“Every good thing comes to an end.” So did the AMAA 2016 Internship Program (July 5-19), as we said our “good byes” and made our good wishes to each other the night of Monday, July 18 and in the very early hours of Tuesday, July 19. However, as the apostle Paul is “confident that he who began a good work in (us) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV). We share the apostle’s “confidence” and that’ why look forward to cherish every opportunity which God provides us to continue the good work that He began in our lives.
I praise God and thank Him for His traveling mercies. I pray and hope that those who stayed in Armenia (with dance groups, Christian camps and relatives) will also make it safe home soon.
What a wonderful Internship experience this was to each and everyone of us! Let’s hold it dear, and also share it with our family, friends and church family, and stay connected to one another.
I offer my gratitude and thanks to God, the parents, our two wonderful leaders, and to the leaders of the AMAA and Evangelical Churches of Armenia (of Paramus, New Jersey and of Yerevan, Armenia), and to all who helped in planning and organization of this year’s Internship. May God continue to touch and bless our lives so we also touch other people’s lives with God’s grace, love and mercy.
“Interns! Please, remember. “Christianity is a two-way street.” We give, because we have received!”
As this trip comes to a close, we all feel a sense of sadness that comes with departure but at the same time we are thankful for being able to get to grow closer to each other and to God. We have seen God reveal himself so many times on this trip and are grateful for the chance to experience what we did.
We began our day by visiting the Avedisian school where we saw all the work the AMAA has poured into the community. Thanks to all the donors and the AMAA, the Avedisian school can change the lives of children so that they will grow up knowing the Lord and have a successful future. The Avedisian school is one of the first in Armenia to be environmentally sustainable and also teaches their students to value and care for their surroundings.
Next, we visited Shogh day center where we got a glimpse of their typical day. The children are able to experience psychological counseling, art and cultural classes, and participate in different extra curricular activities. As we walked through the rooms we saw numerous art pieces on the walls done by the children. We were amazed at the talent of the kids and the inspiration of their art. The one that stood out to us the most was a poster which listed 3 categories under which students placed their goals: financial, educational, and spiritual. We were amazed to see that the majority of their goals were faith based and found in the spiritual category. Very few were interested in wealth.
We ended our night by having one last meal together. As we enjoyed each other’s company, we reminisced about the good times we had together and the friendships we created. We pointed out how much God has worked in each of our lives and the amount we have grown since the beginning of the trip. We are in awe of how generous the AMAA has been to us and are thankful for taking care of us throughout the trip. We look forward to keeping in touch with each other as well as the AMAA. Our trip doesn’t end here but continues as together we sponsor a child through the AMAA and support the organization prayerfully and financially. The AMAA has shown us first hand that faith is a two way street – they not only display true faith in God, but also give back to their community without hesitation.
We saw God’s breathtaking creation as we saw Mount Ararat and connected further with our motherland.
This morning after breakfast, we headed to Khor Virab and learned the history of St. Gregory. We learned that he was a missionary. He was thrown into a pit by King Drtad III and miraculously survived until the king summoned him to cure him of his madness. Since Gregory succeeded, the king decide to change the state religion to Christianity. We had a chance to climb down into the pit and see where Gregory was held for 13 years. After climbing down to the pit, we hiked to the edge of the Armenian/Turkish border.
Afterwards, we headed to the Ardashad church where the members had prepared a delicious lunch for us. After lunch, we had an opportunity to sing worship songs with the VBS kids and we headed back to the AMAA.
We had a lot of free time today, therefore some of us went to Grand Candy, a popular candy store in Yerevan.
We had a wonderfully prepared dinner with the kids of some of the local pastors. Afterwards, the pastors’ kids of our group had a meeting with the others. They talked about how their lives differ from those who aren’t pastors’ kids, in both good and bad ways.
We ended our day by climbing Cascade and seeing Yerevan’s sparkling lights and of course, taking lots of pictures! (We can’t forget to mention our baghbaghag… we had that too.)
The Interns visit the Musa Dagh Monumen, Zvartnots and Yerablur, and pay their respect to all the heroes who sacrificed their lives to keep our Homeland safe
Today we experienced the power of the Holy Spirit as youth from Armenia, America, Lebanon, and Canada gathered together to worship and have fellowship.
The first place we headed to was the monument in Armavir which is dedicated to the survivors of Musa Dagh. We then headed to Zvartnots where we saw the ruins of the church. We were privileged to hear a few Armenian songs performed by talented locals. Our last stop of the day was Yerablur, where war heroes and martyrs are buried.
In the evening we had a worship service and fellowship with the youth group of the Armenian Evangelical Churches in Yerevan. We discussed the difficulties that teenagers face in this century and in the Armenian Evangelical community. We were reminded that our lives must be centered around God instead of around ourselves. During his talk, Aram Babajanyan shared that many times people think that being a Christian limits our freedom, yet in reality, being a follower of Christ is ultimate freedom.
The Interns visit Sartarabad, Armavir and Etchmiadzin and get acquainted with the rich Christian and cultural heritage of their Motherland
We started the day with a special breakfast followed by evaluations of the day and a short Bible study. Afterwards our bus drove us to Sartarabad which is a monument dedicated to the victory over the Turks in the 1918 war. This led to Armenia’s independence and to the foundation of modern Armenia. We learned how the four pillars reached to God as a means of praising Him for giving Armenia the victory despite all odds. It is a testament to the power of God, and how He will provide.
After that, we went to Armavir church and spent the afternoon with some of the church members. We ate khorovadz, worshipped with cultural songs, and we learned some cultural dances. There we saw not only Armenian values, but also God’s values of giving and loving everyone. The people there reflected God’s love and showed to us how we as Christians should be a testimony to others through out love. We also noted how despite not having a lot to give, the people at Armavir gave, showing how God provided for them as well.
Around 5pm, we departed for our last stop of the day: Etchmiadzin. We toured the grounds and went inside the cathedral. We learned about Etchmiadzin history of how it was the first church, and that God showed Gregory the Illuminator the layout and location of the church through a dream. This is yet another example of how God will provide no matter the situation.
Upon returning home, we ate dinner and did interviews with numerous ECA (Evangelical Church of Armenia) pastors. It was a good opportunity to learn about the ECA and their impact in Armenia, as well as their connection with the AMAA. Finally, the group divided as some spent the evening with relatives, some went to sleep early, and others went out to Yerevan downtown. Overall, it was a good day as we learned about how God provides regardless of the circumstances, and how He will provide.
The interns say farewell to the campers at Camp Sheen Shoghig and visit Lake Sevan, Dilijan and the Haghardzin Monastery before heading to Yerevan
Our day began with a bitter farewell to the children and leaders we all had the pleasure to interact with, love and learn from at the camp. With tearful goodbyes, they wished us more blessings as we continued our trip in Armenia and the only thing they requested was for us to never forget them. We saw God’s love in each and every camper through their passion of learning God’s word. Once we finally got on the bus and left Hankavan, we went on to Lake Sevan, where we admired the ancient churches and khatchkars dating back to the third and fourth centuries as well as the beautiful lake itself. Afterwards, we headed to Dilijan where we toured the recently built Armenian Evangelical Church of the village, where we met with the pastor and the staff and experienced wonderful Armenian hospitality, as the pastor explained the great demand of evangelizing the message of the cross in that village. Our final stop was Haghadzin Monastery, which was an architectural masterpiece found in the middle of the forest, in Dilijan. Also, The church itself was built in the shape of a cross. We finally returned back to the AMAA headquarters in Yerevan and had a bible study followed by our traditional ice cream run. We are looking forward to what God has in store for us on the second half of our trip.