This article first appeared as the introduction to Pastor Hovsepian’s book, God’s Workshop, and is shared here again in memory of his mother, who died on December 28, 2004, less than four months before her 90th birthday. As we anticipate the upcoming printing of God’s Workshop in Armenia, we thought it would be a good occasion to reprint this story.
She was about twenty years old. Although one of her legs had been amputated before she was even eight years old, she was determined to do well in life. She was beautiful, healthy and had already started her own business. But deep inside her heart she felt empty. Something was missing nothing gave her the joy she was searching for. There were admirers, proposing marriage but even that did not impress her much.
The bookkeeper at her father’s brick factory, a poor young man, gave her a book to read. It was the Bible. One day, feeling empty and joyless, she took the book and went to the beach, which was less than a mile from her home.
She started reading and, although she was a God-fearing person and had practised her religion faithfully, she could not understand much of what she read. Then she came across a short portion that got her attention. She read it over and over again. Then she read it out loud: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Tears poured down her cheeks. She fell to the ground and, with all her strength, she cried out: “God, heavenly Father, thank you for loving me so much. Thank you for sending your Son to save me, too. God, forgive me, the sinner. I promise to serve you for the rest of my life.”
She got up and said, “God, I love you more than anything or anyone else in the world. Please, Jesus, take my life and my all and be my Lord.”
She returned home a new person. She removed all her jewellery and gathered whatever she thought was worldly or vain and got rid of them. Then she ran to her mother and told her that she had found what she was searching for: peace, joy and life. She could not keep the wonderful news to herself. She shared it with everyone she met.
Eventually she told those who were interested in her and the man who wanted to marry her that she was a new person and that her life was going to be lived for Jesus, her Lord and Saviour.
Not long after her conversion, she was married to the bookkeeper who had given her the Bible. He was a born-again believer who was eager to share the gospel with all those who would listen. They became a wonderful team and were blessed with two children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1995. He was a faithful servant who served his Lord until his last breath.
Her testimony always starts something like this: “It was not at a crusade or at a revival meeting, nor even at a church. And, no, it was not even someone showing me the way to Jesus. I was saved on a lonely beach. I was searching for God and God was there to be found. He took my empty life and gave me a new one, a wonderful life, full of excitement. He can do the same for you too.”
She is 86 years old today [89 when she died] and still serving her Lord. She has a prayer ministry going all day two telephone lines ringing all the time, with people calling her to pray with them over the telephone. She still is excited about her Lord.
You may have already guessed that this woman is my mother, my teacher, my friend and one of the prayer warriors who daily pray for my ministry and for me.
Do you think the believer’s life is not exciting, that God does not answer prayer? If you could speak to my mother, Ovsanna (Hosanna), you would see that her excitement of serving the Lord, instead of decreasing, grows by the hour.
Are you experiencing the joy of your salvation? I hope you are!
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian