Sunday, January 6, 1980, my father, Vramchabouh, has been in a coma since January 1. It has been six days of darkness and gloom; even now, when I look back, in my mind and heart, I barely see any sun. Was it because the winters of Beirut are dark and gloomy naturally, or was it the fear of losing my father that did not allow me to see the sun shine? We will never know.

During this six-day ordeal, my mother, Nevart, barely came home, but whenever she did, it was late at night for a few hours of sleep before an early return to keep my father company. On this Sunday, as in every Sunday, Mom asked us to join her in prayer. Yes, that was the beginning of every Sunday, praying with our Mom on our knees. This Sunday was no different – the entire family felt the dark cloud embracing us. She asked me to get on my knees with her in front of the twin size bed that was in the one-bedroom apartment corridor that we lived in, and asked me to pray after she did. Of course, I bent my knees and got on the floor right-a-way. You never say “No”, to your mother who believes in a God who is powerful and persistent in Love. My sister Choughik was in the living room taking care of my grandmother, who had a broken hip, and was bed-ridden for the last six years, so Choughik was off the hook to pray with us; Mom was in a rush to go back to the hospital before she would join us at the church for 11:00 a.m. My mother NEVER left the house without praying on her knees, no matter where she was headed, even when she was going to do grocery shopping.

So, my mother prayed, pleading to God to bring “Chabouh back home, back to life”, but she concluded her prayer with, “Let Your will be done”. It was my turn to pray. This thirteen-year-old girl did not know much about God, but she was certain that Jesus, the little infant whose birthday we were going to celebrate at church today was called the Son of God, and that was enough. She knew that this Son of God grew up and taught everyone that they can move mountains if they had faith even in the size of a mustard seed.

I still recall a portion of my prayer to this day, January 6, 2018. I said, “God, just like your Son who was born on this day, may you give rebirth to my father.” I do not remember any more than that.

After the prayers, mom left for the hospital. Of course, before she left, she told us she will see us at the church, at the Armenian Brethren Church at 11:00 a.m. My sister got everything organized at the apartment, left our grandmother and started walking to the church, which was a good 30–45-minute walk from home. That is one thing we did many times, in Beirut, we walked, walked and walked. We did not have a car, nor a driver; we barely had money for food let alone call a cab, so we walked almost everywhere.

Choughik and I arrived at the church and sat down in our regular spot, on the side of the female congregants in about the fourth or fifth row. The church started and a few minutes into the worship service, I saw Mom walking into the sanctuary, with a little extra happiness in her step. When our eyes met, she put on the biggest smile I have ever seen and she made the gesture of, keep quiet, by putting her finger to her lips and sat between us two girls. She put her left arm around me and the right on Choughik and gave us both the great news – Dad was out of his coma. The doctors were shocked, as they did not expect him to live at all, but he was back. We all cried in silence but our hearts leaping with joy. My mother shared the good news with her brothers and sisters at the Brethren Church, and everyone praised God.

Epiphany, Armenian Christmas, arrived in the Demirdjian Family with a big bang in 1980. A Light shone in the middle of darkness, and the dark clouds dissipated. It seemed as though the sun started to shine. Was it because the clouds truly moved away, or was it that the clouds in my heart and mind had started to dissolve? We will never know.

Today, 38 years after this great Epiphany Sunday in history, as I look back, I am encouraged to look forward, because by God’s Grace, I will go back to Lebanon for the very first time in 35 years, to visit my place of birth, the place of Love and the place I spent the first 15 years of my life. However, I have prayed long and hard for God to give me a vision to allow the Light of Epiphany to shine throughout the year, throughout my days, and especially through this sabbatical. Yes, a sabbatical is a time to get away from the daily tasks of a ministry and find a balance to rejuvenate and refresh the soul, but my vision is also to make a difference with this sabbatical. Recently I heard someone say, and I paraphrase, “We only have one life to live, let’s sing the right song”.

Therefore, on this day of Epiphany, I invite you to partner up with me, with Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge and many who have given generously, to help us, the Light of Epiphany, shine not just on January 6 but all through the year.

 

This is our plea for Peace through Education:

Dear Friends,

 

February 1, 2018 marks the 5th anniversary of the covenant of ministry between the Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge and myself. That grants me the opportunity to take a sabbatical of 3 months.

By God’s Grace, I am planning to return to Lebanon, the homeland I left 35 years ago (August 1983), in September of 2018, to visit different schools and churches and see first hand the work that Lebanon is doing for those who need a helping hand.

 

Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge and I have agreed to partner up and make something beautiful out of this sabbatical that will transform lives. We have initiated a fund-raising campaign as a way to reach out to the refugee students who are living in Lebanon; that will run until August 21, 2018.

You see, it amazes me when I hear stories of teachers sacrificing their own pay cheques to help misplaced children and offer them a normal life. It makes me realize once again how a wounded country is reaching out to others who are facing difficulties in life.

 

So, today, I urge you to join us in this humanitarian effort to help Peace become a reality to many through education.

 

Would you consider reaching out to build bridges of Hope across the ocean and donating to the Sabbatical Project: Peace Through Education – Lebanon? All donations are tax-deductible and are destined solely for the schools in Lebanon and NOT for any travel expenses.

We all know it is so much better to give than to receive. You can do it from the comfort of your home. Go to: https://www.eppc-ucc.com/donations/ in the drop-down menu choose: Sabbatical Project: Peace Through Education – Lebanon and donate as you are able. {Alternatively, you can make cheques payable to either Elgin or Portland United Church and note that it is for the Sabbatical Project – mail to: Box 251, Portland, ON, K0G 1V0}

 

Would you partner up with us and make a difference even in a small way?

I remain humbly because of Grace,

The Rev. Takouhi Demirdjian-Petro

2 thoughts on “Epiphany 2018

    • Dear Mihran,
      Thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate to know who is reading the blogs, as it encourages me and reminds me that our work is not in vain to proclaim the Good News of God.
      Our prayers are with you and all your family – may the Spirit of Healing abound and Peace Multiply.
      Love always,
      Takouhi

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