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How a lost file led astronaut’s wife to locate Noah’s Ark

Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin had an encounter with God as he walked on the moon that left him a changed man. When he returned to Earth, he become a bold ambassador for Jesus Christ as he met with the leaders of many countries throughout the world.

Irwin also led multiple expeditions to Mt. Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark. If found, it would arguably be the greatest archeological discovery in history. Tragically, Irwin died of a sudden heart attack in 1991, with his quest to find the Ark unrealized.

Now his widow, Mary Irwin, is convinced she knows where the Ark is located – and where it’s not located.

Noah’s Ark by Bassano

Two years ago, she was interviewed for four hours by a team working on the National Georgraphic documentary production: “Truth behind the Ark.” After Mary viewed the documentary, she felt the title of their project was highly misleading.

“There was barely a shred of truth in any of it,” she notes. She feels that she and her son-in-law John – both devout Christians, were made to look like “fools” by a film with an agnostic bias. Apparently, the filmmakers believe the story of Noah’s Ark has its roots in Mesopotamian folklore.

After Mary watched the production she came “unhinged,” and considered dashing off a protest letter to National Geographic. But her children urged her to do something more important – author her own book about the Ark.

Mary Irwin

She had already studied the subject for 25 years. After praying about it, she told God, “I’m willing to do this if you help me to think outside the box and help me to put it together. I can’t do this without your help.”

A bit of a detective at heart, she dove into her new research with relish, examining seven of the most noted stories. She slowly demolished the less credible reports as pure fiction. “Week after week it would boggle my mind as I got more and more information.” At a certain point, she reached a dead end, with clues to the location of the Ark pointing in different directions.

“One man saw it on one mountain and one saw it on another mountain. I realized it couldn’t be on two different mountains,” she notes. Frustrated at this moment, she began to pray, “God, you have to open a door and show me.”

She laid the project aside while she waited on the Lord. Then a breakthrough came. “The Holy Spirit brought to my mind that in my late husband’s office in one of the file cabinets he had a whole drawer marked ‘Ararat.’”

Mark Ellis is a senior correspondent for ASSIST News Service and the founder of  He is available to speak to groups about the plight of the church in restricted countries, to share stories and testimonies from the mission field, and to preach the gospel.

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