All good qualities awaken in one who serves God faithfully
All good qualities awaken in one who serves God faithfully.
keedoutiahn pohlohr pahree hahdgoutiounnehruh zahrkahnoum yehn nuhrah mohd, ohv hahsehl eh hahvahdahreem dzahraiyoutiahn ahsteejahnuh
There was and there wasn’t a poor Armenian family. The father’s name was Hampar (short for Hampartzoum which means the resurrection of Christ in Armenian). The mother’s name was Vehanouh which means the sweetest person you can meet. Their only son was named Krikor. He was named after the most famous saint of Armenia, Krikor Lousahvoritch (Krikor or Saint Gregory the Illuminator). They were loyal members of their church and attended the mass every Sunday. They prayed that Lord Jesus bless their child and also give them health to work hard and earn an honest living.
The father and mother toiled long hours on hand looms making kilims or oriental rugs. When Krikor was five years old, they also taught him how to work a small child’s loom. It would take three to six months to finish a rug and then Hampar had to struggle to sell it. After tens years, the family was able to save an adequate amount of money to build a small house on a plot of land in their ancestral village.
Hampar slowly built the house with the help of relatives. He used what little spare time he had to work on it. It took three years to finish it. The day the family moved into their new house, Vehanoush had an eerie premonition. That night she dreamed that the house would burn down. The dream reoccurred for three days. She discussed her dream with Hampar. He was horrified. They had struggled so hard and long to have their own house. What to do? His wife was very worried and her anxiety affected Hampar. He went to a village fortune teller. An old woman who was expert at reading the coffee grinds left over in a cup after drinking Turkish coffee. She concurred that the house would soon burn down.
Hampar decided to sell the house. It took one month to find a buyer and agree on a fair price. He was able to get back the money he spent to build it. The family moved out of the house and back into the small rented cottage they lived in before. Soon after a group of marauding thieves robbed the new inhabitants of the house and set it on fire. It burned to the ground. It was a shock to everyone except Hampar and Vehanoush.
Although they felt relieved at selling the house and retrieving their hard earned money, they both became anxious. They locked the door and closed all the windows of their cottage. They were frightened that the thieves might come to rob and maybe kill them because they had all the cash from the sale of their house hidden in the cottage. What if the family that purchased their house told the thieves that Hampar and Vehanoush had the cash from the recent sale? They couldn’t sleep all night. The next day, they both went to a wealthy local merchant who was known as an honest man. His name was Hrant Agha. They explained their fear of being robbed. Hrant Agha reassured them of his trustworthiness. They entrusted their savings with him and he issued them a receipt. They returned home feeling safe and relieved of their anxiety.
Several days later, during the darkness of night, the same group of thieves attacked the compound of Hrant Agha and forced him to open his safe and robbed him of all his money. Hearing this devastating news the next day, Hampar and Vehanoush ran to Hrant Agha’s house to find out about their money. The Agha had been beaten and was in no condition to see them. They worried about their money day and night. After a few days they were able to meet with Hrant Agha. He spoke slowly and gravely. He told them that they were very fortunate because he did not put their money in his safe. He had another safe in a secret place. He offered to return the money. Hampar and Vehanoush nearly fainted when they heard the good news.
Hrant Agha gave them their money back. The two thanked him and left to return to their cottage. Again they felt anxiety and fear carrying the money. What to do? Perhaps they were next on the robbers’ list of victims. The next day, Hampar went to see the Armenian priest Haiyr Gomidas. When Hampar explained how much he was experiencing fear and anxiety about having his cash savings hidden in his cottage, the priest comforted him with the following words.
“Hampar jahn, listen to me. We Armenians have always worked hard and stayed true to our Lord Jesus, our apostolic church, our forefathers, our mother tongue and its beautiful alphabet, our ancestral land and our honor. We have suffered many hardships as a conquered nation at the hands of the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Arabs, Turks, Kurds and others who have all done horrible things to our people. Yet, we have somehow persevered and maintained our identity and self respect. Just as bad people are known by their cruelty, good people are known by their honorable and kind acts. We are born of the earth and we shall return to the earth, but our honor and good deeds will remain long after we are gone. Hampar jahn, you have always been an honest hard-working man. You have never been rich but yet, you have managed to live honorably and God has provided your minimum needs. Try to understand that your personal honor earned from years of honest work and good behavior is your real wealth.”
“There was once a bird of prey that swooped down and caught a fish with its claws and started to fly back to its nest. A flock of wild crows pursued the bird which tried to escape their harassment. But everywhere the bird flew it was followed by the flock of crows that cawed and screeched. The bird became exhausted and let go of the fish. The crows forgot the bird of prey and flew toward the fish. The bird lost the fish, but felt relieved that it was no longer followed by the disturbing crows. It realized that the crows were interested in the fish above all.”
“Hampar jahn, there is safety in humble living as long as you are able to secure the minimum needs for your family. We all have a certain destiny that we must understand realistically. Tigran the Great had the destiny to conquer and manage the great Armenian empire from the Caspian to the Black sea to Jerusalem. We also have our destiny which is given by our Lord Jesus and His Father. Regardless of the greatness or smallness of that destiny in material terms, we can still leave a lasting legacy by developing our character of self discipline, love, charity, kindness, and compassion. Think of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was mocked, dishonored, crucified. He died on the cross seemingly a poor and destitute prisoner of the great Roman empire. He was labeled by the priests of his own people as a fraud and an object of mockery. Yet, due to his faithfulness to determination to follow the Will of His Father, He resurrected from the dead and rose to heaven to the right side of His Father for eternal glory. He died to wash our sins. He is our Savior by His humility and faithfulness to His Father.”
“Hampar jahn, this is the real destiny of our people. We must follow the example of Jesus. We must not be afraid of living a humble life with just our minimum needs. God Almighty is the friend of the poor and the savior of the meek. Whatever we have over and above our minimum needs we should use in the service of the Lord. You are a father and your son lives with you fed everyday by your good wife and cared for and loved. Hampar Jahn, we have too many young children you don’t have a father or mother or whose parents are too poor to provide for them. Our village church needs to build a small orphanage for these poor children so that we can educate them, care for them and love them.”
Hampar and Vehanoush donated their savings to the church. A small but needed orphanage building was constructed and their names were posted on the building as recognition for their donation. By giving the donation, they no longer felt any fear or anxiety. They received respect and friendly esteem for their kindness. Hampar and Vehanoush also continued to make small but regular donations whenever they could for the maintenance of the orphanage. Sometimes one or two orphans would visit them and sometimes stay overnight in their small cottage. Haiyr Gomidas had taught them to say certain prayers before sleeping at night. They prayed to Lord Jesus,
“Dear Lord, thank you for your kindness and protection. We are orphans living in your house and feel safe and happy. May we always remain your humble servants. Also Lord, please protect and comfort Hampar haiyrik and Vehanoush Maiyrik and Krikor aghparig. Bless them in their goodness and humility.”
Hampar and Vehanoush had tears in their eyes hearing these innocent and sincere prayers. They thanked Lord Jesus that Haiyr Gomidas helped them to understand their real destiny. They understood how undue attachment to material things brings anxiety, fear and grief. They thanked the Lord that they were able to have the faith to do the Lord’s work without hesitation or resentment. They felt fulfilled and safe in their humble life of prayer, hard work and faithfulness to God and each other.