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Evangelic Expeditions

Mission: Ararat 2010
Dispatches
Finding Noah's Ark 

The Plan

Dates: July 9-20.

Purpose: Climb Mount Ararat while seeking God’s direction for working with Kurdish people.

Cost: $1,995 for 10-day Ararat climb (see itinerary below), based on team with minimum of 6, maximum of 10. Cost does not include airfare to Istanbul, Turkey from member’s home.

Itinerary:

  • Day 1 (July 9) – Travel.
  • Day 2 (July 10) – Arrive in Istanbul. Hotel stay.
  • Day 3 (July 11) – Worship/sightsee in Istanbul.
  • Day 4 (July 12) – Internal flight to Van, Turkey, and drive to Dogubeyazit. Hotel stay.
  • Day 5 (July 13) – Drive to Eli and begin trek (about 5 hours) to Green Camp at 10,500 feet.
  • Day 6 (July 14) – Acclimatization day. Staying at Green Camp.
  • Day 7 (July 15) – Ascent (5-6 hours) to High Camp at 13,500 feet.
  • Day 8 (July 16) – Summit attempt and descent to Green Camp. 10-to-12 hour day.
  • Day 9 (July 17) – Trek out and drive to Dogubeyazit. Hotel stay.
  • Day 10 (July 18)– Morning in Dogubeyazit, worship, and drive to Van. Hotel stay.
  • Day 11 (July 19) – Flight to Istanbul.
  • Day 12 (July 20) – Travel (return flights).

Team members: Charlotte Crain, Gig Harbor, Wash., USA; Aaron Hemphill, Blairmore, Alberta, Canada; Gary Fallesen, Rochester, NY, USA; Steve Hufford, Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

 

Mission: Ararat 2010

Twin mountains of Ararat: 12,782-foot/3896-meter Little Ararat, left, and 16,946-foot/5165-meter Great Ararat. (Photo by Art Salisbury)

The debate has raged for some time: Where did Noah’s ark come to rest? It may be on modern-day Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey or on another peak found in neighboring Armenia or Iran. We do not search for timber possibly preserved since the The Flood (historically documented in the Book of Genesis from chapter 6 to 9). We are called to one of His majestic peaks (16,946 foot/5165 meter) Ararat in search of those who do not know Jesus Christ, specifically the Kurdish people.

Kurds, which number about 25 million people, are the largest ethnic group in the world without a state of their own. They are unevenly distributed between Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Azerbaijan. They have always lived in the same area, tracing their roots back to ancient Persia.

The Kurds are tribal people and many of them lived, until recently, a nomadic lifestyle in the mountainous regions of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Their refuge has always been in the mountains.

Nearly all Kurds are Muslim. Among the Northern Kurd of Turkey, with a population of more than 8 million, there reportedly are only 551 Christians. In his 1867 account of Dr. Freiderich Parrot’s first modern ascent of Mount Ararat, Rev. E. Greenwald writes: “One, and perhaps the chief reason, why the mountain of Ararat is not more frequently visited, is the hostile character of the people that inhabit the region through which travelers must pass. They are bitter Kurds, and Turkmans, and other tribes, who profess the religion of Mahomet, and are so hostile to Christians as to make it extremely dangerous to travel among them.”

It is more dangerous to be a Kurd, a people who live in very poor conditions (good water supplies are scarce and diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis are common) and who are oppressed by governments. In Turkey, it was a crime to speak Kurdish in public until 1991.

The needs are great for the Kurds, but the biggest need is to hear about the freedom found in Christ. We will explore ways to do that while exploring the mountains of Ararat, wherever those might be.

Ararat, photographed from Armenia, with the Khor Virap monastery in the foreground. This is the closest point in Armenia to the mountain. The border between Muslim Turkey and Christian Armenia is closed to ground transportation. Ararat once stood in Armenia. (Photo by Art Salisbury)

The Word

“… and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.”
— Genesis 8:4 (NIV)

 

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