THE THREE MIRACLESSylvia's family were Armenian Christians who had escaped the Armenian genocide in the early 1900's instigated by the Ottoman Turks of that time. They managed to settle in Thessalonica, Greece. It was there that Sylvia was born. Through the providence of God she was blessed with a good education in her early years.
But when World War II broke out and the Italians overran Greece, her education came to an end. Her family suffered many privations during this time, including what they called 'the year of starvation'. Although still a young girl, Sylvia could speak several languages, including German. Because of this she was allowed to work at the local hospital which was overrun with war casualties. There, she came to the attention of a German 4 star General who was suffering from malaria. Noting her good work and talents, he gave her his card and said, "If you ever need anything, get in touch with me." She put the card away and didn't give it another thought.
As the war began to wind down, the Germans shut down the hospital and ordered all the workers to be shipped out to Germany. No-one was allowed to take any of their family with them. Only Sylvia and her mother who also worked at the hospital would be allowed to go. Her father, two sisters and a brother would have to be left behind. They were all very distressed and prayed that God would not let their family be separated. It was then that Sylvia remembered the General's card. In fear and trembling she contacted him and he stepped in. He gave her a letter and arranged for the whole family to go to Germany together. That was the first miracle.
But when the night arrived for the general's car to take them all with great secrecy to the railway station where they would join the other hospital workers, the car was late and they missed the train. They were distraught. All they could do was wait for the next train. All through that anxious train journey, her father kept softly singing "Any where with Jesus I can safely go". After a long journey, the train stopped unexpectedly. There was a long delay of several days before they continued on with their journey, but during the delay, they discovered the reason for the hold up. There had been an air raid further up the line. The first train that they should have taken had been bombed and none of the hospital workers survived. Surely God was watching over them! That was the second miracle.
The family finally arrived in Germany. There they had to work in a local factory. By now Germany was losing the war and food was in scarce supply for everyone. Once in a while they would receive a care package from a group of Armenian Americans. Typically, Sylvia wrote to them to thank them. At the urging of her mother she included a photograph of her family. At the end of the war many refugees and displaced persons in Europe were sent to various countries. Sylvia and her family were sent to America, where of course they knew no-one and had nothing.
After two weeks of traveling, they disembarked in New Orleans. From there, all the immigrants were told to take certain buses for their final destination. Sylvia's family was told to take the Fresno bus where there was already a settlement of Armenians and work was available. But when they tried to board the Fresno bus, they were told that they were not on the list for that bus. After some confusion, they were told they had to take the bus to Los Angeles. It was now three weeks since they had left Germany and when they finally arrived in Los Angeles they were exhausted and disheveled. They knew no-one, had no-where to go, had no money, and no jobs. "What now?" they wondered.
In Los Angeles, they told their story to those in charge at the bus station. When it was discovered they were Armenian, they were taken to an Armenian church which was not too far away. The pastor of the church came out to greet them and after talking to them for a few moments, he suddenly said "I know you! Come with me." So they followed him to his study. Quickly he pointed to a photograph on his desk. It was the photo of Sylvia and her family. It turned out that this was the church which had sent them care packages when they were in Germany working at the factory. It was the same pastor to whom Sylvia had written to thank and to whom she had sent the photograph of her family. This was the third miracle!
Right away the church allowed them to sleep in the basement. In addition, since it was the day after Thanksgiving, the church had much food left over from their celebrations -- most of it real Armenian food at that. Later the church found an apartment for them, and paid the rent for them, gave them $20 a week for food and helped them find jobs. They were overwhelmed.
Certainly the Lord had taken care of them throughout all these difficult years When Sylvia tells this miraculous story of her family's survival, she always ends by quoting this verse from Romans 8:28....
"All things work together for good to them that love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose."
Copyright: Christine A. Jones