AMAA 2019 Summer Internship to Armenia Provides Interns a VISION for MISSION

The Interns at Yeraplour

“Your Young Shall See Visions” Acts 2:17

By Rev. Serop and Alina Megerditchian

We were pleased to be asked and were blessed to plan, organize and lead this year’s AMAA Summer Internship to Armenia, July 4-19.

The theme of the Internship “Vision for Mission,” was based on Acts 2:17 “Your young shall see vision.” The purpose and the aim of this year’s Internship was to provide the youth of our churches from different parts of the world – the United States, Canada, Australia, South America, Europe and the Middle East  ̶  the opportunity to learn about and appreciate many ministries of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) and the Evangelical Churches of Armenia (ECA) in the Homeland, to be a time of personal spiritual growth through daily Bible study, discussion, prayer and evaluation sessions and to discover our rich Armenian heritage, roots and legacy through exposure to some significant historical, religious and key cultural sites of our beloved Homeland. The Interns accomplished these goals by serving and helping through different types of services, such as visiting, cleaning houses, cooking and having prayer time and lunch with the lonely, elderly and needy families in Vanadzor and Shiragamout, assisting at Vacation Bible School for children and children with special needs in Vanadzor, making jam (Mourabba) for Shogh Center’s kids in Vanadzor and working with children at AMAA’s Sheen Shoghig Camp in Hankavan.

Fifteen interns from eight countries bonded with each other very quickly and very well, as one family, and each day actively participated in the program and praised God for witnessing AMAA’s and ECA’s ministries for the children, youth, adult, elderly and needy of Armenia.

Interns toured significant AMAA ministries such as AMAA’s Avedisian School and the Shogh Day Centers. They met with local church pastors and congregations supported by the AMAA through the network of the Evangelical Church of Armenia (ECA). They had the opportunity to spend two days working alongside leaders at AMAA’s Sheen Shoghig Camp in Hankavan. They spent five days doing mission projects in Shriagamout and Vanadzor and they also visited cultural sites to discover their rich, Armenian cultural roots.

We would like to commend the interns for having the vision and implementing it through mission and, with their own money, sponsoring a child at Shogh Day Center in Vanadzor.

Also, we would like to commend the interns for sharing their pictures and writing their thoughts, reflections and daily activities and ministries on AMAA’s Intern’s Blog page at https://amaainterns.wordpress.com/

The following are excerpts from the interns’ experiences.

For me the Internship was such a great experience. I was able to meet new people and become closer with them. I loved the time spent with the kids at Sheen Shoghig Camp in Hankavan. I also liked visiting with the people and to put a smile on their faces just by talking to them. Overall, I learned I should be grateful for what I have and not complain, because there are a lot of people who are happy with what they have even though it’s not much. I want to thank all who prepared this Internship Program for us. It was an incredible experience, and I think everyone should experience this amazing trip and learn new things like I did. Thank you for everything.

Sarin Tashjian

During the Internship, I was so impressed by what AMAA ministries accomplish in Armenia, as well as by how the churches, against all odds, strive to serve the Lord using every resource no matter how small. I learned that unity is surely power, especially when it comes to prayer. A good team will always lead to great work and hence to great friendships and this is exactly what happened. I pray that God may strengthen us for further missions. We are called to feed His sparrows!

George Al Sahili

Over the two weeks, we witnessed both the tourist version of Armenia and the real cities of Armenia. I saw how terrible the living conditions were for many people and how happy and joyful these people were knowing that God is there with them. This trip also made me realize how fortunate I am to be born and raised and to live in Canada. It allowed me to reflect and be grateful for everything that I have, and it showed me what a big difference we can make. I learned about the different AMAA services. They support many churches, schools, and childcare centers. They also provide a lot of support for families who cannot support their children in a safe home. It was an experience that I’ve never had before, and I am already recommending this trip to others so they can experience what I have seen.

Avedis Zeitounilian

The Internship was truly enriching and life-giving. The balance between sightseeing, socializing and serving was excellent. I left the internship with a sense of fulfillment, being blessed spiritually and relationally. Three things I’ve learned. One, that I have a true family in Christ in my Evangelical Church in Armenia. Two, how proud we should all be of our Armenian Evangelical legacy and heritage. Three, how glad I was to see the good work done by the AMAA in Armenia. I am looking forward to seeing how I can be a part of that.

Vahé Jebejian

I participated in the AMAA Summer Internship 2019 for two main reasons: first to see my Homeland, and second to serve God in my Homeland. As a first-time visitor of Armenia, I had mixed emotions. I was amazed by the beauty and modernity of Yerevan and heartbroken by the plate houses of Shiragamout. But if you ask me if I would ever visit Armenia again, I sure would. The best thing about Armenia is the people. Their kindness, generosity, hospitality and faith are unmatched by any other nation. In our short two weeks of living and communicating with the people of Armenia, I learned a lot about how to be a better version of myself and invite others to be better by serving God through the people and strengthening my faith. I miss every single intern already and hope to reunite with them again in our Homeland. I’m forever grateful for this opportunity.

James Bederian

I had an amazing experience during AMAA Summer Internship 2019. We had the chance to visit some of AMAA offices/centers and churches in Armenia. And I’ve learned so many lessons during the Internship, that no matter what our situation in life, our faith and hope gets stronger by believing in God, because He will be with us every time we need Him. As for my impression? What we saw outside of Yerevan, for me it’s the reality, what we saw in Yerevan for me it’s a fake city.  

Jack Mousa Oghli 

The AMAA Summer Internship 2019 was a well-planned mission project. It was strategically designed to begin the trip by touring the beautiful areas of Armenia, display Armenia’s reality through missionary work in the middle, and end with a fun cultural education. Whether we had a tour guide or not, Rev. Megerditchian and Dr. Alina always prepared us by giving a little history lesson on where we were and why we were visiting. We learned about the Word of God and how it applies to us each day during our daily devotions, about local foods, the songs and dances, and the prayers sung throughout the trip. We learned how much the AMAA is doing for the Armenian people through educational, evangelical and humanitarian programs.  No matter what family we visited during our missionary work, even in the poorest conditions of the real Armenia, God showed each of us lessons; lessons to complain less, to never take life and God for granted, to always put a smile on because there is much to still be grateful for, to work as a team, and to be giving. There is much that needs to be done now that we have learned our lessons and as we do our best to help our brothers and sisters in Armenia, we need to be disciples and teach those around us what we have learned through the AMAA Summer Internship 2019.

Christine Kutlu

Since I came to the Armenian Evangelical Church in Buenos Aires, every day I dreamed to see Armenia with my own eyes. And now, after 15 years, I can say this dream has come true. When I heard about the AMAA internship, I said “yes!” after praying and finding God’s will. For years I read a lot about Armenia, its culture and habits, learned about its language and unique alphabet, its music, and I fell in love with all these. And when I arrived in Armenia all that was true! But it’s not only that…In Armenia there are cities devastated by earthquake, families living in ‘caravans’, people without jobs, without water or food, children with divorced or absent parents, or helpless elders. And that part of Armenia I didn’t find in articles, touristic books or newspapers. It’s the same country but seems to be not important to show to the world. I give thanks for enjoying the amazing and ancient culture of Armenia and at the same time to share and spend time with those who need company, a piece of bread, or even a smile. During these weeks we learned a lot of things, but overall that no matter the situations we are going through we must know that God is always present. If we have something to share with others, let’s not keep it to ourselves. God blessed us, and we must be a blessing for those who in need.

Mariano Gongora

When I first arrived in Armenia for AMAA’s Internship, I was nervous for who I would be spending my time with and if I would enjoy my time serving in Armenia. I quickly became close friends with everyone in the group and knew that our time spent serving the Lord together would be fruitful. Seeing the condition of people’s lives, and what work the AMAA does, I was really affected and wanted to do more for these people when I returned home. I enjoyed spending time with needy children and families, especially knowing that I was helping and making them happy. I came back from our Internship learning so much about myself, life in Armenia, and the work of the AMAA.  I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to come on this mission’s trip, made new life- long friends and learned so much.  

Talar Sarmazian 

I’m very thankful to God for giving me this special opportunity to visit Armenia and serve the Lord through various missions and activities. I’m also glad to meet new friends from different countries and feel like a family. In this internship I learned to always be thankful to God for what I have. I also learned to be a humble, loving and caring person. AMAA’s ministries and this year’s Internship will always be in my memory and I will practice what I learned in my daily life.

Zarmig Tashjian

The two fruitful weeks of this year’s AMAA Summer Internship in Armenia were one of the best two weeks of my life. I saw and learned many things about myself, my Homeland, culture and people. Before the trip I knew very little about life in Armenia. I never thought that there are people who live in very bad conditions and are in need of help. I am very thankful that the AMAA gave me this opportunity to participate in this trip. I never knew how much they do for these people. This trip inspired me to be a better person and always be grateful of what I have. The Armenian people showed me what it is like to have God’s love. In their very sad living conditions, they were very thankful and happy praising God continuously and that amazed me, also inspired me to be like them. I feel very blessed and thankful to be part of a culture that puts God first in everything. It is truly amazing to know that an organization like this exists because it makes me think that there are still people in this world that do good.

Serly Purzekian

During the Internship in Armenia, I was very happy for our successful mission. I visited a lot of families that were very nice and welcoming despite their problems and their situation. It was a wonderful experience that I was able to share my testimony with them, talk about God and His love for us and have prayer time together. I’m glad that I met and spent time with the kids. They were surprisingly very joyful meeting us and very respectful to us. During the two weeks, I learned that we can be happy at all costs even in very bad situations. This Internship was amazing for me, I met a lot of people, and I made new friends and had the opportunity to visit my Homeland Armenia. I want to thank the AMAA for everything they did for us and for every single project they have to help our people. I also want to thank Rev. Serop Megerditchian and Dr. Alina for leading this Internship.

Hovig Bardakjian

AMAA Summer Internship 2019 was a very good experience to see the love of God by serving and helping as one body in Christ. I learned what the AMAA is doing in Armenia. We visited Shoghig Camp in Hankavan where the leaders were committed to teach the kids the Word of God by doing several Bible lessons. We also visited houses that the families were less fortunate, but they blessed us with the joy in their hearts and the faith that they had toward God that He is the eternal life. I learned to not take God and life for granted. Many thanks for this opportunity.

Alicia Minasian

I am grateful I had the opportunity to be part of the AMAA Summer Internship 2019. These two weeks were two of the best and amazing weeks of my life. I learned many new things about my Homeland Armenia, people and their lifestyle. In Vanadzor and Shiragamout I was very surprised to see the way people live and how they struggle. But after seeing their situation I learned that I should always be grateful of what I have and never complain because some people don’t have a quarter of what I have. I was so inspired by these families’ strong faith in God even though they were not living in a great place.  I want to thank the AMAA for this trip and for giving us the opportunity to see Armenia and for the work they do because it’s truly amazing and unbelievable.

Karni Purzekian

The success of the AMAA Summer Internship relies heavily on the support, prayer, help and insight from the leadership at the AMAA Offices both in Paramus, New Jersey and Armenia. Special thanks go to AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, AMAA-Armenia Representative Harout Nercessian, Senior Pastor Evangelical Church of Armenia Rev. Mgrditch Melkonian, Associate Pastor of Evangelical Church of Armenia in Yerevan Rev. Hovhannes Hovsepyan, AMAA-Yerevan Headquarters Office Administrator Anna Ohanyan, Vanadzor AMAA Office Manager Janna Danielyan and AMAA’s PR/Communication’s Coordinator Louisa Janbazian for their continued willingness to make this program thrive for the benefit of our young Armenians all over the Diaspora.

In conclusion, let’s continue our prayers that the good seeds planted in our interns’ lives, by God’s grace, may grow and bear fruits of lifelong “Vision for Mission.” May God continue to bless the AMAA and the Armenian Evangelical Church for His glory.

* Rev. Serop Megerditchian is the Senior Pastor of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church of Pasadena, CA..

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