All-Armenian Evangelical Youth Conference Day 9… August 10, 2018
Preparing a drama for the children attending Vacation Bible School in Berd
The day finally arrived for breaking up into 27 teams to go to 16 different places in Armenia to begin their days of service, which we are calling “mission projects.” They are actually an opportunity to be helping hands in a variety of places, and serve others as if serving the Lord.
After breakfast there was an air of expectation and enthusiasm as the youth happily dragged their suitcases out to the circle between the buildings. The vans arrived, little by little the suitcases were stuffed in them, then the young people gradually piled in, and one by one departed for their destinations. First-timer to Armenia, Chiraz Kassarjian (from Canada), who had to leave today, said, “This has been incredible. I wish I didn’t have to leave.”
Only two teams were left when rain began to fall in Hankavan. It got heavier, and heavier, and eventually created a moat around (and inside) the dining hall building. And didn’t stop. And turned into hail. But all the groups were on their way.
Meanwhile, photos and updates were arriving from these travelers: beautiful scenery, sleeping youth, interesting rest stops. But they jumped right into their service work. Already some teams are doing Vacation Bible School, some are involved in gardening, others are doing cleanouts, some are visiting and encouraging families the AMAA is assisting, while others are making fruit jam for fall children’s programs. One group even attended an open-air meeting with PM Nikol Pashinyan, and from the crowd, leader Nancy Kherlopian (from NY) told him that she and the whole group were praying for him, and for Armenia’s present and future.
Christine Maamarbashi, recently relocated to Europe, shared her thoughts:
“As an Armenian who lived in Lebanon, where the Armenian Evangelical church is very active, it was difficult moving to Germany, where I still haven’t met any other Armenian. So, when my sister and I arrived in Yerevan a feeling of happiness and security came over us; we were finally in our motherland! We had missed hearing the language, seeing the vibrant culture around us, and experiencing Armenian hospitality.
“Meeting the other youth here and spending time with them has also been a great blessing. I reconnected with many old friends and made a lot of new ones. We are all definitely very different, but there is also the thread that connects us all, which is being devoted Armenian Christians who want to be more active in our church and contribute to change.
“I am currently in Lori with two other youth, where we’re helping paint the stage and roof of the church here. I am very blessed to be here, and see how vast God’s reach is. I hope to go back to Germany inspired to do more of God’s work.”
– Rev. Nishan Bakalian