a new suitcase. Back to the hotel, unpack and repack. Ready for the trip home tomorrow.
I enjoyed some good English fish and chips. As I was eating the fresh haddock, I remembered my time with Terry Law when we were returning from Russia years ago. He had taken me to a quaint little restaurant that actually served fish and chips wrapped in newspaper.
Thinking of Terry also allowed me to remember that my love for Eastern Europe began with him taking me to Russia years ago. Who knew then how God would — years later — use me today to extend HOPE to people in Armenia, Belarus, and Russia?
#MissionArmenia Travel Log - September 26
I have arrived home safely. I want to thank everyone who has been praying for me on my journey. What a blessed trip it has been! I am eager to share more stories about how God is working through the ministry of our brothers and sisters in Armenia, Belarus, and Russia.
For now, I am resting my body and--of course--my soul. And I’m already looking forward to the future when I will return to Armenia once again.