Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Gold Coins and God's wrath

After all was said and done . . . well, actually, not all . . . nearly all of the Armenians were gone from Marash . . . they had either been slaughtered, followed after the French who were sneaking out of the city unbeknownst to most (although most froze to death in a snowstorm that hit a day outside of the city), forced on the death march to Der Zor (a march which few survived) . . . but Grandma Yepros was still in Marash, in hiding, with her little sister Mary and her four children, a mother with no income and no adult male member present in the household, a single mother trying to feed and protect her family.  As Peter remembered the experience, in order to leave Marash and the newly established Republic of Turkey for the protection of the new French mandate of Syria, Grandma Yepros had to pay Turkish officials  5 gold coins (presumably to relinquish title to any of her properties in Marash) in order to acquire an  exit visa. She approached the Protestant missionaries in Marash and borrowed the five gold coins which she then took to the Turkish official who would provide her with an "exit visa". The Turkish official told her that the exit document would be ready the following day.  When she approached the official that very next day and asked for her "exit visa", the official told her that she had never paid him the five gold pieces.  Yepros, devastated, went to the Protestant missionaries again to borrow 5 more gold pieces in order to pay the Turkish official yet again for an exit document.  After paying the official for the second time five gold pieces and receiving her exit visa, she walked some distance from the Turkish offices,   removed her black shesh from her head, raised it to the heavens and looked up.  "Allah, ben yardum et! Lord you see what this man has done.  I cannot do anything about this, but you can."

The very next day, the family set out for Aleppo, Peter riding on a “jackass” (as he often laughingly related). Days later, upon the family's arrival in Aleppo, Grandma Yepros learned that the Turkish official who had cheated her out of five gold pieces, that very official had dropped dead on the very same day that she had paid him five gold pieces for the second time, the day that she had raised her shesh over her head, looking up to the sky to ask for God's justice.


  1. Powerful woman..saving her family, mostly, but also calling for justice

    1. Powerful woman? Rather not. She was a humble woman whose christian Faith, a living faith, was her armor. Her sword, was the word of God, as it is for all who 'walk in the spirit and forsake the lust of the flesh'. When she raised her veil to heaven and cried out to the Lord Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, her words, as I recall hearing the story many times, were these, "I have nothing more to do with this man. I give him over to you." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, which this man did. Yepros' faith was a living faith, never altered by the terrible circumstances of her life. She understood, very well, that it is better to live by the grace of God than the cunning, guile, wits of man. This Turkish official died according to his wits, Yepros lived according to her walk with the Lord, by his grace. As the Lord himself says in the scriptures, "not by might, not by power, but by my spirit." Yepros was anything but a powerful woman.