An Interview with Sister Elisabeth Kaeser

Sister Elisabeth visiting the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church in November 2011

Sister Elisabeth visiting the Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church in November 2011

For many years Sister Elisabeth served the children at the Mission House of Anjar. With the recent release of the movie/documentary 'Map of Salvation', and with her presence during the launch of the movie in Beirut, we took this opportunity to get to better know Sister Elisabeth, one of the last missionaries, who served and lived among the Armenian children and in close connection with the Armenian Evangelical Church in Anjar. 

(Interview conducted by Raffi)

Raffi- Can you tell us about your own background, and how you decided to become a missionary in Anjar?
Sister Elisabeth- Born in Thun/Switzerland, I grew up with one brother and three sisters. Happy childhood (without iPhone or TV !!), but beautiful nature around. Elementary and secondary school in our town. Working years. Then 1 1/2 year in England. The following ten years in Germany. There I met Pastor Meergans and his wife from Hilfsbund Mission. Through the Workcamp 1980,  Anjar had a lasting place in my heart. Still, when asked to work in the Little Boys Building, God had to prepare body, soul and mind. It took three years.

Raffi- How many years did you work as a missionary in Anjar?
Sister Elisabeth- From 1983 - 2007  (First half in Little Boys' House, second in the Mission House)

Raffi- What are your best memories that you still cherish? Can you tell us some of your interesting stories?
Sister Elisabeth- Memories connected with the little boys: e.g. when in 1992 I was in AUB Hospital with Hepatitis and received drawings and little notes from the boys. Also, many people visiting me, and Mrs. Kardjian calling every evening wishing a good night. This is unforgettable! Or how boys cared for boys (see photo). Or how one of the boys was imitating teachers in the building. Then the other boys asked him to imitate sister; he looked at me and...... refused. Another boy came back from Christmas holiday and brought me a little present. When I opened, it contained a lipstick!!! Later I heard that he had asked his mother to buy one for me, for he said to her that sister hasn't got any. In the following time I used "rouge" at least on several Sundays. My turn for a chapel service one morning at church. From our neighbor I had asked  a lamb to illustrate the biblical story. You would seldom have a hushed audience like those children. And the little lamb gave only a sound when I carried it out of the church. 

Raffi- What was the most difficult aspect of the mission work in Lebanon and how were you able to overcome them?
Sister Elisabeth- Every new beginning is difficult. Anjar was more than  a challenge to me. The first school year (1983/84) has been a struggle with the work (children and adults), language, culture, 'home alone' after 9.00 p.m. with a bunch of smart, active boys, who, after the second study time were up to all sorts of mischief, knowing very well my language problem!!!

Raffi- How strong is your connection with Lebanon, Anjar and your children who have become young men today?
Sister Elisabeth- Still considerably strong with quite a number of the now young men. We share by e-mail, apps, or use the phone, which is really amazing after they'd left the boarding some fifteen or twenty years ago. 

Raffi- What is your prayer that you would like to share with us?
Sister Elisabeth- pray for more children in the boarding
  -          more Armenian financial support of Anjar boarding and school
  -          Pastor Hagop Akbasharian, his wife and all who work in Anjar boarding, school and church

Friends since 1990

Friends since 1990

At the end of lands of Anjar (October 1995)

At the end of lands of Anjar (October 1995)







Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday



Harvest Day in the Armenian Evangelical Church of Anjar

On Sunday, October 9, it was “Harvest Day”, in Anjar, in the Armenian Evangelical Church.

Badveli Sebouh Terzian, gave the sermon, about sharing with those less fortunate and needy.

Afterwards “KAHL” senior citizens had lunch in the Chanitz Room.


DVBS in the Armenian Evangelical Church of Anjar

For the Summer of 2011 and for three weeks, the Armenian Evangelical Church of Anjar organized Daily Vacation Bible School. The participating children enjoyed Bible lessons, as well as dancing, singing and music lessons.

Photos courtesy of

Harvest Day in the Armenian Evangelical Church of Anjar

Harvest day is celebrated every first Sunday of October, in an event organized by the women’s association of the Armenian Evangelical Church, who gather financial donations and offerings of vegetables and fruits for the KAHL Association, for the elderly and the blind.

Kevork Karaboyajian, manager of KAHL, conveyed the message of the day on Sunday, 3rd of October, where the donations of fruits and vegetables were piled up in an appealing way in the Armenian Evangelical church and a representative group from the KAHL Association was also present, who, after the service, were invited for lunch prepared by the women’s association.

Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian Hall Dedicated in a Special Ceremony

Mr. Kevork (George) Apelian

On Sunday, August 18, on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Armenian Village of Ainjar in Lebanon, a special ceremony was held at the Armenian Evangelical Secondary School (AES) to dedicate a newly renovated multipurpose hall in memory of Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, on the 10th anniversary of his passing.
Rev. Megrdich Karagoezian, President of the UAECNE, was present at the ceremony where the ribbon-cutting was done by Mrs. Sona Janbazian Koucharian, sister of Rev.
The new Janbazian Multipurpose Hall includes a sound system and LCD projector and will be used for workshops, lectures and other meetings as well as for a chapel for the elementary students.
Ainjar was the hometown of Rev. Dr. Janbanzian, former Executive Director of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA). He received his elementary and high school education at the AES School of Ainjar. He was also a member of the Armenian Evangelical Church of Ainjar and had served the congregation as a Sunday School teacher and a youth group director.

A Cultural Event with the Participation of the Six Armenian Evangelical Schools

Sponsored by the Lebanese Armenian Evangelical Educational Council and organized by the Lebanese Armenian Evangelical Educational Coordinating Committee, and on the occasion of the 95th Year of the Armenian Genocide, on Friday, 30 April, in the Boghossian Theatre, the cultural event was held, with the theme of rebirth, that were presented by the students of the Lebanese Armenian Evangelical Schools.

After the Lebanese and Armenian anthems, the chairman of the committee welcomed the guests.

Then six Armenian Evangelical Schools' (the Armenian Evangelical Secondary School of Anjar, the Armenian Evangelical Central High School, the Armenian Evangelical P. & E. Torosian School, the Armenian Evangelical Gertmenian School, the Armenian Evangelical College, the Armenian Evangelical Shamlian Tatigian Secondary High School) students presented dances,individual and group recitations of Armenian poems, songs, and musical pieces.

At the end of the cultural event, the Executive Director of the Armenian Evangelical Missionary Association, Mr. Levon Filian was invited to give a speech. He confirmed the fact that when 2-3 Armenians come together, they create culture, and build home, school, and church. He greatly appreciated and congratulated the students for the presentations, and he concluded with the following words, "Our mother tongue, our Armenian culture, our Christian forefather's spilled blood, let us keep it, let us uphold their faith".

In the end, Mrs. Sossy Balian congratulated and thanked all those who took part in making this event a successful one. She also thanked the students and their parents, the teachers and the principals. Also, to the mayor of Bourj Hammoud, Mr. Antranig Messerlian, for his support.

The event was closed with prayer by Rev. Soghomon Kilaghbian, the chairman of the Central Committee of the UAECNE.

The choir of the Armenian Evangelical Shamlian-Tatikian Secondary School

Students of the Armenian Evangelical Central High School playing on different types of musical instruments

Joint choir of Anjar & Torosian & AEC

Armenian Evangelical Gertmenian School's students singing

The Sipan Dance Group of the Armenian Evangelical Shamlian-Tatikian Secondary School

Dance Group of the Armenian Evangelical College

Dance group of the Armenian Evangelical School of Anjar

Dance group of the Armenian Evangelical Central High School

A student from the Armenian Evangelical College

A student from the Armenian Evangelical School of Anjar reciting a poem

Mr. Levon Filian, the Executive Director of the AMAA

Ms. Sossy Balian

The closing prayer of the Rev. Soghomon Kilaghbian

Anjar Badaniatz Giving Emmanuel Badaniatz a Visit

On Saturday, 15 November, the Badaniatz (junior high) group of Armenian Evangelical Church of Anjar gave the Badaniatz of Armenian Evangelical Emmanuel Church a visit.

The junior youth got to know each other, after which Raffi led the worship time. The junior youth then had social time together, with most of the guys playing soccer with Mike and Jano, while the girls and the rest played indoor games with Jimmy. At the end of the session, Manoug, Hagop and Maria served the youth with cakes and drinks, after which, the Anjar team thanked Emmanuel Badaniatz leaders for their hospitality and continued their tour in Beirut.

(Right image): Raffi leading the worship session

During worship

Socializing and games

(Right image): Hagop and Manoug
(Left image): Pastor Elias Jabbour, the leader of Anjar Badaniatz group

During the football friendly match

(Right image): Jimmy explaining the game called "I have never..."