mission confirmed the strategic importance in God's plan for
the nation and people of Armenia. Although many continue to
migrate to Russia, USA, and the Armenian capital of Yerevan
for jobs and greater opportunities, God has planted His people
and deeply rooted them in Christ despite numerous attempts to
destroy them through genocide. In fact, the operation
overwhelmingly and repeatedly revealed God's counsel regarding
those who trust in the Lord. Those who trust in the
LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but
abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so
the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and
forever. (Psalm 125:1-2 NKJ). Armenia is
surrounded by mountains including the biblical Mount Ararat
and one of the things typical of mountains is running water
from the high places to the lower regions. Even the deer pants
for the water brooks (Psalm 42:1) and this was the main goal
of the 5-Fold Global Team: to proclaim and demonstrate the
power and work of the Holy Spirit in order to contribute
toward a deeper seeking of the Spirit and a fresh outpouring
upon the Armenian church. This was a tall order, but the team
of Chungthang Thiek (NE India), Michael and Sally Gross (USA),
Vachagan and Lusia Davtyan (Armenia), and our translator
Tamara Simonyan (Armenia) labored together under the Lordship
of Jesus Christ to serve God and His people in every place.
The Lord also provided Armen Davtyan who tirelessly
transported us to and from the airport and to the most distant
places for ministry.
The team was scheduled to arrive on the same day (Saturday, September 5); however, Chungthang Thiek's visa had only just been miraculously approved so his arrival was delayed until Tuesday, September 8. Kanito Tomas (Uganda) could not join us due to visa complications and was greatly missed. These unexpected circumstances in bringing a 5-Fold Team together would seem to hinder the mission, but God's grace is sufficient in all circumstances. Satan cannot stop the advance of the church of the living God. The team possessed heaven's assurance that we were sent by the Holy Spirit. The buildup to the mission gave the team all the confirmation needed to proceed in the obedience of faith. Evangelist Kevin Kazemi, who himself had been saved and delivered by the power of God during an Armenian mission in 2004, was quoted at a meeting on November 16, 2013 in the USA, The least expected places is where God is choosing to do His miracles. Kevin preceded this mission with one of his own in Armenia during the previous month. In addition, the Spirit of the Lord directed Brother Michael to return to Armenia during a church service on May 3, 2015 when he heard the voice of the Spirit say regarding Armenia, Tongues of fire, Tongues of fire, Tongues of fire rested upon them! (Acts 2:3; Psalm 29:7). An intercessor also indicated that deep would call out to deep on this mission (Psalm 46:7). All of these indicators converged together repeatedly during each phase of the operation.
Saturday, Sept. 05 - We arrived in
Yerevan around 4am and were greeted by Armen, oldest son of
Pastor Vachagan and Lusia Davtyan, for the two hour trip
through the mountains to Vanadzor, the third largest city of
Armenia. Upon reaching Vanadzor, Vachagan shared they have
begun ten home groups throughout the city and that they cannot
train enough leaders to begin more. This is a very common
situation faced by spiritual leaders around the world.
Sunday, Sept. 06 - The first service was at Golgotha Church led by Pastor Raphael Grigoryan. It was a full house of close to 500 people. Sally brought a word of encouragement from 2Cor. 4:6-7 that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the power of the Holy Spirit. Michael delivered the message on Tongues of Fire from Acts 2:3-4 translated by 25 year old Tamara Simonyan. This new generation leader knew how to flow with the anointing of the Spirit and demonstrated a command of the Scriptures that was impressive. We adopted her on the team almost immediately. The pastors and others confirmed the message and shared that many were not using their heavenly language in prayer and worship. Hearts were open to connect again with the Holy Spirit. A number of young people were seen with big tears running down their faces seeking the Spirit. Leaders went forth laying hands on many of them. We also prayed for several older women with various pains and sicknesses. One younger woman who was deaf and mute began speaking more clearly and indicated she could hear better. Another woman with pain in her knees said it left and moved here legs up and down with joy. Still another with a painful headache said it was much better following prayer.
The evening service was at Burning Bush Church where at least 100 gathered in a rented floor of a multilevel apartment building. Sally brought a word from 2Tim. 2:21 on vessels of honor prepared for every good work. Tamara shared a remarkable testimony in light of the encouragement Sally had given in the morning service from 2Cor. 4:6-7. She said a friend she had not heard from for a year suddenly called that very afternoon sharing how she had no hope or purpose for living and was thinking of suicide. Tamara said she prayed that the Holy Spirit would use her and give her what to say to save this girl's life. She shared the Lord with her and then took her to the pastor for more sharing where her friend was saved and delivered. The girl was only in the city for the weekend confirming this was most certainly a divine appointment. Tamara viewed her translating as worship to the Lord, but now God expanded her view to being used to build His kingdom. Michael followed with a message on The Ministry of Jesus from Matthew 4:23-5:2. After describing the five interactive aspects of Jesus' ministry, he declared that the ministry of Jesus is also the ministry of the Holy Spirit. They are not divided. The young generation was called forward and at least 30 came so hungry for more of the Holy Spirit. Older women formed a wall behind them and spontaneously burst forth with strong intercession. This was very moving and again revealed smaller churches are typically more effective in the ministry of Jesus.
Monday, Sept. 07 - We met with Aren Harutyunyan for lunch and were joined later by Edgar Qocharyan, two young men 30 and 32 years of age. They were home group leaders at Burning Bush. Edgar is also one of the worship leaders and Aren is a YWAM leader who has evangelized in India and Iran. Aren testified how nine years earlier when he was 21 he attended a house meeting where Michael shared his testimony. He was into drugs and did not believe. He described himself as a "bad boy" whose own mother and others did not like. This day, though, he prayed with Michael and believed. There were seven people in that meeting who had been invited by a friend of his mother. Aren was the only one who prayed. Later on he was set free from cigarettes and baptized with the Holy Spirit. He entered and completed YWAM's Discipleship Training School (DTS) and has boldly proclaimed Christ ever since. "You are my spiritual father!" he exclaimed to Michael.
The evening service at Burning Bush began with Vachagan sharing some very profound insights into Joel 2 on the conditions for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He pointed out repentance and a returning to the Lord with all your heart followed by a call for a sacred assembly of God's people. He gave an apostolic and prophetic call for a new movement. Michael followed declaring that the Lord was zealous for Armenia in all the lands where they have been dispersed and how it was the believers, not the apostles, who first went forth spreading the gospel (Acts 8:1,4). Sally brought forth a teaching on how God calls and uses common people. She began with Mark 12:37 where the common people heard Him gladly. She described the challenge today where leaders are having a difficult time convincing the people that God needs them and wants to use them with 90% of them sitting. In Ephesians 4:11 who are the saints? They are the common people. Then why do we have 10% working in the church and 90% sitting? In 2Cor. 4:7 we have this treasure in earthen vessels so why are we not using hist treasure in the power of the Holy Spirit? The answer is in 2Tim. 2:20-21 where there are vessels of honor and dishonor in the house of God; silver and gold and wood and clay. How many feel like just wood and clay? All who seek a godly life, believe in His word, and seek the Lord with all your hearts: You are are a precious gold and silver vessel in the Lord! She concluded with exposing two lies of Satan: You don't have any special calling or gifts and only what you do in church counts. She asked any who felt that way to come forward. Vachagan and Michael prayed over the people. An anointing came upon them and the Spirit began to pour forth to set people free. Michael led the people in bold declarations against the lies of Satan and many began to break free. We quickly went to one young person who was heavily burdened and bound and led her in giving her burdens to the Lord and breaking free. Then we went to a man and woman to do the same. Many were praying around the room and the message was confirmed by many.
Tuesday, Sept. 08 - We spent the day resting in the village of Margahovit, Vachagan's home village where a Christian woman had given him a beautiful and very spacious home. Chungthang Thiek arrived later in the afternoon to complete the team. The landscape of Armenia is breathtaking to say the least.
Wednesday, Sept. 09 - The team awakened refreshed and after prayer planned a January 2016 operation for Northeast India to equip and empower 70 young leaders in the power and work of the Holy Spirit. We proceeded to the village of Chigdamal where Pastor Mkhitar, whose name means the comforter, eagerly greeted us. The small room was filled with about 70. After brief greetings by the team, Chungthang preached a powerful message on faith. Ten women stood who did not feel they really knew Jesus deep within their souls. Chungthang led them in prayer for salvation. It was one woman's first time to come to church. Another woman came saying she had faith but doubted and now her faith had been restored. She said she didn't believe God would accept her. Their salvation was sealed in prayer to Jesus. One woman brought a black cloth saying it had been cursed by someone and whoever put it upon them would die. Chungthang broke the power of Satan from the woman and ordered the cloth to be destroyed in the name of Jesus Christ. Michael led in mass prayer for faith to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Many were heard releasing heavenly language with great joy. The team learned when the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all working there is a most powerful move upon the people.
Thursday, Sept. 10 - We traveled to the Kurdish village of Aragatsotn where we were greeted by Pastor Boris. Around 70-80 people gathered in the church. Brother Michael preached on four things believers cannot do without and shared his testimony. Five came forward to receive prayer for repentance and salvation. Then everyone lifted hands to call upon God to fill them with the Holy Spirit. Many could be heard praising God in new tongues. Following the service, the pastor testified how they were ministering to Kurdish unbelievers in Iraq, Iran, Turkey and other places with tapes of the story of Jesus. He informed us that 60% of the village were now Christian. We also learned that the Kurds are not christian nor the Yezidi sect as commonly presented by the Western media.
In the evening, we attended a home group of 16 believers in Vanadzor. After singing Michael taught on the reason for persecution around the world using the raising of Lazarus as an example. He then presented the need for the Holy Spirit as documented throughout the book of Acts and brought understanding on how the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 operate. There was much dialogue as believers were challenged to identify the operation of the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and other spiritual gifts from biblical examples. Believers were asked to pray for the healing needs in their midst. They were somewhat hesitant at first which confirms again how the common people have become overly dependent upon leaders to do all ministry.
Friday, Sept. 11 - We spent the day in Yerevan where we visited the Genocide Museum and the Apostolic Church. These were important experiences with much learning that directly applied to spiritual things. It graphically portrayed how the spirit of the world and antichrist uses people and governments to attempt to wipe Christianity off the map, but they cannot even in genocide cancel the resurrection of the dead in Christ. Jesus Christ will have the final word and action. Islam is so fearful that everyone will believe in Jesus Christ (John 11:47-48; 12:10-11) so they aim to violently destroy those who confess Him. What went on in World War I, World War II, and now are all connected to the same spirits of darkness.
Chungthang preached a wonderful message on the cross of Jesus and forgiveness at Evangelist Church in Vanadzor. Pastor Arthur gathered around 45 believers together where we ministered God's word and prayed for the people. Michael gave a call for those who harbored any unforgiveness of others with the question: What is the condition of your bow? The question was based upon the conclusion of Chungthang's message using Joseph's life and blessing as an example of forgiveness rather than revenge (Gen. 49:22-26). We prayed for at least 4 believers who willingly confessed unforgiveness toward another person. We shared how unforgiveness stops all blessing. They all repented and released forgiveness. One backslider returned to the Lord and a woman with stomach sickness declared it left after prayer for healing.
Saturday, Sept. 12 - The team again left Vanadzor early in the morning to go to Mount Ararat and on to Ararat City for a scheduled meeting at the church led by Pastor Samuel Kharatyan. This young leader is on fire for God. He built the church building with his own hands and has planted 5 house churches in the region. He has been laboring for about 8 years and uses the International School of Ministry (ISOM) curriculum as a discipling and equipping strategy. The people were very alive in the Spirit and it was evident Samuel enthusiastically emphasizes the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit. For example, our translator, Mary, told us she had been a member for only a year. Although she came from a Baptist church, she was baptized with the Holy Spirit shortly afterwards. Mary had a humble spirit and did an excellent job flowing with the anointing for only her second time translating. Translation is a very important task that requires much prayer and Bible training. Chungthang shared his testimony and Sally shared a brief introduction from Matthew 5:14-16 highlighting the strategic calling for Armenia to be the city on a hill whose light will shine for Christ in the region. Michael delivered a message on The Spirit of Holiness stressing how our bodies are the temple for the Holy Spirit at both the individual and corporate level. He asked the people and the church: Do you have all the Holy Spirit you need to fulfill God's purposes in the end times? Examine and try yourselves if there are any sins and hindrances that would affect the move of the Spirit. Allow God to cleanse the temple like Jesus did. Step into the spiritual fire; the holy fire of the Spirit and be purified like silver and gold. The approximately 80 people gathered began to come quickly to the front crying out to heaven for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We began going through the crowded sanctuary laying hands on the people. Many were filled and new tongues could be heard throughout the place. A good number were filled with the Spirit for the first time. Many young believers received. Some of the people needed counseled in a separate place as pointed out by Chungthang; however, this was the strongest corporate flow of the Spirit the team had experienced to date. The team returned to Vanadzor through the mountains at night arriving shortly after midnight.
Sunday, Sept. 13 - Chungthang delivered an unexpected two hour message during the morning service at Burning Bush. He expounded on the before and after Pentecost experience of Peter finishing with an overview of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 emphasizing how they come from and under the one Spirit. He especially focused our attention on the operation of helps and giving (1Cor. 12:28) and Paul's eager desire to remember the poor (Gal. 2:10).
In the evening service at Evangelical Christian Faith Church, Michael preached from 2 Corinthians 3 with particular attention to verse 8, how will the ministry of the Spirit be more glorious? He shared a growing realization around the world that the Holy Spirit wants to break in on the church and break forth. There were around 100 people gathered in the church. They appeared very stoic in their very beautiful church building; however, a breaking occurred through the Word and the Spirit. Tamara confirmed there was a struggle in the place and then a breaking. At least 25 came forward for prayer. Many asked healing prayer and others sought the Holy Spirit. Two indicated they wanted salvation and we gladly led them to Christ.
Monday, Sept. 14 - The team visited Tamara's place followed with a lunch at the Associate Pastor's house where we discussed many things associated with the ministry. Our final ministry activity was a teaching session with over 15 new generation leaders at Burning Bush Church. Michael taught on the biblical foundations for the raising up of the new generation church from 1 Kings 20 and 1 Chronicles 12 with a closing Scripture from 1 Timothy 4:12. The teaching was enthusiastically received and Vachagan commented for Michael to return and equip the young generation.
Tuesday, Sept. 15 - Michael and Sally departed while Chungthang stayed on to minister in Golgotha Church before returning to India on September 18.
5-Fold Global Teams and Operations continue to press
forward with the mandate to equip and empower a new
generation of leaders and believers to fulfill the book of
Acts in the power of the Holy Spirit. The objective is to
multiply the end time harvest through strategic prayer,
power evangelism, Spirit-filled discipleship, and church
planting aligned with God's word. This mission revealed
again God's strong hand upon the new generation church.
Although they are currently embedded in local churches, they
are about to rise up in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Something is happening deep inside of them. There
is spiritual movement that may be the start of a big revival.
Tamara Simonyan reflected this in
describing her experience on the team.
time spent with this team was a great blessing. I got a
privilege to translate for them. We started visiting
different churches and the
they are giving were all full of Holy Spirit power. At
the end of the sermon many people were coming forward to
accept Holy Spirit in their lives or re-experience what
they once had but forgot about that. People were thirsty
for that power. They also were sharing testimonies from
their own experiences and that was a good encouragement
for the local believers. So I can say this time that
they spent in Armenia was a great blessing and hopefully
a start of a big revival. Its is interesting that after
these prayers many young people from Vanadzor city came
up to believers and talked about the inside emptiness
they were feeling, and some of them were led to Jesus,
so we believe that Holy Spirit started to move.
Thiek indicated how this operation was by God's
It is God's initiative and approved to God. I could experience great spiritual blessings upon ministry, and also God opened door wherever we had a meeting. I personally enjoyed fellowship with the churches of Armenia. I saw God's hand in every activity. Vachagan and his wife are committed servants of God. They are a great blessing to me.
There is a depth of soul in the
Armenian people that does not go unnoticed when in their
midst. The best way to describe it is as the deer
pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You,
O God (Psalm 42:1) and deep calls
unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls
(Psalm 42:7). One commentary says this apparently
refers to a water shaft. The psalmist alludes to the
loud rushing sound of mountain streams and cascading
waterfalls. Using the poetic device of personification,
he imagines the streams calling out to each other as
they hear the sound of the waterfalls. As he hears the
sound of the rushing water, the psalmist imagines
himself engulfed in the current. The Armenian Church
may be mostly surrounded by enemies whose aim is destroy
them, but our God is their rock and their shield. They
shall not be moved. Instead they will be ignited with Holy
Spirit fire and power as they hear and are engulfed by the
waterfalls of His Spirit to advance God's kingdom in the
midst of their enemies. Amen.