Armenian Bible Church            

Հայ Աստուածաշունչի Եկեղեցի

Mailing Address:  P.O. Box 40322  Pasadena, CA 91114 USA

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By Thomas Cosmades


Chapter 27 


             Aneta, an active young woman full of zeal for evangelism and teaching, was not going to settle down comfortably in the United States.  She felt there was a ministry before her, and she pursued it.  From Boston she reached out to other cities where there were also numerous possibilities to minister.  She stopped in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to visit a dear sister from Aintab who had stood with her in her afflictions and trials.  Armenians who had found their way to the USA wholeheartedly opened their homes to Aneta.  They shared poignant remembrances of past days together.  While in Bridgeport someone from the Brethren   Assemblies invited her to attend a Bible conference in New York City.  It turned out to be a time of great spiritual uplift.  While there, a woman she didn’t know approached her and said, “Dear sister, the Lord spoke to me to invite you to our house for a week.  Please don’t refuse my offer.” This was Aneta’s initial meeting with Mrs. Fanny Bredford, with whom she was to enjoy a life-long friendship.  Continuously offered hospitality by Christian friends was an example of the tangible blessings Aneta enjoyed in the USA. Wherever she went, God opened doors of ministry before her. 

            From New York, Aneta took a train to Philadelphia.  People who heard that she was coming gathered at the train station to give her a special welcome.  At the very outset of her stay in Philadelphia an invitation came from an Armenian brother by the name of Isaac Paronakian. To her amazement, she found out that he was a convert at Mt. Zion Orphanage in Zinjidere.  He was the young fellow who had joined Haralambos on a three-month evangelistic tour back in 1913.  Aneta also learned that the woman Isaac had married was an old student of hers at the Talas Academy.  All the Armenians who had either known or had heard of Haralambos were very eager to have her speak to them.  Isaac arranged a meeting in his large house. Enthusiastic people filled his spacious living room.  One pleasant surprise followed another. 

           One of the persons she met at this house was Mihran Balian.  The reader may recall that when Aneta found herself in Aleppo people there held a memorial service for Haralambos where Mihran Balian was the speaker. In the meantime, God helped him to come to America and enter Philadelphia Bible College to prepare for the ministry.  Now, after so many years he was overjoyed to be in another meeting with Aneta, this time in the City of Brotherly Love.

        This first gathering opened the way for a whole series of meetings in homes which went on from house to house for three months. The old Anatolian custom of house meetings was transplanted to the United States.  People who had experienced the inexplicable hard circumstances and were spared from death found a haven in these places of fellowship in their newly adopted country.  There was an air of reminiscence as well as contentment to be together in these gatherings.  At a time when there were no youth meetings, youngsters would sit and patiently follow the talks and the singing. Everything was in Turkish, both the singing and the speaking.  As in Anatolia, the meetings went on for hours.  But they were not boring.  From time to time, someone would get up from his/her seat and give a lively testimony.  This was part of the blessing.  God’s safekeeping and provision was the subject described by everyone.  Each one related a sad story of family members being killed during the massacres.  Souls were wonderfully uplifted and people looked to the future in deep faith and confidence in God’s goodness.  There was a great desire in every heart to be useful for the Lord in the land of liberty.  Such gatherings are unknown in our time.

           While in Philadelphia, Aneta had an extraordinary encounter.   She was at the home of an elderly lady from Kayseri.  While assembled guests were sitting together in the living room, all of a sudden the door opened and a tall, husky man came in.  All the ladies stood up in respect.  The hostess introduced each one by full name with the exception of Aneta who she mentioned only as ‘Sister Aneta.’  Reaching out to shake his hand, she said, “I am Mrs. Bostanjoglou.”  Scrutinizing his looks, Aneta said to herself, “This is Professor Krikorian, editor of the Evangelical periodical ‘Rahnuma’ !”  He was the one who had taken issue with Haralambos on his book on the ‘Second Coming of Christ.’   The man’s eyes dropped, he hung his head and turned pale.  He withdrew  his hand and immediately took a seat.  A few seconds later, he excused himself and left the company.  Without a doubt, he remorsefully recalled the shameful episode of the past.

           Aneta didn’t plan any program for herself.  Being challenged by Mihran Balian’s attendance at the Philadelphia Bible Institute, she, too, registered at this school.  The prospect of learning God’s Word and growing deeper in the truths of the Faith motivated her.  She greatly valued this first educational experience in the United States.  During vacation she would visit New York, Albany and Boston where she had good friends from Anatolia. 

           While Aneta was in Boston getting ready to return to Philadelphia, Anastasia fell and broke her arm.  Aneta rushed her to the city hospital where she was operated on and the arm eventually put in a cast.  As long as Anastasia was in the hospital, Aneta visited her daily.  She was the only one who could communicate with her in Turkish. But there were others in the hospital who couldn’t speak English, so Aneta was a godsend to these old Armenian refugees.  Her mother-in-law was released from the hospital but had to wear the cast for six months. 

           This unexpected development brought a halt to Aneta’s studies.  However, it didn’t dampen her yearning to expand her Bible knowledge.  She subscribed to some good Christian publications, such as Sunday School Times, Alliance Weekly, Moody Monthly, Our Hope, Gospel Herald, etc. In this way she enriched her Christian education.  She became known among Armenian folks as a woman well-versed in the Bible.  They all benefited from her excellent teaching. Haralambos’ legacy to her in his letter sent from prison was that she should carry on the ministry from which he was being so cruelly cut off, and she was doing just that!

           Boston had been inundated with a multitude of refugees from Europe; among these were Greeks and Armenians.  It became an ideal field for Aneta to serve her Lord.  Since there was no other Christian woman worker among these people, Aneta met the need of the hour by starting separate meetings for Greek and Armenian ladies.  She criss-crossed the city by public transportation. The women greatly appreciated her labors of love and always talked of how they had been blessed by her giving ministry.

            One time a lady asked Aneta to visit a cousin of hers, a very active church woman involved in bazaars, suppers and clubs.  So she visited this woman whom she didn’t know at all.  The lady kindly received her into her home. When their conversation turned to spiritual matters, Aneta asked if she was born again.  Immediately the woman showed her displeasure. Her countenance changed.  In frustration, she impatiently replied, “Stop this conversation at once!  Do you think I’m a heathen or a Muslim?  Please don’t come back.”  Aneta apologized for making her angry and left the house.  She never mentioned this incident to anyone. 

           Two years later, a telephone call came, begging Aneta to visit this woman at the hospital.  Aneta was in the midst of doing her laundry.  She finished as quickly as she could and rushed over to the hospital.  There she was told that the woman had been discharged, so Aneta returned home.  At five o’clock the same afternoon she got another call:  “Please come to the house; she needs you.”  At her arrival she found the woman in bed, her head wrapped in bandages, with relatives surrounding her.  She timidly expressed her thanks to Aneta for coming to see her.  “This morning I was told by the doctor that I need brain surgery.  As soon as I heard this, your question of two years ago come to my mind and disturbed me.  I asked the doctor to please release me to go home because I had something to settle.  Now I am here.  Please let me know what this ‘new birth’ is.”  Aneta’s hour had come. She read the story of Cornelius in Acts 10 and of Nicodemus from John 3.  She expanded these two stories, telling the woman how these two men had an encounter with Jesus Christ.  The woman was amazed and said, “Is it that simple?”  Immediately she confessed her sins and received the free offer of God’s grace.  Aneta was overjoyed at this radical change in the woman’s heart.  She was born again, right there in her bed.  The next day she re-entered the hospital where she had surgery for a malignant brain tumor.  A week later, she went to the presence of the Lord.