Monday, September 7, 2015

Two days left!

It happens all the time. You wait for something for weeks or months and then you blink and it's over. That's kind of how this year's mission trip to Armenia feels. Months of preparation went into this trip, a major undertaking even under the best of circumstances, and now Pastor Joseph and Jessie are resting for the night with two full days left in Armenia. They will leave Yerevan on Thursday morning and, crossing over eight time zones, will arrive in Montreal on Thursday afternoon. 

The last few days were quite busy for them so we thank you for your prayers for their health and strength. On Friday, Pastor Joseph visited several families in need, accompanied by a couple of the brothers we work closely with in Yerevan. Most of Saturday was spent in a town called Charentsavan, where the local Baptist church was celebrating its 10th anniversary and had asked Pastor Joseph to preach. 

On Sunday, Pastor Joseph preached at a small church in Davidashen and then went to the village of Sayat Nova where 6 people were baptized. This took place at the home a lady who was baptized last summer, in the shallow pool in her front courtyard. A preteen girl who lives near her and whom we met during our 2013 trip was one of those baptized! 

In between some of these activities, Pastor Joseph and Jessie have been visiting many homes or receiving visitors at their hotel. They have been giving Bibles and devotional books, praying with people and ministering to them however the Lord has led them to. Pray for these precious souls, that they may grow in the Lord and experience lasting joy in Him. 

Please pray for these last two days in Armenia, that Pastor and Jessie will continue to have good health and be a blessing to as many people as they come into contact with. Pray, too, for their safe journey home. They miss everyone and send their love and greetings to all of you. 

They're a bit out of order but there are lots of new photos HERE! And here are a few samples...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Day 13 - On the Road Again

After resting for a couple of days, Pastor Joseph and Jessie were full-swing back in action on Wednesday, beginning their third and last week in Armenia. The latest photos begin HERE.

On Monday, despite feeling some stress and fatigue, they relied on God's strength and went to visit two widows. The people they are visiting live in difficult circumstances (notice the buckets in one home where, when it rains outside, it also rains inside). Special thanks to those of you who have generously provided the means with which we can help some of those in need.

On Tuesday, they had a visit with a local journalist (the woman seated with Pastor Joseph, with a bouquet of roses in front of them) whom we connected with a few years ago, but they kept the rest of the day low-key. On Wednesday, however, they visited four families, in Yerevan, Getap, Sayat Nova and one other town. All of these families face hardship and a couple of them have experienced heart-breaking tragedies (suicide, abandoned children, disabilities caused by trauma, etc.) What is amazing is seeing the joy and peace they have because of the hope they have found in Jesus Christ!

When we spoke with Pastor Joseph and Jessie, they were preparing to welcome two separate visitors at the hotel later in the day. When they can't go out to meet with people to offer encouragement and guidance, those people are sometimes able to visit them.

One of the ladies in the photos (sitting alone and wearing a dark top) has opened her home in Sayat Nova for the third consecutive year so that new believers can be baptized in the shallow pool in her courtyard. Ten will be baptized on Sunday afternoon!

Fun fact: You'll notice in the photos two long slabs with a reddish substance spread out on them. This is in the courtyard we just mentioned... and those are natural "fruit roll-ups" being prepared from a mixture of home-grown fruits. Yum! We continue to be impressed by the resourcefulness of those in need in Armenia.

Thank you all for your faithful prayers. One week to go!

Pastor Joseph's devotional books ready for distribution.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Day 9 - Baptism in Horom

Hello, everyone! Thanks for your patience as we paused in updating our Armenia mission trip blog for a few days as Pastor Joseph rested. I spoke with him and Jessie earlier today and, though they were understandably tired, they were also excited to share a little about their special day back in Horom.

Pastor Tigran Muradyan praying before the baptismal service.
As you'll see from the latest photos (you can start viewing the new series HERE), ten women and men (four of them teenagers) were baptized. A few of them were new believers but there were others we had met on previous trips to Armenia. A day before, Pastor Joseph wasn't sure whether he'd be able to physically perform the baptisms (i.e. immersing the people in the water) but was ready to officiate while either Pastor Tigran Muradyan or our missionary-friend Arayik Sardaryan did the baptisms. However, after much prayer (by our supporters as well as by him and Jessie), he felt well in the morning. He says that as soon as he stepped into the pool, his strength was restored and, of course, everyone rejoiced that he was able to proceed with the baptisms--especially those who had waited for him to baptize them!

The journey to Horom and back was long (they had to pick up and drop off people along the way, too) so Pastor Joseph and Jessie planned to make it a restful evening as they will be heading to another town on Sunday for Pastor Joseph to speak to a different congregation.

They thank you all for your faithful and loving prayers!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Day 5 - Doctor's Orders

This morning (Tuesday), we heard from Pastor Joseph and Jessie and they told us that they were at the hotel and taking it easy. I was a bit surprised as it was still early in the evening but they explained that Pastor had not been feeling very well since the day before so our friend Arayik drove him to the hospital for some tests. Thankfully, his heart was doing well and the blood tests were clear but his blood pressure was quite high. He could have stayed overnight at the hospital for observation but was also given the option to return to the hotel if he promised to rest for a few days and take some medication.

A few hours later, he called us back to say that he'd been following the doctor's orders and, having checked his blood pressure, was pleased to report that it was starting to come down to a healthier level. While his condition is not serious, we appreciate your prayers for his recovery. As you can imagine, he's eager to get back to doing ministry but he also recognizes that this is a good time for him and Jessie to have some quiet time and much-needed (and deserved) rest.

Here's a quick recap of what they've done so far during this trip:

- Arrived Thursday night
- Attended a wedding on Friday afternoon
- A couple of visitations on Saturday
- Preached and visited in Horom on Sunday
- A couple of visitations on Monday

We've uploaded the first set of photos (the wedding and the trip to Horom), which you can view HERE. More to come!

Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement.


Photo below: Pastor Joseph and Jessie (left) with Pastor Tigran and his wife Valya in Horom.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Day 4 - Checking In

The eight-hour difference between Yerevan and Montreal, combined with busy schedules, has presented some challenges in connecting with Pastor Joseph and Jessie to get full reports on their activities but we will try to share some details in an upcoming blog post.

On Sunday, they joined four others for the long drive to Horom, where we helped rebuild the local church last spring. Pastor Joseph preached at the morning service and then their group enjoyed lunch at Pastor Tigran's home. Photos are on their way... (we've had some technological issues there, too).

In an email sent early this morning, they mentioned that they were waiting for a young lady to drop by the hotel to pick up gospel tracts, which she distributes herself and also helps us supply to local groups. At that point their day wasn't planned but a lot of the mission work we've done in Armenia is spontaneous or planned at the last minute. It often depends on what the latest urgent need is. Sometimes a visit to one family will be followed by a prompt to visit another. It'll be neat to see where the Lord led them today!

Thank you for following our news, though we realize it's a bit spotty at this point. Your prayers are a great encouragement!


Friday, August 21, 2015

Day 1 - Mini update

We thank God that Pastor Joseph and Jessie arrived safely in Yerevan on Thursday evening. Naturally, they were exhausted after their long trip so they turned in fairly early after settling into their hotel.

Their first full day in Armenia was busy, though they haven't officially started their outreach yet. After picking up a few essentials (e.g. a card for their cell phone), they were taken to Dilijan, a beautiful little town about two hours from the capital, to attend a wedding. Of course, Armenian weddings are great affairs so, with another two-hour drive back, it was quite late when they gave us a quick call to check in and say good-night.

Note: Don't let the map fool you when it says the drive is 1.5 hours. The roads in Armenia are not like the roads most of us are used to! :)

Not surprisingly, although they weren't on duty, so to speak, they took advantage of the opportunity to speak to a couple of people they met and give them gospel tracts.

Saturday will give Pastor and Jessie a chance to finally rest a little as they only have one visitation planned. They'll be going to Horom on Sunday and will no doubt have many interesting stories to tell us after that trip.

If you're not familiar with our mission work in Armenia, you can find last year's full report here. Once again, thank you all for your continued prayers and support.

Good night!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Mission: Armenia 2015 - One more sleep!

As I type this, Pastor Joseph and Jessie are settling in for their last evening at home before their mission trip to Armenia. If all goes as scheduled, they will be flying out of Montreal in about 25 hours and heading to Paris for their connecting flight to Yerevan.

There's been a lot of excitement around here as suitcases have been filled and rearranged, good-byes and prayers of support have been offered by church members and friends, and all the other details that come with a major international trip have been checked twice. (Special thanks to my sister Ruth who took care of all the bookings and much more.) We've been overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters who have donated money, reading glasses, Tylenol and Advil, and even eight hand-knit sweaters to give to babies growing up in needy families. Even more encouraging have been the promises of continued prayer and the loving words of support and affirmation. Thank you all so much! We couldn't continue this work without all of you participating as you have.

I'll be doing my best to translate verbal reports from our parents into written updates here for those of you would like to follow along on their journey in the next three weeks. We will post photos as often as we can. You can also keep up with us on Facebook HERE, if you find that easier (we will post links back to this blog).

Again, we appreciate all your prayers for Mom and Dad while they are in Armenia but we also ask that you would pray for the people they will meet in Yerevan and the surrounding villages -- the pastors, church members, families and even strangers -- that their hearts would be prepared to hear and receive a special word from the Lord.

On behalf of the Joseph Hovsepian Ministries team,


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

We're Going Back!

It's official: Pastor Joseph Hovsepian is returning to Armenia this summer and his wife, Jessie, will be accompanying him on his sixth (her third) mission trip to their ancestral homeland. Please pray for them--and for those they will meet and minister to--as they prepare to travel. They will leave Montreal on August 19 and return on September 10.

Would you like to help in some way? Here are the most pressing needs:

  • Funds to purchase and freely distribute Bibles and New Testaments
  • Funds to print and freely distribute devotional books and gospel tracts
  • Basic medicine such as Tylenol and Advil
  • Reading glasses (in a variety of strengths)
  • Funds for emergency situations (e.g. sudden illness or families unable to pay for rent or groceries)
We're excited to hear that there are new believers eagerly waiting for Pastor Joseph to baptize them during his visit. Since last year's trip we've been staying in touch with our partners in Yerevan and nearby villages at least weekly (sometimes daily) and have heard many wonderful praise reports about individuals responding to the gospel and surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ. The church we helped rebuild in Horom is doing well in its various ministries and we continue to pray for the spiritual growth of the church family there. Faithful believers in Yerevan give of their time and resources to lead home Bible studies, to visit those in need and to mentor and disciple new believers. There is much to celebrate!

It's also been a privilege for us to begin a sponsorship program for several families in Armenia. We have a few individuals who have "adopted" one family each and send monthly support to help with their most immediate needs. As well, Temple Baptist Church is sponsoring a couple of families and our Men's and Women's Fellowship groups are each sponsoring a family. If that sounds like something you'd like to participate in, please contact us and we'll connect you with a family in need. (You can call 514-279-9626 or email

In the Press! 

We're also pleased to be able to share with you a link to an article Ann-Margret recently had published in Christianity Today titled Revival 100 Years After the Armenian Genocide, which not only marks the centennial of the genocide but also describes some of the work JHM has been doing in Armenia since 2008. Please share the article with your friends!

If you're not already following our Facebook page, please visit us (and  "like" us) at

Thank you all for your prayers and support!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Last Day!

In 24 hours, God willing, we will be sitting on a plane bound for Paris, on the first leg of our long trip home. We've had an incredible mission trip these past three weeks and our hearts and minds are packed tight with memories, prayer requests, praise reports, concerns and joys. Even though we know that God has used us--and the support that so many of you equipped us with--we also recognize that we leave behind countless needs that we would not be able to meet even we stayed for a year. We're humbled to have been able to play a small role in encouraging some families and churches during our stay, and we were encouraged and blessed by these encounters, too.
Yesterday (Tuesday) was our slowing-down day. In the morning, we met one last time with one of the faithful workers here and urged her to continue her outreach ministry despite the challenges or setbacks she may face. It's always inspiring when individuals remain committed to serving the Lord even under difficult circumstances.
We then took a couple of hours to behave like tourists; after some shawarma (something we rarely eat at home, even though there are plenty of Middle Eastern restaurants in Montreal), we walked around the Kentron District (basically the commercial centre of Yerevan, where our hotel is located) and took photos of architecture, passers-by and each other. It was nice to look around with a different perspective and have the chance to observe small details.
In the evening we made one last visit to a family we've connected with over the past couple of years and enjoyed supper and fellowship together. It's always interesting to discuss various issues about life, faith, culture, etc. with people who have grown up and live in a different environment than our own (there were also two visitors from Russia present). We can learn a lot from each other!
The rest of our last day will be spent packing (we've already printed our boarding passes!) and tying up any loose ends before going to bed fairly early. We need to be up by 5 a.m. as we fly out at 8:40. We'll have a 7-hour layover in Paris, which will make our journey drag a bit, but we should be home Thursday evening (Montreal time). Your prayers for our trip are greatly appreciated!
Thanks for following our blog these past three weeks! God bless you. :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Last Visits for Mission: Armenia 2014

In some ways it feels like we've been in Armenia for just three days instead of three weeks; at the same time, we've had what seems like three months' worth of experiences! We have a couple of meetings planned for today and then we'll be wrapping up our mission trip for this year and getting ready (and rested, hopefully) for our journey home.
Yesterday (Monday), we visited two homes in Abovyan, a town about 16km northeast of Yerevan. The first family we met was that of a local pastor, Armen, who currently holds meetings in his home. His congregation is actually larger than what fits in his home so they are trying to see whether they can find a larger meeting place for their services and Bible studies. During our visit, a dear lady we met last year, Marianoush, came over because she knew we were there and she wanted to see us again. Last year she had shared a prayer request with us about her youngest daughter, two at the time, who needed surgery. She had the little one with her yesterday and we saw the scars on her leg and foot where she'd been operated to try to straighten her limbs. Unfortunately, she will require another procedure. Please pray for this little girl (we can't remember her name right now). It was lovely to see how she played with the pastor's niece, also three years old, during our visit.
Afterward, we visited the home of Artur, a painter who amazes us with his latest masterpieces each year we visit. We were delighted to also see his mother and his two teenagers: 16-year-old Aida, also an artist, and 18-year-old Narek, a multi-medal-winning boxer who won bronze at the 2014 Youth Olympics. There was much to celebrate in this home, including the recent hatching of five tiny canaries!
Later in the day, we had two last visits with local friends and relatives, trying to grab a few more precious moments with these loved ones before we leave. We're grateful for the fellowship we've enjoyed and will miss our friends here. Thankfully, nowadays we have things like Facebook and Skype to stay in touch!
We'll likely only post one more update before we leave Yerevan, but we'll try to write more after our return to Montreal. God bless you!