From translator to one of first women ordained in Armenia – Anna’s Story
In 2009, Anna Jara accepted a role as a translator for a Nazarene Work & Witness team traveling to Armenia. Familiar with Christianity but without a personal relationship with Jesus, Jara bluntly recalls applying for the role, saying with a laugh, “I just needed a job.”
Little did she know that 14 years later, she would be part of a historic moment as one of the first women to become an ordained pastor in Armenia.
Raised in a different tradition, Jara remembers knowing about God but having no relationship with Him.
“I didn’t know anything about Jesus or salvation,” Jara said. “I didn’t even read the Bible.”
Her first day on the job as a Work & Witness translator left her surprised.
“Everything was so strange,” Jara said. “People were praying…the songs were different.”
In the weeks following, she remembers watching the team serve God in unfamiliar ways, challenging her perceptions of Christianity and Christians.
On the last day of the trip, a team member approached her.
“‘The Lord put something in my heart,” Jara remembers him saying. “‘And I don’t want you to think that I am crazy.’”
The man was crying and shared that God was asking him to step into her life as a spiritual father. Jara, who had recently lost her father to a heart attack, was caught off guard by his kindness but expected the promise to go unfulfilled. Once again, God surprised her. Anna’s new acquaintance honored his word, connecting with her often and providing a safe place for her faith to take root.
“We developed this beautiful relationship,” she says.
Her spiritual father prayed with and for her, encouraged her, and walked alongside her as she grew closer to the Lord. Her spiritual father was committed to calling and encouraging Anna. He called her one day, challenging her to prayerfully consider taking the Lord seriously in her life – mentioning that the Lord had unique plans for her and her future. Jara remembers the call as a pivotal point of change.
“This was the moment that I started to take seriously that something different [was] happening in my life,” Jara says. “I think then the Lord started to work in my heart… and then little by little, the Lord started to call me for ministry.”