It has been my great joy to serve with others throughout the world during 34 years of pastoral ministry. I took my first trip to Armenia in 2003. I thought it would be my one trip, but here I am at trip No. 15.

This one is different: little work and a lot of celebration.

Usually, my group works on a house in the village of Lusaghbyur. We have finished 16 houses in a village destroyed by the earthquake of 1988. There were only four habitable structures remaining, out of 240+ after the ground stopped rolling.

My former congregation established a sister church relationship with a church in Gyumri. Over the years, we purchased chairs, refinished hardwood floors, equipped a computer lab, donated a projector, replaced lighting and purchased a piano.

We have started several businesses. We have purchased cars for pastors. We have encouraged several young people to go to college and pursue advanced degrees, in word and deed ($).

I have done weddings, baptisms, preached, celebrated communion. This trip I celebrate the fruit borne of over a decade of nurture.

On Sunday, Sept. 30, we dedicate a new sanctuary and community center in Gyumri. The following Sunday, we attend the wedding of a young woman we encouraged through college. I have known Anna since she was 8 years old. It will be a great party.

Finally, a bit of work, several Fresnans are sending the resources to buy a delivery van for Grand Hope, a ministry that takes donated goods from the capital to the border villages of Armenia.

Please pray for me and the 11 fellow travelers. See you on Sunday, Oct. 14, in worship at Robinson Park for our congregation’s second annual Blessing of the Animals (more details to come).