Merdinian School Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Construction

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Rev. Dr. Ron Tovmassian, Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, Rev. Berdj Djambazian, Albert Bezjian, Dr. Vahe Nalbandian and Terry Bezjian

The C & E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School held a groundbreaking ceremony at 4:00 p.m., on July 8th, to launch construction of the new Bezjian Family Building at its Sherman Oaks campus. This state-of-the-art 6,840 square foot structure replaces the old administration building. It features a library, science laboratory, art room, several classrooms and other facilities to serve the ongoing needs of the school’s growing student population.

The project was made possible through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Albert and Terry Bezjian of Los Angeles, founders of Indo-European Foods of Glendale, who donated one million dollars to the C & E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School of Sherman Oaks, California for this purpose.

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Architectural Rendering of New Building

The ceremony began with opening remarks by Dr. Vahe Nalbandian, Chairman of the Board of Directors, who wholeheartedly thanked Mr. & Mrs. Albert and Terry Bezjian for their support. Rev. Berdj Djambazian, the newly appointed Minister to the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America (AEUNA), prayed for the Lord’s blessing for the project. Dr. Nazareth Darakjian, President of the Armenian Missionary Association of America, Inc. (AMAA), delivered an inspiring message about the importance of an Armenian Evangelical education and quoted from the book of Psalms that “Unless the Lord builds the house, in vain work the builders”. The ceremony concluded with a prayer by Rev. Ron Tovmassian, Moderator of the AEUNA, after which the attendees gathered in the Aram and Anahis D. Boolghoorjian Hall of the School for an informal reception to celebrate the event.

The Board of Directors and Administration of the school are extremely grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Albert Bezjian for this most generous gift. A donation of this magnitude is a testimony to the benefactors’ confidence in the bright future of the School.


Merdinian School Board and Committee Members and Guests at Ground Breaking Ceremony

“Congratulations on this milestone ground breaking. May the school prosper, expand and may its mission touch many, many lives leading graduates to become exemplary citizens irrigating the furrows of humanity, mankind and the nation. May their Christian faith glow and illuminate their surrounding and their exemplary  love, dedication and faithfulness to their roots bountifully contribute to civilization.God bless the Bezjians and all those who contributed to this historic expansion of the school.  Zaven Khanjian, AMAA Executive Director/CEO”

AMAA Summer Internship – July 2015 – Last Sunday in Yerevan

Sunday July 20, 2015
By George Megerditchian
During our second Sunday and the last one in Armenia, we attended the worship service in Harav Arevmdyan Taghamas (suburb in capitol Yerevan) church.


Visiting Avedisian School in Yerevan.

The service started with songs that were sang by the worship team which was consisted of their youth group.
One of the members even left the camp (Hankavan) and came to play the keyboard with the group and participate in the worship service. When I heard that she came only to attend the service and help the choir, I was amazed and touched by her dedication to her church – traveling two hours from the campsite and joining the group to sing and praise the Lord.

After that Eliz talked about what she had experienced of God’s work in Armenia, and Nayiri shared her testimony about how she was in trouble and with Jesus Christ she faced it and conquered the pain that she was going through.

Then, Badveli gave a brief introduction about the internship and its mission in Armenia, which was followed by his sermon based on 1 Samuel chapter 17.


Visiting Evangelical Church of Armenia in Artashat.

The sermon talked about the five stones that David chose to fight Goliath which are the five principles of David by which he conquered Goliath.

The 1st stone was that he didn’t listen to Saul who proclaimed that he can’t face Goliath.

The 2nd was that he remembered that God had been with him when he was in need.

The 3rd one was that he had a special weapon which was the sling. He refused to wear a bronze helmet and a coat of armor because he wanted to use his talent (the sling) for God.

The 4th principle was when David went to the valley to collect the stones because in the depth the stones would be sharper than the ones on the hill.
The 5th one was that he came to face Goliath in the name of the Lord Almighty.

After the service, an old lady told us to continue spreading the word of Jesus when we go back to our homes.

After getting some rest and having fellowship with the group, we shared the day which was very emotional to me because it was my last one – so I shared my thoughts and amazing moments that I had with this amazing group.

In this internship I came in the name of Jesus Christ with weapons fully loaded to fire them by serving His people wherever and whenever needed.
“I Can Do All Things through Christ Who Strengthens Me”. Philippians 4:13
In Christ
George Megerditchian
Aleppo, Syria

AMAA Summer Internship – July 2015 – Last Day


At the AMAA Headquarters in Yerevan.


By: Edward Arabian

On the last day of our internship here in Armenia, what better way to start off the morning than to start hitting pots and pans together. The doors start opening, as the newly assembled marching band “The Bashar Brothers” are greeted with warmth and cheers…
I’m sorry did I say warmth and cheers, I meant to say threats and spears… (Bad joke) Still in the mist of this chaos, people still found the strength to capture/record the moment. We will all miss the days when the mornings we woke up to be in Armenia.

We are all so blessed to have each other. It felt like yesterday, as we all started to gather in New Jersey to meet each other for the first time. Some of us were skeptical at first, some of us were quiet and some of us were excited. Nevertheless with the power and love of God, He held us together from the beginning to the end. The Lord never left our sides.


Visiting a family in Nshavan.

Once the morning shenanigans ceased and everyone had finished eating breakfast, we made our way towards the last four homes on our agendas to visit. Sadly each person was only able to visit two homes at the cost of time, but regardless our efforts were not short lived. The first home as we arrive, we are greeted by excitement and happiness. A family of fou, consisting of a father, mother and two children, one girl and one boy. We entered their home, immediately we are offered a place to sit down. Even with the absence of space they had in their home, we were touched by the hospitality and joy that this family had given us.

As we arrive to the second home we immediately notice a change of morale compared to the first home. The circumstances in the second home were the complete opposite to the first. The family living in the home was owned by the grandmother downstairs. In return for living in her home above, the family provides care and nourishment for the grandmother to live. The family consists of a father who is very discouraged about the state of his family. He is unable to work and provide for his family, a caring mother and two daughters. One of which just recently came back from the hospital from a bone infection. Throughout the entire stay emotions filled the room as we heard their story and witnessed their living conditions. As Badveli started his prayer for the family, not one of us could hold back our tears any longer. “Blessed are the poor in sprit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3

Driving away from the homes are always the worst. We leave in pain, asking how this could be. We have so much as they have so little.

Ours sprits are lifted as we meet up with the rest of the group at Madenataran Museum. We comfort each other as we explain the situations of the families as we follow in prayer for them. Unfortunately the Madenataran Museum ended up being closed, which didn’t stop us from taking full advantage of the statues and monuments in the area. We took a group photo and we were on our way. Lunch was eaten at a little restaurant that was well known by Badveli Vatché. Aleppy Gasher had multiple mouth-watering Armenian dishes on their menu, as we expected nothing less from a choice coming from Badveli. There was manteh, sarma, boereg, kuhfteh and much more. We left Aleppy Gasher full and thinking of home.

Our next stop was Etchmiadzin. As we entered into the courtyard, we noticed the abundance of land. The courtyard was filled with flowers and pathways leading to each structure. Schools, gift shops, sleeping courters, and the Cathedral. We make our way to the Cathedtral and enter inside, candles lit from left to right shining and shimmering from the absence of light inside.

The fellowship and love that we have experienced during this trip is unlike we have ever seen or felt. There was everything from happy moments to sad moments in every corner. God did not simply create us to sit at home in comfort with our faith. Our faith is for us to embrace and share with others so that they may also know the comfort and love that God provides.

On a closing note, on behalf of all the participants of this year’s 2015 AMAA Internship Group, I would like to thank the AMAA for giving us the opportunity and sending us out back to our homeland Armenia. The leaders, Badveli Vatché, Eliz Hovsepian, Darren Getzoyan, and Nayiri Papazian for being such wonderful examples of soldiers who take their faith beyond their comforts. We are Gods army, and He is with us wherever we go.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

In Christ,
Edward Arabian, 19
July 23, 2015
Toronto, Ontario

Uniting Church in Australia Recognizes the Armenian Genocide

Krikor at UCA2

Stuart McMillan, President of Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) and Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, the Chairperson of Sydney North Presbytery of UCA

The AMAA applauds the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Uniting Church in Australia, a noble act that follows the adoption of the Genocide resolution by the United Church of Christ’s General Synod in the United States in early July.  We also commend and applaud Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian’s efforts in this respect.  These credible and most revered acknowledgements for the crime committed will advance the cause of Truth and Justice, forward.
Zaven Khanjian
AMAA Executive Director/CEO
Sydney, NSW – The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) has formally acknowledged that the Armenian massacres and forced deportations constitute a Genocide. The UCA is the third denomination at a national level to acknowledge the Genocide that took place 100 years ago.

The UCA that came into being on June 22, 1977, after three denominations – Congregational Union in Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australia joined together – is the third largest Christian denomination in Australia and the first church to be created in and of Australia. At present a total of 2,500 congregations worship at a Uniting Church, including many congregations that worship in languages other than English.

This year the 14th Triennial Assembly was held on July 12-18 in the Winthrop Hall University of Western Australia in Perth, where 300 members of the UCA elected by Synods and Presbyteries across the country met.

The Armenian Evangelical Uniting Church of Sydney, located in Willoughby NSW is the only Armenia n congregation that is part of the Sydney North Presbytery of the Uniting Church NSW and ACT Synod.

Rev. Dr. Chris walker, the National Consultant for Christian Unity and Worship, together with Mr. Levon Kardashian and the Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, the previous minister of the Armenian Evangelical Uniting Church of Sydney and currently the minister of the St. Andrew’s Uniting Church of Longueville and the Chairperson of Sydney North Presbytery, prepared a proposal ( seeking the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Uniting Church in Australia.

The proposal was moved by Rev. Dr. Walker on behalf of the Christian Unity working group and seconded by Rev. Dr. Avril Hannah-Jones. Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian made a brief speech capturing the attention of all present. “In the years of 1915-1918, the Armenian people were under the grip of annihilation and the brutal plans of genocide – but our gracious and loving God saved this first Christian nation from being wiped out,” said Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian. He also mentioned that many countries and many communities in Australia had been involved in providing support, relief, food, and safe places for the Armenian people to live.

“By accepting this proposal the assembly will keep the story of the first Christian nation alive,” he said, giving thanks to the many Uniting Church congregations who had held liturgies to commemorate the Genocide.
Rev. Dr. Chris Walker, National Consultant for Christian Unity Doctrine and Worship, told the Assembly that it was deeply fitting for the Uniting Church to make this acknowledgement as the Armenian people mark the 100 year anniversary of the Genocide. He also acknowledged that both the World Christian Council and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) had made statements acknowledging the massacres that took place and the suffering of the Armenian community. “Accepting this proposal would be an act of ecumenical solidarity with the Armenian people who have suffered so much and continue to do so” he said.

After the proposal was unanimously adopted (, the President of the Assembly, Mr. Stuart McMillan, made a brief comment and asked all to stand for a minute of silence in commemoration of more the 1.5 million Armenians, who were the victims of the Genocide planed and implemented by the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. By the request of Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian a prayer was offered by the NSW Moderator Rev. Dr. Myung Hwa Park, both sung and spoken in Korean and English.

The 14th Assembly has also agreed to:
• Commend the NSW and SA governments in acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and encourage the Federal and other state governments to do the same
• Affirm the value of recognizing a date on or near the anniversary of the Armenian genocide, as a day of observance and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
• Request the National Consultant Christian Unity, Doctrine and Worship to prepare
(a) A prayer to be provided for all congregations of the UCA for use on the day; and
(b) In consultation with others, educational and liturgical resources for congregations to use.

On behalf of the Armenian community of Australia and the blessings of the Bishop Haigazoune Najarian, the Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Australia and New Zealand, we express our appreciation and gratitude to the Uniting Church in Australia for passing such an important resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.


Krikor at UCA

Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian addressing the 14th Triennial Assembly of UCA

President and members of the Assembly. Brothers and sisters in Christ.

Տէր Յիսուս Քրիստոսի շնորհքը, Հօր Աստուծոյ սէրը եւ Սուրբ Հոգիին հաղորդութիւնը ձեր բոլորին հետ ըլլայ։
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

I feel honored and privileged to be here and address the Assembly on behalf of the Armenian Community, as well as the Armenian members of the Uniting Church in Australia. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and I am happy that many Uniting Church congregations, especially in the Synod of NSW, and many other denominations responded to our request and used the circulated Liturgy prepared on this solemn occasion and included it in their church service orders. Thanks for all.

Between 1915 and 1918 the Armenian nation was on the brinks of annihilation due to the implementation of brutal genocidal plans by the Ottoman Turkish Government. But our gracious and loving God saved this first Christian nation from being wiped out from the face of the earth. Among other means of survival, God moved the conscience of hospitable Middle Eastern and charitable Western nations to help and support a devastated nation. At the time 52 countries worked together to support the suffering Armenian nation. As a result in 1918 Relief Committees had been founded in many of the Australian major cities, such as Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Tasmania. To give a few examples:
Joynten Smith, mayor of Sydney, with Sydney’s prominent businessmen, clergy and political leaders adopted the following resolution: I quote: “A fund to be established in New South Wales in order to help relieve the terrible distress of the surviving Armenian Christians who have been almost exterminated by Turks and who are, as a result, deported from their homes, are homeless, starving and perishing”.

Later in 1922 the many different committees were centralized into the Armenian Relief Fund of Australasia, having its headquarters in Adelaide.

In the same year W.P. McElhone, Mayor of Sydney, made an appeal in town hall stating: I quote: “May I venture to bring to your urgent and kindly consideration the special call of need which comes to us from the land in which Christianity had its birth, Armenia. An international effort is being made to save this nation. We wish to send a ship from Australia to Armenia.”

As a result, 4000 tons of food, clothing were collected and sent to the Middle East and Armenia, with many Australians accompanying the cargo. Also an orphanage was established in Antelias, Lebanon, now the Holy Seat of Cilicia, called the Australasian Orphanage, where 1700 orphans were fully supported and educated by Australians.

As the son of a survivor I am and will remain twice grateful to this great country Australia and to the great Australian nation. Thank you all and thank you Australia.

I would like to inform you that the United Church of Christ USA during its General Synod held on June 26-30, 2015 adopted unanimously a resolution to affirm and recognize the Armenian Genocide as the Presbyterian Church USA did in 2014.
By adopting the proposed resolution, the Uniting Church will be the third denomination on national level recognizing the Armenian Genocide along with Pope Francis, who during a special mass marking the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide held in Rome in April 2015, recognized on behalf of the world wide Catholic Church.

By voting in the affirmative to the proposal today, we as the Assembly will keep the story alive, our story, and the story of the first Christian nation.

I ask you, the Assembly, that this resolution be adopted and at the very least create an incentive and impetus for meaningful action toward a just resolution of this unhealed wound of 100 years. Thank you.

Mr. President, I have a request that if the proposal is approved and the resolution adopted, Rev. Dr. Myung Hwa Park, the Moderator of the NSW and ACT Synod offers a special prayer on this solemn occasion.

Thank you.

Remembering December 7, 1988

By Candice Nahigianinternsatalphabet

The Joy of this country lies in crooked smiles, passionate eyes and tan, wrought skin.

Our bus is many things: a place of worship, a place to sleep on our drives to rural regions, a cafeteria, even a time machine. As we exit Yerevan once again, we see the buildings go from tall and modern to older and shorter. The roads narrow and more hills come into view. We are fully immersed in the countryside now as we stop at the famous Mesrob Mashdots dedication for a photo opportunity with our initials in the Armenian alphabet. As we pose with our letters–several individuals are smiling next to “ayp”–Ari catches a small fish in a nearby pond with a piece of fishing line, a bobber and a hook that he brought specifically for brief moments like this. We climb back onto our rolling travel wagon until we reach Abaran which houses the most amazing supermarket and bakery. Our cameras click as we watch the workers cut fresh dough into round shapes and dive into a “Toner” oven, placing them to bake. Some of us buy “hats” larger than two of our faces. Like true Armenians, we get excited by the bargain–200 tram or 50 cents in American currency. As we step back on the bus we pass around our warm, fresh bread then doze off before reaching the Evangelical church in Vanatzor. Here we are greeted again by hospitable individuals who provide another spread of food, enough to feed 50 grown men. Here, eating is somewhat of a daunting but delicious task; many of us have realized that any pound gained on this trip is well earned. In every corner of this land, we are connected to individuals we meet in three major ways: mutual loves of Christ, food and futbol. It’s no surprise the boys and a few of our girls join the church youth in a competitive game in the gymnasium, after we eat. After some time, we take another group photo to add to our collection and hop back on the bus.
We’ve now left to visit another Evangelical church in Shiragamud and some families of this small village.
Step off the bus. Breathe deep. Do you smell it? Manure. Walk a little further and Anthony points out chickens running between cottages. Hear water flowing in a small canal to your right only to be interrupted by a cow singing a song. This place lacks the luxuries of city-life but that makes it all the more beautiful.
It wasn’t always like this though. We pass a cemetery and Badveli points out grave markers for young children. We then wake up to December 7, 1988, and the earth shakes. We tip-toe around the dirt, careful not to step in cattle “leftovers” or trip over stones. The flowers and farmed plants are in full bloom. Today the sun shines and there is a cool breeze, but imagine this day in harsh December. Tread along this road in harsh snowy conditions. Watch your step as you navigate through crumbled homes looking for loved ones.
This village is still recovering from the earthquake devastation from 27 years ago. Only three years ago did the government build houses to replace those that fell. We met with families who were living in temporary tin houses until two weeks ago when they could move into these homes. To see the church standing here, though, amongst some of the poorest living conditions is somewhat of a relief. Here the building stands just as God’s love stands firmly. Let the earth shake, God will not be moved.
The smiles are crooked because good dental care doesn’t exist in this region. We come across many with other health conditions. These eyes have witnessed destruction, injustice and loss. The skin is tanned and wrought from working in the small fields in order to provide food to eat. As we travel through this place in our monstrosity bus, people stop their activities and look to see the small commotion. We are outsiders, but our love is mutual. We grieve at the thoughts of December 1988, and still it unfair for these are just thoughts to us but a tangible past to others. Those children were not our children. But this history is our history also, and these people belong to the same Kingdom. We must tell their story for it is our story too.
Dear Lord, make this Joy, our Joy.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

In Christ,
July 18, 2015

AMAA Summer Internship – July 2015 – A Day in Yerevan

by Christian Manoukian

What a day today was. Although we visited the stunning site of Khor Virap, with the massive sight of Ararat looming as a sentinel in the distance, I’m going to choose to brush over all that.witharmavirchurch-1

Sure, it was great. And of course no one can argue that it was beautiful. But I want to talk about something far more significant and meaningful that happened to a group of us boys a little later on in the day.

A group of five of us were heading back to AMAA headquarters after all purchasing Armenia National Team soccer jerseys (a right of passage for every Armenian teenage male who visits the country). We had just hailed an infamous Yerevan taxi to take us back, and after stuffing four people into a 3-person backseat, we headed home.

As the ride progressed, our driver inquired the usual things people ask when there is a group of people all wearing matching tee shirts in their taxi speaking English. Where are we from? What do we do? How do we like Armenia? We answered all his questions in due time, but as we were driving along, we happened to see Badveli Vatche himself sitting on a park bench outside the public square. At that exact same moment, the taxi driver was explaining that the work situation in Armenia wasn’t even as close to as bad as people made it seem. Everyone could find work and joyfully support their family, he claimed. Only lazy people who sat around wasting their time claimed that there was no work to be found. As he said so, he motioned toward a certain person on a certain park bench who was apparently “wasting their time.” That person just so happened to be the Badveli. The whole car burst into hysterical, perhaps nervous laughter. “That’s my dad!” Ari exclaimed with the rest of us. Immediately, the taxi driver changed his story, insisting Ari’s dad had not been the target of his accusations, but the damage had already been done.

Looking past the humor and irony of the situation, this man’s words struck a deeper chord within me. I am a firm believer in hard work bearing good fruit, and what this man said echoed my own beliefs. Not only did it echo my own beliefs, but that of Christ’s. We believe in working diligently to further the kingdom of God, no matter our situation or the situation of those we serve. Those who sit around, pretending to serve, but in reality not doing anything to further God’s kingdom, are the ones griping and complaining that Christianity is losing followers and that our religion is failing. Those who truly work hard see so much growth and beauty in Christianity. As we have toured the villages, meeting many people in terrible situations, I have noticed one thing above all else: these people are so content and happy with their lot in life. They gladly welcomed us into their homes, gave us food and drink we did not deserve to take from them, and made us feel like family. As we all worked hard to spread the gospel to them, we saw God’s love and grace flowing through them. How encouraging it was to see these people smiling, laughing, and praying with us.

This is a reminder that our spiritual world and well-being is what you make of it. As the taxi driver told us, if you work hard, you will grow and serve more and in turn impact people in ways you never thought you could. If you don’t, you become stuck in mediocrity and cease doing anything positive for Christ. From my experience, I humbly suggest that we all choose the first.

In Christ,
Christian Manoukian, 18
Monrovia, California

AMAA Summer Internship – July 2015 – Day 6

Day 6 DSC_0075
By Anna Shanazarian
Looking back at our day, we were all in awe of God’s constant work and presence within our group and throughout the events in the day. We started the day with the utmost excitement but also feeling unsure about what to expect. We were all ready to finally go to Hankavan and be surrounded by over a 150 kids at camp Shoghik. Before our final destination however, we visited a couple different places and experienced some more of God’s blessings.
We had the opportunity to visit Dalma Mall, experience the beauty of God’s creation at Tzakhkadzor, and also have a true taste of Armenia by having some sweet Armenian road-side watermelons. During these stops we had a wonderful fellowship with the group, as we grew even closer and more united. We cheered each other on, helped and encouraged one another during a game of bowling, or reached out and were there to help one another if anything went wrong in the bus or out in the nature, and even more importantly, came together at different times during the day to pray for one another and for God’s will to be done at camp. It definitely felt like the group was in the right spirit and ready to go to camp! DSC_0673

As we got closer to camp we all felt more and more excited. It felt like home! Even the entrance of the camp site was a reminder of our own Camp Arev most of us grew up going to. As the bus was driving through the road, kids started to run towards us, interested to see who we were and what we were doing there. From the first second we received warm welcomes from all the kids and the camp directors. All the girls were so hospitable and as soon as they heard that some of DSC_0748us will be staying in their room, they held on to our hands and with the biggest smiles led us to our room making sure we had everything we needed and offering to help set up our beds and other belongings.

Not long after we arrived, every one of our group members quickly befriended the kids and started playing different games like soccer, Ninja, and of course doing tricks on the monkey bars.DSC_0720

We were so excited to be there. By the end of the day we had already learned so much! The program was very well prepared and organized, the counselors were enthusiastic and showed love to the kids as if they were their own, but more than anything we were touched by the utmost enthusiasm and genuine joy everyone had during worship. We had never seen a group of kids sing so loudly and beautifully, and to know that those songs were being sung for Jesus, especially at a time period where majority of the people do not know Christ, truly warmed our hearts.

This day, these kids, and the unity and love in our own group has left an everlasting impact on all of us, reminding us of the joy and peace we can have by trusting the Lord, loving Him and living our lives for Him.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23 ESV)

Anna Shanazarian