Armenian Medical Mission Team Final Day in Armenia

As much as I dreaded it, Saturday finally came- our last day in Armenia.

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Megerian Carpet Factory

After meeting with the Southern team for breakfast, we toured the Megerian Carpet Factory. I never would have thought about the work that goes into a single carpet- Each carpet from the Megerian Factory takes around 9 months to compete!

After a couple more stops (one including the best lahmajoon I’ve ever had), we had a little free time when I went to Vernissage market and enjoyed some window shopping. Later we headed over to the banquet where we enjoyed each-others company and reflected over the week we all spent together. (Warning: upcoming cheesy-ness.)

In the weeks prior to this trip, I didn’t think much about what my week in Armenia would be like or what it would entail- I was mostly hoping I wouldn’t have to work the urine station. I had no idea not only how fun the clinic would be, but how much working to help others would, in return, end up helping and changing me.

Though the week is over, the friendships I’ve made and the memories of this week are something that will carry on past just these nine days. I am so grateful to have had the chance to experience this trip, and it is a week I’ll never forget. I hope to return next year, but even if I can’t, this trip will always have a place in my heart and will continue to impact me in the years to come.

Tsedesutyun, Armenia!

Sarah Smith

Armenia Medical Mission North Team: Final Clinic Day

Friday- our final day of clinics! Today’s clinic was pretty slow and we had a small group of patients, so it was a stress-free way to wrap up our clinic. After packing up our material at the church, we had our final meal in Stepanavan. We then headed over to Sevanavank- an old monastery on top of a hill overlooking Lake Sevan. Most of us viewed the church and took in the beautiful view or visited the marketplace. One of our team members, Alek, actually went jet skiing in Lake Sevan! We then went to dinner and headed back to Yerevan.

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Lake Sevan and Sevanavank

Though I’m bummed the clinic is over, I’m excited for a fun day in Yerevan tomorrow and to meet back up with our friends from the Southern team.

Sarah Smith

Armenia Medical Mission South Team: Clinic Days 3 and 4

Yesterday, June 19, was the South team’s third and final day of the clinic in Sisian. Allison led worship again and inspired us with the word of the day: presence. She spoke about how we should all admire God’s presence and soak up our surroundings as a way of searching for God in order to see the ways in which he is communicating with us and blessing us. We were blessed to have cared for 120 patients on Wednesday, another milestone that we cherished and gave the Lord thanks for.

After a half day of clinic, we headed further south to Tatev, home of the longest aerial reversible tramway in the world, which we rode to the Tatev monastery. The ride offered many magnificent views.

Then, we headed even further south to Kapan, where we set up our new clinic for the next two days. Today, we began the day with yet another word to motivate us: sustain. Having worked the previous two days, we needed God’s strength to sustain ours and keep us energetic to help the people of Kapan. We also talked about how our mission will not only sustain the patients’ mental health, but also their spiritual health and trust in the Lord.

We were able to treat 124 patients throughout the day. Tomorrow is our final day of clinic before we head back to Yerevan.

Corrie and George Phillips

Armenia Medical Mission North Team: Day 4

Another eventful day for the North team! In this morning’s worship service, the Armenian minister reminded the congregants that while they are receiving physical help from the medical professionals, they are also receiving God. Following the half-day clinic, we all packed up the supplies, loaded them on the bus, and headed over the green mountains to Stepanavan. We set up in a much smaller church, tomorrow’s going to be controlled chaos, but with God’s help, we will be able to do some good work here. Many thanks to all the church workers in Vanadzor – we could not have been able to do it without them!

Sarah Smith

Armenia Medical Mission South Team: Day 2

Today was the South Team’s second day of the clinic in Sisian. We started the day even earlier than before at 6:20 am for a morning run to a beautiful church overlooking the countryside, followed by breakfast at our hotel. Worship leader, Allison Phillips, introduced us to a new word meant to guide us during our work at the clinic: joy. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” We discussed the importance of being not only willing to help others, but to do so with excitement and genuine happiness.

During our church service, Dr. Ruth shared her testimony, recounting how she came to Christ and her upbringing, and how that led her to become a doctor. We were blessed to have cared for 119 patients today and we thank the Lord for giving us, and especially the doctors, the necessary strength and resolve to work long and hard for the people of Sisian.

To celebrate our wonderful tour guide Gayane’s birthday, we had a celebration after dinner with a live band and Armenian dancing. It was a vibrant and enjoyable display of our cultural heritage, and a fun way to cap off an arduous day of work. Thank you!

Corrie and George Phillips

Armenia Medical Mission North Team: Day 3

The Northern team began our Tuesday with a church service which focused on how healing spiritually is equally important as physical healing. This helped remind us that people come to this church for not only medical reasons, but to come pray with us and experience spiritual attention as well.

The doctors and nurses were ready to go, and the rest of us learned what we needed to take vital signs, fill prescriptions, or do tests (as most of us switched jobs today). We saw about 140 people- our largest day of the week- , but luckily managed to keep the process running smoothly. I think we will all sleep well tonight!

Sarah Smith

Armenia Medical Mission North Team: Day 2

We started our day pretty early today to finish setting up the medical center. After driving to the church and eating breakfast, we finished setting up our stations for the day, such as the EKG testing station or the pharmacy station. We then had a church service with both our medical group and with some of today’s patients. Following the service, we headed into our assigned jobs for the day. My friend Christine and I were assigned to the urine station (aka the best station) which ended up being really fun. About 6 hours later (or 120 urine cups later), the day was over and we headed back to the hotel after dinner. Tsedesutyun!

Sarah Smith

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South Team’s First Day of Clinic: Day 3

Today marked the South team’s first day of the clinic. We started the day bright and early at 7:30 am for breakfast at our hotel’s restaurant. We gathered around for worship led by Allison Phillips to sing praises to the Lord and focus ourselves for the day ahead – our word of the day was preparation, and we all were eager to use the tools and skills that God granted us to do great things for the people of Sisian. We read Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” With that in mind, we drove to the church where we had set up our clinic the night before and began seeing patients after the Armenian church service. We treated 93 people for a variety of medical concerns and 102 children with their dental health. With God’s grace and guiding hand we were able to triage, treat, and pray for all the patients throughout the day.

We wrapped up our first day with a delicious dinner at the hotel and are looking forward to tomorrow!

Corrie and George Phillips

South Team Day Two

Today the Armenian Medical Mission Team started off the morning with a run up the Cascades, which offered a beautiful view of Yerevan. Next, we went to Echmiadzin and saw many famous Armenian relics including the spear that pierced Jesus’ side and a petrified piece of wood believed to have been a remnant of Noah’s Ark found on Mount Ararat. After our visit to Echmiadzin, the team traveled to Khor Virab where we were met with a breathtaking view of Mount Ararat and ventured into the pit that once imprisoned Gregory the Illuminator. After this stop, the group split, with half heading North to Vanadzor and half heading South to Sisian. On the way to Sisian, the South team stopped for lunch next to the Areni-1 cave complex located in the village of Areni in the Vayots Dzor province, home of the first ever leather shoe and oldest winery in the world.

When we arrived in Sisian, we set up our clinic at the local church, unpacking countless boxes of medicine and other supplies. We have a big day ahead of us as we anticipate our first day of service to the people of Sisian, and we thank God for blessing us with this opportunity to help others!

Corrie and George Phillips

North Team Day Two in Yerevan

We started our morning of day two in Yerevan with a mini church service on the bus. We sang together and went over scriptures- it was a really peaceful way to start the morning. Our first stop was Echmiadzin- the first Christian church in history! We then made the trek to what is called “the pit” (Khor Virab)- an old pit in P’Ok’R Vedi (Little Vedi) that was used to torture St. Gregory for being Christian. After experiencing climbing into the pit and then enjoying beautiful views of Mt. Ararat, the Northern and Southern groups then split off into their separate busses.

I’m definitely going to miss my Southern friends throughout the week. The Northern group then made the long journey to Vanadzor, where we set up this week’s medical headquarters. Tsedesutyun (good bye) from the Northern team!

Sarah Smith