Reaching Yezidi in Armenia – First Fruits

Reaching Yezidi in Armenia – First Fruits

I returned from my recent trip to Ukraine with a story that encourages and challenges me. I met a man last week who is the first ever Christian from among his people. The Yezidi people are from the line of Kurdish people living scattered throughout the Middle East. Some of these Yezidi are living in Armenia.

There are two groups of Yezidi in Armenia. The muslim Yezidi and the pagan Yezidi. The pagan Yezidi still continue the practice of idol worship. They worship stone idols of various angels. They are a ranching community which live off the land and are mostly uneducated.

Read more about the Yezidi people on the Joshua Project website for unreached people groups:

Jamaal is the first known Yizidi believer from the pagan side of the Yezidi in Armenia. He met a short-term mission team of Ukrainian and Armenians 14 years ago. Through his contact with this team Jamaal put his faith in Christ. But, for 13 years he had no other contact with Christians (except for some Americans who came one time, took some pictures, and then left – ughh).

About a year ago a team of Armenian pastors started reaching out to the Yezidi. One of these Armenian pastors, Artur, was on the short-term mission project 14 years ago that shared Christ with Jamaal. Now, he is discipling Jamaal. About fifteen Yezidi have put their faith in Christ in the last year. A young man, Azo, is one of them and was baptized last week.

The Ukrainian church is partnering with these Armenian pastors for projects, camps, and outreaches among the Yezidi. These guys are truly on the frontier of missions.

Inside a Yezidi church gathering

I was invited to teach the Storyline mission course in the local Ukrainian church which is supporting the renewed mission in Armenia to the Yezidi. Artur, Jamaal, and Azo were all a part of the mission conference with me. After my presentation of the Storyline course the Armenian pastor, Artur, asked me if he could take my materials and translate them into the Armenian language. He has been trying to teach missiology in Armenia for 10 years but has not been successful.

He told me the Storyline course is the right content, and length, to mobilize churches in Armenia for greater mission mobilization. It was all information he knew but had never considered packaging it in such a powerful and effective presentation. Pray for Storyline in Armenia!

One of my big take aways from being at this Ukrainian mission’s conference with the Yezidi is that Western Christians will probably NOT be ‘directly’ involved in reaching the many remaining unreached people groups in the world.

They are too remote, culturally so different, and wealthy urbanized Westerners just won’t relate to their way of life. It is going to take rugged people, to reach rugged people, on the margins of the world’s population. However, there is hope for the near-cultures to reach them. Armenians reaching Yezidi, yes! Americans reaching Yezidi, probably not!

May Jesus be made known to all people in all places.

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