Living in the disputed region of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Mkhitar has experienced a great deal of tension and violence. “There is always the danger of war where we live, so we must cling to God,” he stresses.
The short but brutal war over Artsakh in the fall of 2020 left many people broken and desperate. It was the culmination of a long-lasting territorial and ethnic conflict, but Mkhitar sees another aspect. “Artsakh is like a Christian island surrounded by Muslim nations,” he points out, implying a spiritual battle going on behind the scenes.
Before the war, Mkhitar didn’t live like a Christian, although he grew up in an evangelical family. “As a young man, I embraced a secular lifestyle,” he recalls. “I was a professional weightlifter and trusted my own strength as a sportsman. I loved my way of living without God.”
Mkhitar’s godless attitude changed when he was called to fight in the 2020 war. “One day, I found myself alive after a cruel battle, and I asked myself why God would keep me alive,” he says. “Suddenly, I heard a soft voice saying, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’”
There was no one near him, so Mkhitar knew the Lord was talking to him. That was the moment he realized he should follow the Lord. “After the war, I hurried to meet with the pastor of my family’s church and told him I desired to serve Jesus,” he continues.
Mkhitar soon became a faithful churchgoer and Bible study participant. After a while, his pastor encouraged him to enroll in Bible League’s Church Planter Training, held in Armenia. “The training gives me the knowledge and skills to serve the brokenhearted people of Artsakh,” he says.
Because of the complicated situation in Artsakh, only a few churches and organizations are doing Christian ministry there. “Bible League Armenia is the only one bringing the Gospel into people’s lives here,” he expresses gratefully. He now dreams of planting as many home churches across Artsakh as possible. “My people have a hunger for the Word of God and, as a believer, I should seize every opportunity to reach them,” he stresses. “May I ask you to pray for my people and my country to have peace and open doors for the Gospel?”