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Missionary Spotlight-Artur Marandyan’s testimony

August 2004

I was born on 1 November 1975, in Kirovogam (now Fanatsor) in Armenia. I was brought up in a good family, being the oldest of three children. My parents were nominal Christians.

One day in 1988 my parents took us children away with them on a business trip. But we never returned to Kirovogam, for in our absence a great earthquake had destroyed the town. We were evacuated to a sanatorium in the suburbs of Kharkov in Ukraine.

I studied at a secondary school in Ukraine. But although I lived at home with my parents, I was now brought up by ‘the street’. I experimented with alcohol and drugs, and became a crook and black-marketeer.

In 1993 I joined the army and served with frontier troops. In 1995 I got married to Natasha, a Ukrainian. Today we have two young daughters, Christina and Carina.

After getting married I sobered up for a while. I stopped engaging in open crime but I still earned money dishonestly. Later I left the army and worked in business.

Sudden conversion

 

But during August 1999 all this changed, when I suddenly came to know God. My conversion happened in a wonderful and yet very simple way. One evening I went to bed; and at 4.00am I woke up with a compelling thought that I must seek God.

Until then I had disregarded Christianity, thinking it was for weak people like my aunt, who was an old and sick believer. My acquaintance with an orthodox priest receiving treatment for a sexually transmitted disease also had a negative influence on me.

But on that day I went to a place of worship. The Lord met with me and changed me completely. I confessed all my sins and got complete release.

My wife thought that I had gone crazy with drugs. Having false ideas about believers, she was afraid that I would sacrifice children (she was pregnant at that time). But I prayed for her and soon she took Jesus Christ into her heart.

We were baptised on 25 December 1999 at the Christian Life Church in Kharkov. I studied at the Tavriysk Christian Institute in Kherson. By God’s mercy many of my relatives also have now repented, including my mother, brother and sister.

From the day of my conversion I wanted to serve Christ. I took on different responsibilities in the church and preached. But I felt the Lord had something else for me to do.

Missionary

 

It was in a study session on missiology that I finally understood that God wanted me to be a missionary. I don’t know why, but my thoughts immediately turned to the Kurds, a nation living in Turkey and Iran.

I began research on the Kurds through the library and Internet. But soon I decided to forget the idea, as it all seemed unreal. Our church was already supporting one missionary and I understood that there was no possibility of them supporting any more.

I didn’t tell anyone, yet the thought would not leave me. So I asked God for wisdom. In time, I shared my thoughts with the pastor and church and to my surprise they welcomed the idea, as did my wife.

I am now working as a missionary with the Ukrainian Hope to People mission, taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Ezids.

From June 2003 we have lived as a family among them, in the town of Yerevan in Armenia.

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Armenia