Thomas Cosmades

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WILL SHINE LIKE THE STARS FOREVER

CHAPTER 38

 

LAST VISIT TO JORDAN

Not knowing if he would ever return to the Middle East, Vahram determined to spend some time in Jordan again.  This verse came to mind: "Come, let us return and visit the brethren in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are" (Acts 15:36). So he journeyed from Beirut to Amman.

On his first Sunday morning, Pastor Leroy Whitman welcomed him with open arms.  Vahram, his face shining, took his place at the pulpit with a deep sense of gratitude to his heavenly Father.  When he caught sight of Ibrahim Deir, one of the firstfruits of the revival, sitting in the midst of other brothers and sisters, he was profoundly moved.  Burying his face in his hands, he wept, and again the winds of revival began to blow, though in a lesser degree than during his first visit.  He offered up thanks to Christ for His unfailing faithfulness.

Fawaz Ameish, who had been restored to his Savior at the previous Amman meetings, was now serving as pastor at the Ajloun Baptist church, where the memory of Vahramís preaching and assistance of its founding was still fresh.  The Southern Baptist Mission, under whose auspices the hospital at Ajloun now operated, invited Vahram for a week of meetings.  All the hospital staff joined hand in hand to form a circle to welcome him.  Those who knew him from the 1950 meetings gave their testimonies.  Called on to speak, Vahram asked in his usual manner for everyone to pray short prayers in turn, including the doctors and other staff, some of whom had never prayed in public before.  For the first time in their lives they prayed aloud, and a fresh awakening broke out.  From the start Vahramís preaching was marked by conversions and renewal.

One day the hospital director asked Pastor Ameish to arrange Vahramís schedule for just one day.  This is how the day went, taken from Ameishís notes which he keeps to this day: "This morning we started with a special service for hospital staff.  Our time was limited.  At the close of his message, Vahram invited anyone who felt the Lord had been speaking to him to come to the lounge for prayer.  We stayed there the greater part of the day counselling people continuously.  Many of them repented of their sins with tears and received Christ into their hearts.  As each person left the room, Vahram would say, 'Let us pray for him!'  Then after singing a hymn together, we would move on to the next person." Pastor Ameish makes this interesting observation: "That day I understood what it meant to be moving along in the Spirit.  We were truly in the Lord's presence and had no thought for anything but this great work.  The Lord of the Harvest had opened up to us a gloriously fruitful field and we were laboring in it earnestly and joyfully.

"At four in the afternoon, eight of us travelling in a Chevrolet station wagon set out for a nearby town. Vahramís enthusiasm was plain for all to see, as he joyfully sang the hymn, 'Jesus Shall Come,' all the way.  Suddenly, at one point, he asked the driver to stop, calling an impromptu prayer meeting.  He did this three times.

"Coming into a village we stopped.  A crowd gathered around the car listening to the hymns we were singing.  It was a Muslim village.  Vahram got out of the car and began handing out scripture portions in Arabic.  Then we moved on and arrived in Jerash,[1] where a lively meeting awaited us in the Baptist church.  Vahram certainly had a share in the founding of this church, as well as the one in Ajloun, which continues to the present day.  His past influence in the places we visited was distinctly remembered.  To this day when an Arab believer is asked how he is, he replies in Vahramís Turkish, 'Hamdolsun! '

"One evening an interesting incident occurred in the Ajloun meeting.  A group of about forty young trouble-causers came in with the intention of upsetting the service.  One of them who was politically- oriented, a Marxist, shouted, 'I've got some questions to ask you!  When Ishak Jemil, the interpreter, said there would be time for questions at the end of the meeting, they all sat down to listen.  Discussion with young people was nothing new to Vahram.  It was something he took special pleasure in and always found to be worthwhile.

"At question-time they accused Vahram of being a foreign agent and asked why he had been sent from Turkey to the Arabs.  He answered in his customary direct and convincing manner, 'I only come because I love you.  I don't understand politics, neither am I involved in politics.  I have not been sent here by the Turkish government but by the Lord Jesus Christ.  As a matter of fact I have been commissioned to the Lord's work by the church in Amman, and sent by that church to the whole world!'."  The young men were not satisfied with the reply.  One of them, an electrician, abruptly cut off the lights, plunging the hall into darkness.  But the meeting itself had finished anyway, so everyone went home.  It so happened that the ringleader of the group had a heart problem.  Some days elapsed; he had a crisis and was taken to the Baptist hospital.  In the meantime, Maurice Girges, an evangelist from Beirut, came to conduct meetings in Ajloun.  During his preaching, the ringleader was genuinely converted.  Afterwards he movingly confessed, 'I was the one who cut off the electricity when Vahram was answering our questions'. "

Vahram was always humming hymns.  Two were his favorites: 'Hisus Ismi Shirin Bana!' [2] and, 'Mahsher Gunu!í[3].  When he was witnessing to unbelievers he used to sing this second song.  Along with these, many of the songs he sang were translated into Arabic, becoming part of the believers' hymnody.  In fact, many believers who didn't know Turkish memorised some of Vahramís Turkish songs."

After Vahramís last visit to Ajloun, Pastor Fawaz Ameish never saw him again.  But while attending the 1983 Congress for World Evangelism in Amsterdam he met some South American delegates on a bus tour of the city.  Conversation eventually turned to the subject of Vahram Tatikian.  They had all known him, each one testifying to the benefit he had derived from Vahramís preaching.  One of the delegates from Argentina called out, 'Mejdan!í the Arabic word for 'glory'.  There was no stopping the South Americans from telling one story after another concerning Vahram.  Every remembrance of him was still fresh in their minds.  As the Scripture says, 'The memory of the righteous is a blessing...' (Proverbs 10:7a).

Pastor Ameish tells an unforgettable story: "My mother was very devoted to her church and was resolutely unwilling to cut her links with it.  Many times we invited her to come to our meetings, but she would always refuse.  'In that case,' said Vahram, 'I will go to her church!'  One day he entered her church, looking around with reverence and respect.  His bright smiling face so impressed my elderly mother that she said, 'I thought one of God's angels had come to church to visit us'."


 

  [1] Gerasa, one of the ten towns of Decapolis cf. Matt. 8:28 and Luke 8:26

  [2] 'The Name of Jesus is Sweet to Me'

  [3] 'The Day of His coming'

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