Missionary Finds Armenian Students Receptive to Gospel

Post a Comment » Written on June 10th, 2008     
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ASHTARAK, ARMENIA (June 10, 2008) – Editor’s note: the following comes as an update report, edited for length, from Fred Prudek, who along with his wife, Kelly, serve as Evangelical Covenant Church missionaries in the Czech Republic.

By Fred Prudek

For the last two weeks of May, I had the opportunity to teach at the Theological Seminary of Armenia. It is located in a small town, Ashtarak, which is about twenty miles from the capital city of Yerevan.

The seminary has two tracks – one for pastors, the theological track, and another, the Christian education track. I have taught here now for four successive years, each time for two weeks.

Mount AraratArmenia is a very poor country stuck in between two historical enemies, Turkey and Azerbaijan. The country gets very little attention from Western countries and must rely on its only ally, Russia. The standard of living is less than many Latin American countries, with similar problems of corruption.

Armenians are very proud of the fact that they were the very first country – even before Emperor Constantine – to declare themselves a Christian nation in 301 A.D.  So, discussing Christianity is not so guarded as in the Czech Republic.

During my time in Armenia, I was teaching the book of Genesis (chapters 11-50) for four hours a day, using an interactive method of teaching. The students truly appreciated comprehending the whole story of Abraham and his descendants down to the grandchildren of Jacob. It is an excellent way to teach theology because it is not systematic, but rather the story of God and his people unfolding naturally, with lots of intrigue and irony.

I also had the opportunity to speak to IFES students in Yerevan and preach at three churches, two of which are new church plants. I found that the receptivity to the gospel reminded me of the Czech Republic and Slovakia when we first moved there in 1994.  At that time, there was not the higher standard of living as there is now, and there was not the degree of materialism to compete with peoples’ attention as there is now.

So in a sense, the Armenian people seem more open to the gospel, perhaps for those same reasons.

Editor’s note: the accompanying photo is of Mount Ararat, where Genesis 8:4 states Noah’s ark came to rest following the great flood. Prudek took the photo from a window in the seminary building in Ashtarak.

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