Reverend Krirkorian was named after great man of faith. Born in Hassanbeyly, Turkey (Armenia) in April 1888, a young Meshach was raised 100 miles east of the Apostle Paul’s birthplace of Tarsus with his six brothers and sisters. His father was a farmer and realized his on had an deep passion and ambition to learn. Despite his son’s passion, Meshach’s father was unable to financially provide him with a solid education. Unwilling to even dare to place this burden on his parents, Meshach abandoned his hope of learning and became a shoemaker. A loving aunt reached out to Miss. Rebecca Krikorian in concern for his education. Rebecca’s family provided a way for Meshach to attend school in Aintab.
I thought and I looked, and behold a golden lining shone through the dark clouds, as it were saying, “Delight thyself in the Lord, for he hath given thee the desire of thine heart.” Filled with the thrill of the new-found joy I ran back to my old master and told him, “Uncle, I have come to bid you good-by, I am leaving to attend the school.””
Now, it will be important to note here again that Meshach Krikorian holds NO relation to Rebecca Krikorian. His actual last name is Manookian; however, he changed his last name in fear of the Mohammad Turks who were said to find Armenians regardless of where they fled. Meshach finished three and a half years of school, but once again he was unable to pay for college. He walked two days back to Aintab to a college president pleading for his enrollment. Reluctantly, the college president agreed. After three months, Meshach was removed from the school for financial reasons.
In 1909, chaos arose in Turkey soon followed by the outbreak of the Adana Massacre which claimed the lives of 75,000 Armenians. Meshach’s uncle was tied to eleven other young men and burned alive. Another uncle was killed after refusing to deny his faith. His father was shot, mutilated, and burned, for refusing to denounce his faith. His last words to his son:
My son, if you could be a man for God and be a blessing to others, I would not regret if I lay my life down.”
It is said that nearly seventy five members of Meshach’s family were killed in the Armenian massacres. Sadly, Meshach had to depart from his family and flee to Alexandria, Egypt to escape the violence. While in Alexandria, an Armenian friend encouraged him to write Rebecca in efforts to be educated in America. As soon as Rebecca heard from Meshach, she along with friends sent him fifty dollars to purchase a ticket to America. In late October-early November, he arrived in New York City leaving for a train to Harrisburg. Arriving at 3 o’clock in the morning, Meshach made his way onto the station platform. Waiting stood Miss. Rebecca Krikorian and another woman.
…she asked me whether I was Meshach and I answered her by returning the same question whether she was Rebecca. This was our fashion of introduction. As we took the road toward the home where the aged people spend their latter days, she put the second question to me, “Are you a Christian?” which was a very fitting one…I answered yes, as much as I understood, admitting, however, that there was still the smell of the garlic and onion of Egypt on me, that a spiritual bath could have been right in order to clean me up.”
Rebecca, Meshach, and Jacob, who you will meet later, settled in Lancaster County at the home of Reverend Eli M. Engle. They continued on their journey making their way to Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home.
Meshach pictured at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles—Undated
Until the next post. All information comes from The Conquered Conflicts of My Life by Meshach.