AMAA Internship Program 2016

Talar Haidostian

by Talar Haidostian
I had heard about the AMAA internship in the past few years, and knew how fun and beneficial it had been to the participants. And I personally witnessed the same this year. Christine Maamarbashi and I joined a group of young people who had come from different parts of the USA, and Canada. The two weeks that we had together were full of daily devotionals, sightseeing, fellowship, and ministry. We were also acquainted with the ministries of the AMAA and the ECA through visitations and seminars, which were very impressive and eye-opening.

One of the highlights of my trip was the 2 days that we spent in the Camp Sheen Shoghig in Hankavan. The setting of the camp was refreshing and the children’s smiles were contagious. They appreciated the simple gifts and were grateful for it. It was surprising and impressive to see how well the leaders had organized and prepared the programs for the kids, and how they were able to pass on the message of the love of Christ in a creative way. My favorite part of the camp was the time of worship, and I was happy to have the chance of leading one of the sessions with another member of our group. During our departure a bitter sweet moment was created, and none of us wanted to leave. The kids kept telling us to come again the next year, and some of the kids gave us small gifts; like sunglasses and crafts.

Another highlight of my trip was the time spent at the pastor’s garden in Armavir. This was a chance to celebrate the Armenian culture, and experience the Armenian hospitality through food, dance, and music.

This internship will leave a long term impact on my life as it came at a time when I was transitioning from high school to university, and I was ready to make the best of my summer time. I would like to thank the AMAA and the ECA for hosting us, and to Badveli Avedis Boynerian and the leaders for leading us in a smooth and caring way. This experience was unforgettable in which I made new friends, and grew one more step in my faith.

Worship time at camp Sheen Shoghig in Hankavan

Worship time at camp Sheen Shoghig in Hankavan

At the Musa Ler monument in Yerevan, Armenia

At the Musa Ler monument in Yerevan, Armenia

At the Armenian Genocide Monument

At the Armenian Genocide Monument

Photos courtesy of Nicholas Manoukian

My Personal Experience in AMAA Internship 2015

8 July 2015 was the marvellous day when 20 interns from all around the world (USA, Canada, Greece, Syria and Australia) gathered in Armenia, under the leadership of Rev. Vatche Ekmekjian, to participate in the Summer Internship Program that was organized by AMAA (Armenian Missionary Association Of America). Though we didn’t know it at the time, the following weeks would shape our hearts and lives permanently and help fix our sights on furthering God’s kingdom wherever we went.

The theme was “God’s Work in Our Hearts”. Every morning, we started our day with worship and devotion, both of which were very inspirational to me. We ended each worship session with prayer, praying that He would be with us throughout this mission to show us His creation and work around us and in our hearts. For certain designated days, we met with local pastors who graciously opened up their churches to us, even if they were as small as one room. Another day, we fellowshipped and worshipped with youth who shared the hard facts with us about the difficulties of living in Armenia and the emotional, spiritual, and economical challenges the youth there face. On the same day, we also met the Armenia Representative of the AMAA, Harout Nercessian, who detailed to us AMAA’s mission in Armenia and all the projects they currently fund or operate.

We were invited to visit several of AMAA’s many mission centers and witness how the AMAA was contributing to uplifting and building up the lives of many impoverished Armenian children. Among the sites we visited were the newly-built Avedissian School, Shogh daycare center and Camp Sheen Shoghig in Hankavan.

I know for a fact that our group was most moved and affected by our time spent up at camp in Hankavan. During our three days there, we participated in a wealth of different activities; from sitting in on the children’s morning devotionals to teaching them new worship songs to playing a game of soccer with them on the field. None of us will forget how heartbroken we were when, as we were driving away from camp in our bus, we saw all the children and leaders sorrowfully waving goodbye to us from the soccer field. We truly felt that God was there and that He revealed himself to us through the adoring eyes, the loving hands, and the tender hearts of the children there.

Not ones to be kept down after such an emotional experience, we joyfully continued our journey around Armenia. We visited several Armenian Evangelical churches all around Armenia, from Armavir in the south to Vanadzor in the north. We were royally treated to the traditional Armenian hospitality and kindness by the respective congregations, often being offered delicious five-course meals and refreshments. For those who didn’t speak Armenian coming into the trip, they certainly learned a new word after all that food: gshdatsah (I am full).

Also, we got the unique opportunity to meet with some very needy families and share the love of God with them. We raised over $400 total out of our own funds to donate to families in Dilijan, Shiragamut, and the suburbs of Yerevan. Seeing how little those families had, yet how happy and upbeat they were, we realized how much we take for granted. The visits really lifted our spirits and made us appreciate all that we have.

We attended two Sunday services; one at the Evangelical Church of Armenia, pastored by our local “guide” and dear friend Badveli Hovig Hovsepian, as well as the Harav Aremtyan Taghamas church, where we got the chance to praise the Lord with the congregation. The worship was beautiful both times and both services were punctuated by moving testimonies from Anna Shanazari and Eliz Hovsepian from Burbank, CA, and Nayiri Papazian from Montréal, QC, Canada. Badveli Vatche Ekmejian, our leader, also delivered two powerful sermons during that time.

The most amazing part for me was at the end of each night where we did something we liked to call “Share The Day.” We would gather around and each would share his/her experiences, insights and emotions about that particular day and give thanks to the Lord  for the wonderful time we had.

This was my third visit to Armenia, but this extraordinary trip was by far the best time I’ve ever spent there. 

I thank God for the wonderful experience that I had throughout this internship and for the brothers and sisters in Christ that I gained with whom I made unforgettable memories.

George Megerditchian

AMAA Addresses Turkish Leaders Requesting Intervention at CAMP ARMEN near Istanbul

AMAA Addresses Turkish Leaders
Requesting Intervention at CAMP ARMEN near Istanbul

Paramus, NJ ― In response to the recent news of the partial demolition of CAMP ARMEN in the Tuzla District near Istanbul, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) has written to the President, Prime Minister and the United States Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey asking for their intervention and support.
During the partial demolition of the Camp in early May, a group of Armenians from Turkey, including some of the former students of the Youth Home of Istanbul, who grew up in Camp Armen, rushed to the site and are keeping guard day and night, thus halting further demolition of the Camp.  Among those who went to the Camp was Rakel Dink, the widow of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink.
In the letters, Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO of the AMAA, asked that the Turkish leaders strongly consider an intervention and an immediate resolution to avoid further demolition of this historically significant and beloved Camp and to secure the return of the property to its rightful owners, the Armenian Evangelical Church of Gedik Pasa in Istanbul.
“We are imploring the help of the Turkish leaders in this matter,” said Mr. Khanjian.  “Camp Armen was home to over 1,500 Armenian orphans who were gathered from the depths of Anatolia and was where Hrant and Rakel Dink met, grew up and were married.  The Camp was a labor of love for the orphans and it became their ‘Atlantis’ civilization.  It is an important part of a very meaningful chapter in our Armenian history, and one which we do not want to lose. We pray that God will grant us all a peaceful resolution of this legal struggle.”
The AMAA calls upon other Armenian churches and organizations to raise their voices and send similar letters and requests to the leaders of the Turkish government.
Founded in 1918 in Worcester, MA, the Armenian Missionary Association of America serves the religious, educational and social needs of Armenian communities in 24 countries around the world.  AMAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For additional information, you may call AMAA at 201.265.2607 or visit the website at

Mark Brunet came to Armenia with charitable purposes driving a bicycle

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 1, ARMENPRESS: Mark Brunet is the name of the person, who came to Armenia with charitable purposes driving a bicycle from his motherland, passing territory of 6000 kilometers. Mark launched his biking tour on July 21 from his native town Valence.

The trip passed through more than ten countries: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and Georgia. From the very beginning of the trip Brunet traveled alone, without anybody’s assistance. He slept in a tent or in the houses of random people that he met on his way. On September 26 Brunet reached Ijevan, which is the sister town of Valence.

According to Armenpress, as was reported by Mark Brunet at the press conference on October 1, Armenia was a very valuable fact for him, but he hardly remembered when he had read or heard about Armenia for the first time.

“I did not even think about such reception and enthusiasm expressed by the Armenian people. There was already the idea of the preliminary motivation and interest and that was enough”, - said Mark Brunet.

Mark Brunet has a recording studio in France and he is an amateur sportsman as well. He initiated this trip not only as a sports fan. His objective is humanitarian. During his trip he collected means for the organizations “Hope for Armenia” of France and “Armenian Missionary Association of America”, which have worked together in Armenia for more than 20 years. The collected means will be allocated for the restoration of the heating system of “Arevik” kindergarten.

“What I have done is not a deed. I just turned the pedals of my bike. The real deed was made by the people, who provided those money. In total about USD 10,000 was collected”, - said Brunet. He did not forget to mention as well, that he was astonished by the nature and sightseeings of Armenia.

The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to the Republic of Armenia Henri Reynaud named the act of Mark Brunet a real deed and considered the implemented mission to be a connecting cycle between Valence and Yerevan. Mark Brunet will definitely return to Armenia with the purpose of new discoveries.


Worship Service for the Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide

On Tuesday, 24 April, the worship service for the commemoration of the 97-anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, took place in the Nor-Marash Armenian Evangelical Church.

Mr. Levon Filian, the Executive Director of AMAA, brought the message. Rev. H. Svajian led the worship, Badveli H. Cholakian read from the Bible, Rev. S. Kilaghbian recited the prayer, and Rev. M. Karagoezian gave the benediction.

The choir of the Nor-Marash Armenian Evangelical Church sang two hymns, accompanied by Mrs. Y. Kilaghbian, on the piano.

AMAA Elects New Board Members, President and Officer

In accordance with the appropriate policies and procedures, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) elected its new Board members, President and officers.

On October 15, 2011, at the Annual Meeting of the Association, held in Los Angeles, CA, the names of the following nine individuals were announced, who were elected by the general membership to serve on the Board of Directors as the Class of 2014: Bryan Bedrosian, Anita Buchakjian, Nazareth Darakjian, M.D., Robert Hekemian, Sr., Louis Kurkjian, Kenneth Kevorkian, Lori Muncherian, Harold Nahigian and Arsine Bedrosian Phillips, Esq. The new Board members were installed on Sunday, October 16, during the AMAA Annual Meeting Worship Service, which was held at the United Armenian Congregational Church of Los Angeles.

On December 3, the Board of Directors elected its officers and approved the Executive Committee as follows: Joseph Zeronian, Ed.D., President; Nazareth Darakjian, M.D. and Peter Kougasian, Esq., Vice Presidents; Thomas Momjian Esq., and Arsine Phillips, Esq., Secretaries; Nurhan Helvacian, Ph.D., Treasurer; Anita Buchakjian, Assistant Treasurer; Berjouhy Gulesserian, Advisor; Levon Filian, Executive Director; Albert Momjian, Esq., Solicitor; and Joyce Stein, Representative of the Stephen Philibosian Foundation.

The AMAA was founded in Worcester, MA in 1918 and incorporated in New York in 1920 with the purpose of strengthening and supporting the Armenian people in their Christian faith and to encourage religious education as well as literary and philanthropic work. Since its founding, the AMAA has expanded its programs of educational, evangelistic, relief, social services, church and child care ministries to 24 countries around the world.