Family, Not Refugees

 
Children sing in a Christmas program at the Church of the Nazarene in Yerevan, Armenia

Children sing in a Christmas program at the Church of the Nazarene in Yerevan, Armenia

When refugees and displaced individuals say, “You are our family here in this country,” you realize your impact. 

In 2016, the Church of the Nazarene in Armenia started “Hand in Hand,” a ministry supporting Syrian families who fled their country in search of safety. The project includes two VBS programs, and more than 25 families have received further aid through a warm winter project, medication, medical aid, rent support, academic support, skills development, and help with daily urgent needs over the past two years. Out of the ministry, seven families have joined the church in Yerevan, Armenia, joining hand in hand to grieve, heal, and celebrate. Here are two of their stories.

 
 

ANGELA’S STORY

Widowed and orphaned by terrorism and war, Angela fled from Syria to Armenia with her three children. But the journey was not easy, and many people who initially offered help deceived her. By the time they arrived, she’d given up on God.  “That’s until I met the people in this church, who helped me in every step to see God’s love, provision, and faithfulness,” Angela says. 

After meeting her, the church began to walk hand in hand with her family. Angela became a faithful member of the church, and her children started to attend VBS, camps, Sunday School, and teens group.

Angela

Angela

Angela and her teenage daughter both help in Sunday School whenever they can, and Angela is always ready to do home visits, especially visiting other Syrian refugees. Recently, a donor heard Angela’s story and helped the family purchase an apartment. 

HAGOP’S STORY 

Hagop and his family were inside their apartment in Syria when bombs hit. He lost both his home and his business—a stationery and gift shop. Seeking safety, he came to Armenia with his wife, two daughters, and two sisters. Hagop’s sister Ani started to attend the church’s knitting classes for Syrian women. “I am a shy person, but when I got to know this church, I felt that I could be myself,” Ani says. 

 
 
Hagop

Hagop

Later, she began bringing her nieces to church with her. The girls had difficulty adapting in the beginning; the younger sister always cried, and Ani had to sit next to her in Sunday School to make her feel comfortable. Two years have passed, and today the whole family attends the church, serving in different roles. “We love to serve, and we have this church where we feel that we can do something, especially for God,” Hagop shares. And in a recent Sunday service, the girls led a new song with big smiles instead of tears of anxiety. 

“When we came to Armenia, we were feeling so devastated,” Hagop says. “Today, we have a reason to go on.” 

 

Taken from the latest issue of NCM Magazine. Read More!