Eternal Gifts

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.
DSC_0046 2
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.

Rita Safrian

Advertisements

Forever Grateful

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.IMG_3641.jpg

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.IMG_3642

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.

Melani Salibian

What A Blessing to See God’s Love at Work in Armenia

 

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.
5-3
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.
5-2
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.

Jason Garabedian

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.
4-1.jpg
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!

Sevag Yacoubian

Spending Time with Campers at Sheen Shoghig Camp in Hankavan, Armenia

Life Changing Experiences – July 28, 2017

The first five days here in Armenia have been such a blessing so far. We were nervous on the flight here not knowing exactly what to expect from Armenia but as we came in to land, the beautiful peaks of Ararat came into view!

The first day we arrived at the airport and we had already noticed a difference, as Zvarnots Airport was much different than any airports we’d seen in America. As we got on our bus to the AMAA Offices in Yerevan, we started to look out the window. Immediately, we noticed how different the atmosphere was.3-2

The first night we went out into the heart of Yerevan. Walking around at night in downtown Yerevan was such an interesting experience. So many people were out just enjoying life. It was such an amazing atmosphere. Knowing that so many Armenians in the city struggle financially made it hard to believe that the crowd could be so energetic. It seemed like people were able to simply forget about all their daily struggles and just go out and have a great time.

The second day we went and visited a beautiful school that the AMAA built for kids in one of Yerevan’s poorest districts. After that we visited some of the children at the daycare center, where they help hundreds of kids who have various disabilities. Hearing about how poor most of the kids that attend the school were really touched me. And yet, when I saw the kids they seemed like they where full of joy and having the time of there lives! Spending time with the kids and playing with them was a life changing experience. It put a lot of my every day complaints and concerns into perspective.3-1

The next few days we went sight seeing and saw some of Armenia’s historic landmarks. We visited several churches that have been around for hundreds of years. As beautiful as some places are in America, the sights in Armenia are just on another level. Overall being in Armenia has been such a blessing. It’s definitely much different from America as they don’t have most of the luxuries we have there. After everything I have seen so far on this trip, I feel truly blessed and thankful for the opportunity to be on this team.

George Safrian and Sevag Khanjian

A Life-Changing Experience

Being that it was my second time returning to Armenia, I was extremely excited to come back with the AMAA. One of the first stops on our trip was Yeraploor, a memorial for the fallen soldiers that fought in the Karabagh war. Many of us were shocked to see that most of the soldiers that fought during the war were very young, some as young as 18. It was nice that we were able to visit the memorial and honor those who had fallen during the battle.
IMG_3379.jpg
After stopping at Yeraploor we headed to Tsitsernanakaberd to see the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan. Visiting the Memorial was emotional and hard for most of us. Although I was familiar with what happened during the Genocide, it was a life-changing experience to be at the memorial to honor those who passed. I could feel God’s presence as we walked through the museum reading the horrific summary of events. Although the memorial was a place filled with anger and sadness, it was also a place that filled me with pride and perseverance. In those moments I felt honored to be an Armenian and determined to keep my heritage and culture alive.
IMG_3483
Visiting Yeraploor and Tsitsernanakaberd surrounded by fellow Armenians who I now consider family, was a day I will never forget.

Jennifer Gambino