"When the lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the word of God and the testimony they had given. " Revelation 6:9
It was well past midnight and as the aircraft prepared to land in Armenia I would soon find out how clueless I was in regards to what lay ahead of me over the next few days. Upon arrival Wanda quickly started to fill me in on the conflict happening in the Karabahk area. My head started to ache with all the information.
I was told "Samson's nephew, Sasha, has been reported lost and we need to pray."
We received conflicting information over the next couple of days and nothing was clear accept the family seemed to sense and know something was not right. Some had already started the process of mourning.
A few days later the official news came that dear Sasha had died on the battle field. His body would be delivered later in the day.
Everything seemed to happen so very quickly from that point and before we knew it we were pressing thru a very large crowd of dark haired Armenians as we made our way towards the center of the room. Chanting and prayers were echoing thru the room and bouncing off the tall ceilings. I caught a glimpse of the back of a man clad in a red and gold robe, a priest perhaps?
Shockingly young military men stood guard. Family encircled the casket. A photo of the fallen warrior at the head of the casket .. and a sweet cousin close to the same age draped across the end of the casket speaking those last few precious words. Sasha was not just his cousin, but more like his brother ... Quietly, you could feel the ache and pain of the loss start to mount until a moan started to birth forth.
The next day Sasha was buried. Buried with great honor as his male friends and family carried his casket to his final resting place not far from his home. His mother was encircled by the female family and friends as they escorted her back into their home. She and the other women would stay behind and allow this last act of honoring her son to be done traditionally, by the men.
I was honored to be there, yet still so curious why the Lord would allow me to be there and to experience such an intimate moment with this family. Why Lord?
A day or so later ... I was sharing at a local church. I spoke of how I came to Armenia and how I had not known of the Genocide of 1,500,000 million Armenians until this past year..... As I was sharing, all of a sudden - - - I had a vision. I looked beyond the congregation that I was speaking too and I could see in the distance - HEAVEN. I could see martyrs standing around the throne of God. I saw them move forward and then I knew that this had been the scene of Sasha's homecoming.
The 1.5 million Armenians that had died because of their faith and their testimony, stood before the throne of God and welcomed home their brother Sasha, into his place of honor.
As I shared my 'thoughts' with the congregation I looked out into the crowd and all I saw in that moment was tears flowing. Tears for the past and tears for the present.
Dear God forgive me for my lack of knowledge in regards to my brothers and sisters in Armenia... dear God....
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6