We (too) Shall Overcome!

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 4:4

By Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO

They were all good. Magnificent, perhaps. Be they the messengers: African American Freedom Seekers, the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King or Lyndon Johnson or the many interpreters: Joan Baez, Mahalia Jackson, Diana Ross or Louis Armstrong. They were many and they were all good. Their struggle was universal. It could well be ours too. But those were different times and different voices. Today, the struggle is ours, the grounds universal and WE TOO SHALL OVERCOME!

The pinnacle of the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide is behind us now. We worked hard and we can confidently claim a degree of reward and victory. It raised our national struggle to an unprecedented plateau of universal awareness, respect and recognition that was worthy of the cause and powerful in its impact. The inevitable and hard question to ask today is – what next? The path is still very long and thorny, the obstacles and hindrances, many. But the collective will and determination is in place and our resolute faith in our just struggle is unshakable. God is the foundation of our quest for justice and the recognition of the truth. We need not sit idle in acquiescence. The struggle continues. WE SHALL OVERCOME!

Amid the elation from the global Centennial of the Armenian Genocide commemorative events, we are warned not to fall into euphoria. The national tragedy, the blindness toward which anguishes me, is our denial of the nation’s Achilles’ Heel, the Syrian Armenian catastrophe. The most serious national crisis the Armenian Diaspora has ever experienced since the Genocide a century ago is a footnote in our existential reality today. Unable to comprehend the plan (and admittedly unable to change course) and its approaching consequence, we are about to lose the most firmly anchored foundation of our Diaspora existence, the closest to a lost Fatherland and an ever flowing spring of cultural, spiritual and national leadership to the Diaspora.

Western powers not only have been ‘weak reeds’ in the protection of Christians in the Middle East, as some suggest, but have forged alliances that today are destructive to the Christians of the Middle East and tomorrow will regrettably fire back. None of the above has deterred the AMAA in its quest to sustain the Armenian community in Syria, move as many people as possible away from the danger zone and support the refugees in the perimeter of the crisis zone. Recurring persecution and misfortune in history has forged us to be ironclad survivors, a resilient nation that has learned to rise up from the ashes like the phoenix and survive. WE SHALL OVERCOME!

Despite the historically critical junctions that the nation is passing through and the unavoidably serious challenges it represents, the mission of the AMAA is in constant rotation and in full swing.

It is graduation season and a bountiful number of youth in our 23 esteemed educational institutions around the globe, having ended another year in excelling educational, spiritual and cultural settings, look for a bright future in smiling faces and hopeful outlooks.

Summer is upon us and I can hear the joyful giggle of our youth in our Sheen-Shoghig and Bedrosian summer camps in Armenia and Karabagh, at KCHAG in Lebanon, in La Source in France, and at Camp Arev and Camp Arevelk on both coasts of the continental United States. More children are introduced to the love of Christ and the word of God and experience spiritual growth at our summer camps than at any other youth gathering.

Our church and Sunday school doors are always open, where the faithful congregate in our houses of God to worship the Creator with humility, reverence and gratitude for the blessings of life and the promise of salvation.

And more places of worship are being erected. The new House of Worship in Dilijan is set to be completed in the fall of 2015 and ground breaking is in the horizon for a new Church and Community Center in Gyumri, the second largest city in Armenia and historically a monumental cultural center (more in the next AMAA News).

The heartbeat of our Day Centers loudly echoes and our kindergartens gleefully thrive. The Milk Fund pumps vital nutritional supplements to needy Armenian infants and the ever expanding Armenia Medical Mission is geared to head on yet another astonishing journey to Armenia. Our year round Child Sponsorship programs make a difference in lives, our educational scholarships set youth on the right course of life creating success opportunities and our annual internship program rewards our youth with life and career experience.

Our programs are countless and projects are many. God remains the foundation of our mission and whether it’s a program or capital budget, your gifts and donations are the fuel that puts our mission in motion. We stand ready to leap forward.

Challenges remain ahead. With the grace of God and your continued support, WE SHALL OVERCOME!

June 2015