From translator to one of first women ordained in Armenia – Anna’s Story

From translator to one of first women ordained in Armenia – Anna’s Story

by
Sarah Norris for Eurasia Region Church of the Nazarene
| 24 Aug 2023
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Anna Jara

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. 

Anna's spiritual father prayed with and for her, encouraged her, and walked alongside her as she grew closer to the Lord. He was committed to calling and encouraging her. One day, he challenged 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.”

In 2012, after completing her master’s degree in education, Jara formally began her ministry education at European Nazarene College. While studying, Jara felt the Lord leading her deeper into leadership. 

“He was calling me for a pastoral ministry,” Jara said. “And I made the decision that I would like to be ordained.” 

Though confident in her calling, Anna knew she would face an uphill battle in the Armenian community. 

“Women are not welcomed to the ministry here,” Jara said. “But with the help of the Lord and with His grace, I decided to accept the challenge.”  

In 2022, Anna’s historical ordination took place. She humbly acknowledges the gift and the problematic road set before her. 

“I know the challenge,” Jara said. “But I know that the Nazarene church is welcoming [of] women in ministry and that for the Lord it’s acceptable…I am grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to be His servant in His field.”

Today, Anna and her husband, Trino, serve as missionaries in Eurasia. Anna’s favorite part of pastoring is watching lives transform through spiritual growth and development within the Body of Christ. 

“I enjoy and love to see God’s people coming together,” Anna said. “My hope is that every Armenian will be reached and experience [the] real Christ in their lives.”

--Church of the Nazarene Eurasia

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