WILL SHINE LIKE THE STARS FOREVER
MY ENCOUNTER WITH GOD
At the beginning of 1957, the Armenian Brotherhood Church in Buenos Aires hosted an evangelist from Istanbul. He was known as Brother Vahram. He had been invited for one week and was to speak every evening. In the end, the meetings lasted seven months. Right at the start the hour-long meeting was extended to three hours and everybody was gripped by the preaching. Vahram was not a well-known preacher. He spoke very simply but effectively in the power of the Spirit. So that the young people could understand, he had a Spanish interpreter. Children and young people filled the assembly hall and all were seeking God.
I attended the meetings too in order to please my parents, and I kept one ear open just so that I could report on the subject at home afterwards. On Wednesday evening, I was sitting in the back pew as usual. Before sending everyone home, Vahram was bringing his message to a conclusion and my attention was suddenly arrested.
Many times before had I heard the invitation to come to the front. I was in the habit of going forward to please my parents − and also to ease my conscience a little. But it would have no effect on me. The evangelist would say a few words and pray, and I would go home unchanged. Everyone would think that I was saved. This put me in a dilemma.
On that evening there was another factor. A lot of people were praying for me. I had showed so many times that I wanted to be saved, but there had been no change at all in my life. I was tired of myself. Could it perhaps be that Jesus is a true and faithful friend? I had never been able to find a true friend. I did not trust anybody. A lot of people were saying I was a 'crazy mixed-up kid.' I had abandoned myself to alcohol and smoking, just to forget my distress. I had come to the end of my tether. What would I lose if I surrendered my life to the Lord?
As the meeting drew to a close, the evangelist was saying, "If you want to pray, don't hold back; come to the front and I will pray for you." This was a real call to my heart. But if I were to go to the front, they would be saying, "Just look at him! That fellow is going forward again!" So I waited until everyone had gone, and then I went forward.
When Vahram saw me he said, "Well, young man, what's your trouble?" "I'm a sinner,' I said. "Sinners go to hell," he said. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin," I replied. “You know it all," he said, “I'm not going to pray for you. Kneel down right here and beg God to forgive your sins!" I was taken aback, but I did kneel down and begged Christ to forgive my every sin. At that moment I saw others as righteous and myself as a lost sinner. Christ was there waiting to save me.
I went from that meeting a changed person. When my mother and father heard what had happened, they did not take it seriously. I couldn’t blame them. How many times had I related such things to them! How could they have known that this time it was real?
However, the genuineness of that step was proved by the change in my life. At home, at school and in my whole life-style everything changed. Bad habits went. I was a new person. I was sixteen years old at the time. God called me into the ministry. After studying at a Bible school, I became a minister and preached in many churches. I spent a number of years in Beirut, Lebanon, where I ministered to Armenians and others. From Beirut, I was able to visit my father's birthplace, Turkey. In Istanbul I had fruitful meetings − people were converted and dedicated their lives to Christ. This was amazing to me. I was a fruit of Vahram Tatikian's ministry, and here I was ministering where his Christian service had begun.
I moved to various other places. Presently I am president and also teach at a Bible school in Guatemala, as well as travelling widely in Central America, speaking in many churches and to numerous groups. Praise God for the fruit he is granting. With my wife Martha (Saint), we have a full life. We have children and grandchildren. The Lord is blessing us with constant joy. I don't cease praising God for Vahram Tatikian who led me to Jesus Christ and to the ministry.
A massive volume could be filled with testimonies such as this one. Brother Vahram has been with Christ for quite a while. People touched by God through his ministry can be found throughout the world bearing witness to Christ. If Vahram were here, he would have jubilantly shouted, ‘HALLELUJAH!’ for what the Lord did during his lifetime.
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