The interns spend time with the children at Camp Sheen Shoghig in Hankavan, Armenia
Finally, a day at camp! We leaders had experienced Camp Sheen Shoghig (at Hankavan) five years ago as interns, and were moved by seeing God’s work being done with such zeal. Coming back this year with our group of seventeen, we were excited, but also anxious, knowing that it would likely be the hardest day for our interns.
The day started off promisingly enough, with two of our interns leading worship for all 165 of this week’s attendees (for those who don’t know, this week’s session is for 8-13 year old). It was encouraging to see them jump into their roles so early on! As the day wore on, however, we noticed that it was taking a while for our interns to step out of their comfort zones and into their service roles. Slowly, they realized that their time with these kids was limited, and so they allowed themselves to be approached (or rather, swarmed) by the kids and separated from one another. Some were involved in sports and games; others helped with arts and crafts; still others stuck with individual groups and helped out the camp leaders.
It was amazing for us to see how God can take people who are ready to serve Him, and not only use them for His glory, but also teach them, through their service, about who He is. The interns were expecting to be the ones doing the serving–but instead, it was the kids who were teaching our interns about service. The kids’ passion and love for the Lord, and affection for everyone around them, humbled our interns. They saw that, although the circumstances here may be worse, the spirits of everyone here are so much fuller than ours. As leaders we were glad to see this challenge be presented to our interns, because it led them to question the real meaning of wealth.
In 1 John 3:18, it is written: “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” Today our interns experienced this first-hand. They saw how any language barriers that existed just melted away when they rolled up their sleeves and loved in deeds rather than with words. The lesson must have hit home, because by the end of the day, the most common question was “Can’t we stay another day?” We ask that you pray for continued growth and maturity among our beloved interns, and for God to continue blessing us through those we encounter, and, Lord willing, vice versa!
Tamar Melkonian and Sevag Bakalian