I am so grateful that I participated in the 2017 Summer Internship program to Armenia. It profoundly touched me spiritually.
For me, the highlight of our trip was the work we got to do at the AMAA’s Camp in Hanqavan. Although we spiritually prepared for our work there in both study and prayer, what I witnessed and experienced was life-changing.
Our group arrived at this children’s camp on Monday, July 24th, 2017. We were greeted by the most adorable children and the most dedicated servants (leaders) of God. Our group quickly joined in the activities of the camp to help in any way possible. We were all assigned to different age groups so for some time, we as a group were split up to serve in different areas. Some participated in sports with the kids; I and others helped in arts & crafts. However, when our group later gathered to discuss our experiences, we all shared the same opinions: these children, despite their financial limitations, were completely filled with God’s love, joy, peace, kindness and mercy. They graciously appreciated our small efforts. They loved us and welcomed us as their brothers and sisters in Christ. We played games with them, took selfies with them and simply became part of their family. I do not speak the Armenian language well, however during one of their skits, there was no language barrier as I completely comprehended spiritually, the teaching of Jesus’ love for us all. We are all amazed at the kids’ (and staffs’) overwhelming gratitude, appreciation and love. Although we may have been sent to spiritually serve them, they definitely spiritually fed us.
I am grateful for the AMAA and all the leaders who made this Internship possible. It is my plan and prayer to return to Armenia each summer to assist these Armenian Christian camps that teach God’s love for all.
Going into this internship, I fully expected it to have an impact on me but not nearly to the extent that it has. Since we arrived, we have been visiting all the sites and monuments that make this country so great. Doing so has given me the opportunity to see the various parts of Armenia all while helping me feel more connected to my heritage. While the sights were, obviously, incredible and awe-inspiring, what I was most struck by was the discrepancy among the towns and cities in Armenia. It’s incredible how you can be in a modern, first world city such as Yerevan and then be in a rural village in a mere 15 minute drive.
My favourite experience of the trip was being able to work with the children at Camp Hankavan. While there was a bit of a language barrier between me and them (I don’t speak Armenian; shame on me) they still managed to ask me questions all about America, my thoughts on Armenia, and the differences between the two. Being able to serve them and work with them was a truly humbling experience. Leaving camp was a struggle for many; we had all bonded with our respective campers so much that some even began tearing up as we said our goodbyes.
To say this internship has had an impact on me would be an understatement. As we all pack up our belongings I can’t help reflecting on all that we’ve done. From seeing the monuments of our Motherland’s rich history to working with the children at Camp Hankavan, I truly feel more deeply connected with both my faith and the land from which my family has come. So much so that I plan on beginning to learn Armenian upon returning in hopes of one day returning to do more good for the less fortunate.
I am very thankful to God for giving me this opportunity to come and serve him on this year’s AMAA Summer Internship to Armenia. This was a very emotional and unforgettable experience. This trip gave me the opportunity to explore the importance of what it means to be Armenian. I am very thankful to the AMAA for this journey.
The two weeks that I was in Armenia, I was able to visit many of our most ancient churches. I was also able to visit the cemetery in Yerapeloor where many of our young Armenian men were buried after fighting in Karabagh. One of the most moving experiences was the trip to the Armenian Genocide Museum. I was touched because I would not be where I am today if our ancestors didn’t stand up for their faith and their country.
During our trip, we also visited the Avedisyan School and the Shogh Day Center. This was very emotional for me because I got a chance to meet the kids and learn more about their lives’. They told me their hopes and dreams.
During my trip to Camp Hanqavan, God opened my eyes and gave me the gift of being able to eat and connect with the children and leaders of the camp. On the last night of our stay in Hanqavan, we asked the volunteers at the camp to meet with us and we gave them each a present to encourage them. It was a great blessing for me. We laughed and cried tears of joy.
I was very surprised at the happiness and contentment of the Armenian people we met. Even though they didn’t have a lot, they were satisfied with what God had given them.
These two weeks we’ve been here in Armenia, I have learned a lot and grown closer to God. I have decided to continue passing down the love of our homeland Armenia to the next generation.
It has been an incredible experience here in Armenia finally getting the chance to see my homeland for the very first time and be blessed to see the work that God does all over the world. As our trip to Armenia comes to a close I have three things to take away from this trip and bring with me for the rest of my life.
The Armenian people are so incredibly happy and grateful for everything they have. They appreciate everything God has given them and their spirits are always so high. In America we have so much and so many Americans are still unhappy and ungrateful and complain about what they do not have. However, the Armenian people rejoice for every little thing God has provided for them. It is truly humbling to see how much more these people can do with so little.
God does amazing things all around the world. It is so easy to get involved and lost in our own lives and forget what happens around the world, but God is at work everywhere. When arriving into Armenia my mindset was on what I could give to the Armenian people, but it didn’t occur to me what they could give to me. They showed me how small a blessing really can be and how a simple piece of bread can provide so much joy, such as in the camp in Hanvakan. While the food at camp seemed so little to me, the kids in Armenia thought it was a feast and that they were eating so much more than they do at home. It made me so much more aware of the way God provides food for these children and how blessed they are for it.
The children at the Hanvakan camp are so loving and filled with joy for the Lord. Their faith is so strong and they are on fire for God. It was such an amazing experience watching the kids sing their hearts out to the songs and become so involved and anxious to answer questions during their bible studies. They are such an encouragement in my Christian life to continue to pray and study and spread His word and share with the world the amazing works he is doing with these children.
I am forever grateful for the opportunity to come to this beautiful country and learn about what God has done here and what he is continuing to do. I am very excited to return to the states and to share all that I have seen and learned to my friends and family so that they, too, will keep Armenia in their hearts and prayers always.
When I heard that I had the opportunity to come back to Armenia with the AMAA, I was filled with excitement. My first time in Armenia was a huge blessing and I made so many memories and formed so many good relationships. Upon arriving in Armenia, I was filled with joy when I saw people walking in the streets and sitting in the cafes. It reminded me why I felt so connected to the people.
As the week went on, we spent a lot of time bonding as a group as well as visiting some of the churches and monuments of fallen soldiers. It amazed me to see that so many soldiers had fallen while fighting for the country that they loved so much and called their home. The churches we visited were beautifully made and had so much history and culture. It was amazing to know that with every candle that was lit, there was a personal prayer that went hand in hand with it. During the week we also had the opportunity to visit some of the children at the Shogh Center. This was a great experience not only because we learned about some of the activities that happen on the facility, but we also got to experience it first hand when we met some of the children. The children told us about some of their dreams and it was touching to see that though they endure so many struggles, they continue to be joyous and trust in God amidst hardship.
On Sunday, we joined the congregation in the church at Yerevan and spent time worshiping with them. Later in the day, the group was informed that the whole city participated in a water fight known as Vartavar. As soon as we left the building, a car pulled over with the windows rolled down and shot water guns at our entire group. After that incident, we realized just how seriously everyone took the holiday so we went back in and grabbed as many buckets and water balloons that we could and went out into the city. As we walked down Baghramyan Street, we saw people holding buckets, water bottles, water guns, and even Tupperware. If it was able to hold water, people had it. What shocked me the most is that when we walked by a restaurant, one of the workers opened the door and splashed water on us. As we got deeper into the town, we realized how many people actually participated. There were fire trucks spraying water on people and people actually jumping into fountains and pulling one another in. Everyone had smiles on their faces and you can hear laughter throughout the entire city. It was truly amazing to experience the holiday again for a second time and it was a blessing to see God’s love at work in Armenia.
Coming to Armenia with the AMAA was one of the best life experiences I’ve ever had. When I first stepped off the plane I felt like I was home. I met a lot of new people and I loved connecting with the motherland. We visited a lot of sites I thought I would never be able to see in person. We went to a lot of famous places like Tsiternakaberd and Sardarabad. I would always hear the teachers in my Armenian school tell me how beautiful Armenia is and how friendly the citizens are. But I’m so happy I got to experience it all in person.
One of the most amazing moments of this trip was going to camp in Hankavan for two days! When we first pulled up to the camp everybody was so tired and didn’t think they could make it all the way through to the program but we were surprised by how much God gave us energy to get through it all. We met so many cool campers that really enjoyed spending time with us. We played lots of sports and did lots of different activities during the day. We connected so much with these kids with the little time that we had. They were so glad that we came! When it was time for us all to go they were very sad but thankful that we spent time with them. It was an amazing experience.
Overall this trip to Armenia was very productive and very fun because we got to see our motherland and be apart of the children’s lives here in Armenia. I can’t wait to come back again to spread more joy!