It was an innocent, yet prophetic conversation four-year-old Aram Bashian had with his mother.
In a 1988 entry, she wrote in her diary:
“I was asking Aram which country would you like to go to? (in answer to a ballot). First, he said ‘Massachusetts.’ Then I said, outside the U.S. He said, ‘A country that is safe.’ I said, why safe? ‘Because I don’t want them to take me away. I am your son.’ Then I gave him some names of countries like Australia, Armenia, etc. And then he said, ‘I want to go everywhere to tell them about Jesus.’ I just loved it. I hugged him and said, I will be so happy Aramig; that’s what He wants us to do; to tell others that He loves them. And my reading from the Daily Light devotional that day was, “They shall put My name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:27)
It’s been said “The pen is mightier than the sword.” In this instance, the pen and the Sword held equal weight to be unveiled.
Shortly after his 2007 graduation from New York City’s renowned Fashion Institute of Technology with degrees in menswear design and international trade and marketing, Aram’s mother was diagnosed with leukemia. However, this news did not diminish his faith nurtured by his spirit-filled parents who oversaw the Sunday School in a Bergen County, New Jersey Armenian Orthodox church. In fact, he was still learning from her in the last two years of her life as he “observed her unwavering faith and trust in the Lord’s promise that no matter what happened, death would not have the final word.”
After his mother’s passing, Aram did travel the world with several fashion labels for nearly a decade as a designer. In 2016, he became a design director in South Carolina, where a life-changing connection was made with a home church network. His passion for the world of fashion “took a back seat” to the call to full-time ministry.
This community of believers helped inform his life’s calling.
“I never felt a sense of hierarchy amongst those in leadership roles. They were all truly servants and intentionally took measures to make sure there was never any sort of ‘pastor worship.’ The teaching was balanced and rooted in Scripture with no hint of an agenda. Every volunteer position, except for elder leadership, was on a monthly or weekly rotation so no one became too comfortable in their roles. All were proactively making disciples who make disciples,” Aram explains.
This experience was the perfect segue to his return to New Jersey to begin the M.Div. program at ATS while serving as Youth and Young Adults Director at the Armenian Presbyterian Church. During this same time frame he became a partner and creative director at Treffort, a New York City-based men’s brand.
All the threads of God’s design for his life were intersecting.
The new ATS alumnus says, “Alliance is one of the few institutions that holds world-class biblical scholarship; with an orthodox theology that acknowledges the relevance and power of the Holy Spirit taught by the most passionate and experienced faculty members I’ve ever met. They also care as much about graduating biblically literate scholars as they are about raising up emotionally healthy and spiritually mature leaders. It is much easier to preach a sermon one to three times per week than leading and equipping people to ‘die to self’ on a daily basis. You’ll be hard pressed to find a seminary that also reflects the diversity of our world through the theologians who are studied, the faculty, and students you’ll get to interact with.”
As enthusiastic as Aram is about ATS, he was unanimously applauded for being an extraordinary seminarian, which earned him the coveted Bryan Widbin Award at the 2022 hooding ceremony.
Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies Dr. Stanley John says, “Aram is an exceptional student having earned the highest GPA for the graduating class of ‘22. He is a hard worker, diligent, reflective, and persevering in his theological studies I watched Aram embrace his Armenian-American heritage giving himself wholly to reflect on how his identity and his people’s history informs his theology and ministry.”
Even though he arrived at ATS with a strong spiritual foundation, Aram leaves crediting ATS for personal transformation.
“I am more confident in defending and living out my faith, for a few reasons. First, I was challenged to grow and incorporate spiritual disciplines into my life as well as becoming more self-aware, especially through the classes that focused on personal spiritual development and soul care. Theologically, I was taught to exegete, to preach effective sermons rooted in Scripture and to appreciate the cultural background of the biblical authors in order to understand their intent and how to contextualize it. I also understood the Holy Spirit’s role regarding worship, cross cultural missions, deliverance and inner healing. I am also better prepared to lead people with truth and grace.”
What words of wisdom would he share with prospective ATS students?
“Go! Choose your track prayerfully! Let the Holy Spirit use every single assignment you write to make you more like Jesus. Be honest in your reflections especially when it comes to unpacking the ‘suitcase of your soul’ to quote Dr. Reimer. If you ever lack motivation, pray that the Holy Spirit would remind you why you are there in the first place and show you the assignment’s practical application to your future self and ministry because there is nothing in the curriculum that is there to simply fulfill credit requirements.”
Even in her absence, a son honored his mother with what would bring her happiness. Today a man of God is equipped to carry out the Great Commission spoken of in an exchange that took place with his mom more than three decades ago.