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The 2,500 backpacks collected by the SBC of Virginia churches are known as the "famous backpacks" in Armenia. Little did any of us know how God was going to use those backpacks for His glory and you had a big part in it.

When the representative arrived in Armenia and went to customs to receive the backpacks, she found out a government law had been changed the day before and she could not get them because she was part of a registered charity and a business.

After two months of daily visits to the customs administrator, the representative decided to try one more time. It was now the end of August and school started in a couple of days. At that meeting, the administrator decided to postpone the vote to release the backpacks until the end of September. Our representative was so stunned that she could not move and decided to stay for the rest of the meeting even though they were not going to discuss the backpacks again. She sat and prayed and wondered how God was ever going to work in this situation. Two people were outside waiting for her in the car and they were praying!

At the end of the meeting, the administrator looked at her and asked why she was still there. She said she had been there for two months and decided to stay until the doors completely closed. He looked at her, shook his head, and told her to come up front and sign the papers for the backpacks. He decided to give them to her right then. As if that was not a big enough answer to prayer, he asked her how she could persevere for so long. She was able to share about the churches in the states that gave the backpacks in hopes of participating in the 1700-year celebration of Christianity in Armenia. They wanted to know more! By the end of her time with them, she had shared the gospel with 40 of the administrators in Armenia. Many of them were amazed and wanted to know the addresses of the Yerevan evangelical churches.

A week before all of this happened, another worker was doing the daily visit to the customs office and was talking to two men about Christianity when two more customs people came over to listen, then two more and by the end of the conversation eight of the custom workers accepted Christ.

So, because of the two-month hassle that no one wanted and felt was a barrier to the project, two state departments heard the gospel and eight people accepted Christ. This was only the beginning. The backpacks were distributed the next day in Yerevan at a concert where 600 children and teachers heard the gospel message and the district principle asked the representatives if they could start teaching Christianity in their schools.

In Charantzavan, the backpacks were distributed to the local schools, a technical college and a refugee camp. The technical school was so impressed with the way they were given away that they televised the whole concert and gospel message. The true impact of the backpacks is not known yet, but over 2,000 people heard the gospel message in person and many heard on television. Over 100 people have joined the local churches. Everyone knows of the “famous backpacks” in Armenia.

I hope you are as encouraged with the backpack story as I am. God used the whole process in a mighty way. When it looked so impossible, God stepped in and did something bigger than anyone expected. The people in the SBCV churches who gave a backpack and who prayed for them must know that God moved and is still moving in Armenia.

God Continues to Work through Backpacks . . .
I received another email from Armenia detailing how God continues to work through the “Famous Backpacks”. I often wonder why we stand amazed at the mighty works of our great God, but we often do. When we began the Backpack Project, several people called expressing concern that they could not include a Bible or Christian tracts. They could not understand how God could use the backpacks without these items. I kept telling them to pray and trust God for the results. I knew God could use them, but little did I realize how mightily He was going to it. Below is what has happened since the last article:

One of the individuals, Donara, who was born in Armenia and helped with distribution of the backpacks, was asked to share on television about the “Famous Backpacks”. He shared the story and also shared how the Word of God can help solve problems. There was the potential of the program being viewed by more than one million people. After the program, the television station had many telephone calls asking them to repeat the program. They repeated the program. Donara became recognized on the streets and many people came up to him asking questions. He received numerous calls from individuals wanting to know more. The Regional Chairman called and asked him to open a “Christian educational and cultural center” and to organize Bible classes for children and adults. The director of the T.V. program asked him to come again and do more special programs. His words to us are: “I can’t explain what is happening, but I feel it is the preparation for the great revival in Armenia. I shall remember the famous backpacks for a long time. Thank you to all who had a part in this great mission. We pray for you and great is your reward in heaven.” We need to pray for wisdom, power, and faithfulness for Donara; as he has numerous speaking engagements as a result of the backpacks.

“Great and mighty is the Lord, our God; great and mighty is He.” That little chorus rings loud and clear in my mind and heart. I learned that God is not interested in numbers, but looks at our heart. We wanted to supply 10,000 backpacks (only sent 2,500), but our hearts desire was to reach the children and adults of Armenia. God took our efforts and multiplied them in far greater ways than any of us could have imagined. Praise the Lord!!!