Thomas Cosmades





Having come to faith in Christ, Vahram joined the believers.  The brothers and sisters, among them Moscho Bekleyen, welcomed the young man with great joy and thanksgiving to God.  One day Moscho said to Vahram and another young believer, "Come, I'll take you to an uplifting gathering.” He took them along the European side of the Bosphorus to Bebek where for many years a prayer meeting was held on Fridays in the historic Kavafian home.  People were delighted to welcome them. Later, Vahram's youngest sister Beatrice was to come as a bride to that home, where a beautiful family was established.

Dedicated Christians were few and far between and most were elderly.  As a young man, Vahram was definitely in the minority.  He adopted a Scripture verse as his guiding principle: "How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9).  So he devoted himself to reading, studying and constantly developing his knowledge of the Scriptures.  His soul was continually refreshed by the deep truths and rich treasures he discovered there.  He studied the Bible with such intensity that in a few years he was like a theologian.  Every time he opened the Bible, he made it his aim to read under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

This unschooled young man, unacquainted with foreign languages and with no opportunity to study the classics reached such a level of proficiency that he was able to instruct educated people.  He never failed to mention how the Holy Spirit worked in his life.  The Holy Word of God had such a genuine impact on him that his experience was like that of Paul in Corinth.  The Apostle, too, had been under the constraining influence of God's Word and had testified to all that Jesus was the Christ, the Savior, calling all men to faith in Him (Acts 18:5).

In 1930 there was an anniversary celebration in the Gedikpasha Protestant Church.  During the meeting, Vahram stood up and prayed, "Oh Lord, I come to you with empty hands.  I beseech you, give me many, many sheaves."  The effect of this brief but sincere prayer was immediate. At that moment a brick and tiling manufacturer named Hovannes Jevherian stood up and cried, "Oh Lord, I plead with you, take me and let me be one of those sheaves."  Jevherian was the firstfruit of Vahram's prayer.  Later his family repented of their sins.  The new believers were referred to as, 'people who had repented.'  With time, an inseparable bond of brotherly affection developed between Vahram and Hovannes.

But there was deep grief in Vahram’s heart.  Daniel, his business partner in the tailor shop, refused to repent and commit his life to Jesus Christ.  Didn't God's Word speak clearly that the believer cannot have fellowship with the unbeliever?  (II Corinthians 6:14).  Vahram had taken one way and his partner Daniel, another.  He prayed constantly about this problem in order to know the clear will of God.  He was facing a crisis in his life of faith.

His family was insistent that on no account should he think of leaving his business.  So the wishes of his family seemed to conflict with the will of God.  Which of these options should he settle on?  Aware that God's command is indisputable and unchanging, Vahram realised there was only one step to take — he must abandon his business and bring the partnership to an end.  After all, wasn't God calling him to His service? 

One day he laid bare his position to Daniel.  The partnership could not continue.  This blew Daniel's mind.  Where could he find another partner so successful and reliable?  Reluctantly, he consented to Vahram’s departure.  From then on Vahram was free, free from sin and free from a partner serving another master.  For a while he worked as a tailor in his home.

At that time, the Bible Society was passing through a difficult test.  Moscho Bekleyen had resigned, and was replaced by a man who lacked integrity.  He had taken the job simply to make money; his heart wasn’t in it.  He was totally dishonest in his words and actions.  The Society Director, Mr. Lyman MacCallum, a Canadian brought up in Turkey, happened to go to the man's home to talk over some concerns.  There he caught the good-for-nothing colporteur burning Bibles in the stove for extra heating fuel.  He was going to claim that he had given them away free.  The director sacked him on the spot.  The Society needed someone who would sincerely apply himself to the ministry.  God did not leave the task unsupplied.

News of Vahram’s conversion two years before and his zeal for Christ had come to Mr. MacCallum's attention.  On their very first meeting the director realised that the young man before him was pure gold.  "Would you like to become a colporteur for the Bible Society?" he asked.  This was just the sort of work Vahram had been looking for.  How wonderful!  He would be able to go everywhere selling God's Word, and at the same time would be able to explain its meaning.  This was a turning point in his life.  However, Vahram was not someone who would merely sell books.  He was a preacher, an evangelist.  Along with selling books he would converse with people.  The Bible Society's main concern was to simply sell books.  Before him, Moscho Bekleyen had been confronted with the same dilemma.  Should he only sell?  Should he not also explain to the purchaser the contents and message of this glorious book?  So on one hand, Vahram sold Scriptures, and on the other, he attended numerous meetings.  In one year, book sales reached a record high.  So everybody was happy.


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