Ni Hao! My name is Mary Baghdasarian, but for most of the year I go by Miss Mary.
I currently live and work in China as an elementary school teacher. This is where God has called me for this season, but my story starts back when I was a child.
I grew up going to church, and always had a heart for ministry. The message of the gospel interested me from a young age, and passion to share the good news became my drive. Camp AREV has played a role in my faith journey. My first time going up to camp I was entering 7th grade, and I remember not wanting to be there. My parents signed me up and I had no choice, but God had His plan in motion. I was so moved and convicted of my sin, and finally realized what it meant for Jesus to die for me. It wasn’t an outward proclamation, but an inward heart change. I remember sitting by the camp fire after the speaker spoke, coming to tears and not knowing why. He was working in me, something that took me years to see.
I began volunteering my summers to serve at camp as a counselor and built relationships with those around me. Right after graduating high school, I was asked to be a high school counselor. I felt inadequate to be with girls only one year below me, but the director at that time trusted me and believed I was more than capable. I had no idea what fruit would come from that year. The girls I had in my cabin, grew in faith and the following year they signed up to be camp counselors too. This is truly the work of the Lord, and I was so encouraged. There is a lesson here for everyone. Don’t underestimate what God can do through you, you just have to say YES.
Camp AREV is still a part of my testimony, and I am encouraged to see Armenian youth passionate to serve the Lord. Serving is honorable before the Lord, and I encourage everyone who has a relationship with the Lord to give 1 or 2 weeks of their summer to go up. However, more than what you can do for the Lord, He is in the business of heart change. He wants to change your heart. Your life is your biggest testimony and trust me they’re watching you.
Life can take you many places, even places you don’t want to be. I never thought I’d be in China, but faith can lead you to do the unimaginable. Now, years later, I was able to serve at Camp AREV during my visit home for the summer.
I’m headed back to China to keep teaching and loving the people God has placed in my life. God can use you anywhere, you don’t have to go across the ocean for Him to work in you and through you. I hope my faith journey has been an encouragement to you. Please keep China in your prayers, especially the Chinese Christians. Persecution in this country is a real thing, yet in the midst of it all, the people are praising God all the more. May we not take our faith for granted, when many struggle to get a Bible in their hands.
I will leave you with my life passage from Jeremiah 9:23-24: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.’ ”
We can never understand or know God enough.
Only by His grace,