Tough Goodbyes and Beautiful Sights

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.

Nareen Babaian and Remi Guirguis

Not With Tongue, But In Deed

The interns spend time with the children at Camp Sheen Shoghig in Hankavan, Armenia

Finally, a day at camp! We leaders had experienced Camp Sheen Shoghig (at Hankavan) five years ago as interns, and were moved by seeing God’s work being done with such zeal. Coming back this year with our group of seventeen, we were excited, but also anxious, knowing that it would likely be the hardest day for our interns.

The day started off promisingly enough, with two of our interns leading worship for all 165 of this week’s attendees (for those who don’t know, this week’s session is for 8-13 year old). It was encouraging to see them jump into their roles so early on! As the day wore on, however, we noticed that it was taking a while for our interns to step out of their comfort zones and into their service roles. Slowly, they realized that their time with these kids was limited, and so they allowed themselves to be approached (or rather, swarmed) by the kids and separated from one another. Some were involved in sports and games; others helped with arts and crafts; still others stuck with individual groups and helped out the camp leaders.


It was amazing for us to see how God can take people who are ready to serve Him, and not only use them for His glory, but also teach them, through their service, about who He is. The interns were expecting to be the ones doing the serving–but instead, it was the kids who were teaching our interns about service. The kids’ passion and love for the Lord, and affection for everyone around them, humbled our interns. They saw that, although the circumstances here may be worse, the spirits of everyone here are so much fuller than ours. As leaders we were glad to see this challenge be presented to our interns, because it led them to question the real meaning of wealth.

In 1 John 3:18, it is written: “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” Today our interns experienced this first-hand. They saw how any language barriers that existed just melted away when they rolled up their sleeves and loved in deeds rather than with words. The lesson must have hit home, because by the end of the day, the most common question was “Can’t we stay another day?” We ask that you pray for continued growth and maturity among our beloved interns, and for God to continue blessing us through those we encounter, and, Lord willing, vice versa!

Tamar Melkonian and Sevag Bakalian

God Is Our Foundation

The interns visit AMAA’s Nicol Touman Center in Yerevan before heading to Camp Sheen Shoghig in Hankavan.

God continues to reveal himself each and every day we spend here in Armenia. Today was filled with eye-opening moments. The morning began with a message where we learned a great deal about what exactly the AMAA does for the community. The AMAA representative of Armenia, Harout Nercessian, walked us through the various social and spiritual programs they provide to those in need. They focus on  providing holistic care to the people in these communities. The AMAA values education and provides life skills for the Armenian people. This approach allows them to better themselves and their families. It gives them a sense of purpose, hope, and integrity in their lives.

God spoke to each of us today through Samuel Nalbandian’s powerful testimony of how God turned him from a gang leader to a church leader.

Each department head shared their specific role in certain projects. This showed us how much work God is doing through them in Armenia and how every little piece fits together.

After this informative session, we toured the Nicole Touman Center, which is the previous headquarters of the AMAA. Here we saw one example of the many forms of care they provide.

In the late afternoon, we drove to camp Hankavan where we were greeted by dozens of cheerful children. During the night session, we were overjoyed to see the excitement on the campers’ faces while worshiping and celebrating the beginning of an exciting week.

We see an overflow of blessings because God is the sturdy foundation of the AMAA. We are humbled to play a small part in serving with them.

Emily Sagherian and Rebecca Sagherian

AMAA Interns Second Day in Armenia

SATURDAY: DZIDZERNAGAPERT, GARNI, KEGHART – We started the morning off right with a traditional Armenian breakfast that was prepared for us. After that, we went to one of the classrooms and had a bible lesson led by Badveli Avedis.

We then left the AMAA headquarters and went to Vernisage, which is a very large market that has a wide variety of Armenian items. After that, we went out to lunch, and had kebab, toshka, and many other delicious Armenian foods. Then, we took the bus to Dzidzernagapert, where we saw the Genocide Memorial. It was very emotional for a lot of us, and it made us realize the sacrifices that were made by our forefathers.

From there we rode the bus to Garni Dajar, which was a pagan temple used for offerings. Shortly after we went to Keghart Monastery, where we visited an architectural masterpiece. Afterwards,  we went out to dinner at a restaurant, where we all had a chance to talk about our day, and break bread together. We finally ended our day by returning to the AMAA headquarters and taking part in worship with the whole group. It was a great day all in all.

Anto Boynerian

Calm After the Storm

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After yesterday’s active day of sightseeing, today’s schedule was more calm. The group had the pleasure of being part of the Evangelical Church of Armenia’s Sunday programs. Some of us attended church service, while others volunteered in Sunday School, Childcare, and Junior Care.

Talar Haidostian

Following the service, those who had relatives were given the opportunity to spend time together. Those who stuck with the group enjoyed a nice lunch at Zeituna Restaurant in Yerevan with Badvelis from the church. Shortly after, the interns that stayed for lunch took a Yerevan Bus Tour that gave them the opportunity to see a large portion of the city while driving around.

Rev. Avedis Boynerian

Around six pm, everyone in the group made their way back to the AMAA Center. We then, decided to walk over to a pizzeria nearby. See the picture of Khachapuri that was ordered.

Khatchapuri!


After dinner, we were walking toward Hraparak (The Republic Square) to get ice cream, we got caught up in rain with hail and lightning. We all gathered underneath an awning and waited for the rain to pass. Once it cleared, we continued to the town center to get our ice cream.

The remainder of our evening is currently being spent rooting for our favorite soccer team(s) in the UEFA Euro 2016 final! (France v. Portugal)

“And Mary said, ‘Be hold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:38 ESV)

Alexia Poladian and Juliette Boyajian

We have safely arrived in Armenia!

After a nine hour flight, we had no service, not realizing that our gate to Yerevan had changed. So, thanks to the awareness of Badveli Avedis, we ran to the other side of the terminal and took a last call van straight to the plane. Three hours later, AMAA greeted us and provided us with a delicious meal. After devotional, the group went out to dinner and explored Yerevan.

Sarin Ashjian and Elizabeth Sarian

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Internship Day 2

Our first full day involved visiting the headquarters of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) and sightseeing.

After eating breakfast we left the hotel for the AMAA office.  AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaren Khanjian and Director of Finance David Ayenjian spoke with us about the mission of the organization: to support and provide opportunities for Armenians around the world, particularly the youth.

Many of us in the group had heard of the AMAA but did not know much about its work. So it was helpful to hear how it partnered with churches, schools, and other organizations in 24 different countries worldwide.

We left for the New Jersey harbor, where we boarded a ferry to Ellis Island. There we saw exhibits on the immigration process, and were reminded that many of our forefathers came to America in a similar way.

Our next stop was the Statue of Liberty.  Though entrance was closed due to a police search, we were able to get a good view of the statue from the outside. After returning to our hotel and having dinner, we had a devotional and prayed for the trip. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing, with excitement for the journey ahead.

Luke Momjian