Yakov was born in 1965 in Artsakh, the disputed region between Armenia and Azerbaijan. His grandfather, who fought in World War I, escaped from the Armenian Genocide in Eastern Turkey and settled in Artsakh. Yakov’s father was a Soviet soldier during World War II.
Then, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Artsakh became part of Azerbaijan. The ethnic Armenian majority didn’t accept that, and a new war broke out. “This time, I was the one to become a soldier,” Yakov looks back.
During a battle, Yakov lost both his legs when a mine exploded. “At the age of 27, I was bound to a wheelchair,” he says. Sadly, there was still one final chapter in this story of conflict. “In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan attacked Artsakh and killed many Armenians,” Yakov continues. “We had to escape to Armenia, where we found shelter in a town called Abovyan.”
Yakov’s family lost all they had, including their hope. “I was all bitterness,” he confides.
Pastor Vardan from Bible League Armenia set up a ministry to provide food and clothes to the refugees from Artsakh. He also visited Yakov and his family. “Brother Vardan was so kind to us,” Yakov recalls with gratitude. “His attitude made me think he was a true child of God. He also comforted us with the Word of God.”
Yakov, who belonged to the Orthodox Church, realized he wasn’t deeply rooted in the Christian faith. “Vardan stirred a hunger inside me to know all about the Bible,” he says. “As I was listening to him sharing the Gospel, hope and peace came in my heart. Soon, I decided to give my life to Jesus Christ.”
Pastor Vardan gave Yakov a Bible, which he reads daily. “God’s Word heals my broken heart,” he testifies. “Psalm 27:1 means a lot to me, ‘Lord, you are my Light and my Savior, so why should I be afraid of anyone?’”
Equipped with the Bible you helped provide, Yakov now wants to bring the Good News to other refugees from Artsakh. “I want to share the hope I received in Jesus Christ with them. I can’t keep it to myself,” he concludes. Will you uplift Yakov and his ministry burden in your prayers?