What’s going on??? The Project AGAPE ministry in Artsakh and Armenia has gone through a lot of changes over the past year. Here are some answers to some FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions).
Q. Is MERCI receiving Christmas boxes this year?
A. No. Should any boxes be sent to MERCI, they will be sent first to the Western North Carolina Conference (WNC) for processing this year.
Q. In a recent Mission seminar, didn’t Nara Melkonyan say that she would like Christmas boxes to continue to be sent to Armenia?
A. Yes, she did indeed. She distributes these boxes to children almost year-round and at the time of the seminar, Project AGAPE in Armenia was almost out of them. However, about 400 boxes were sent on August 20, and the WNCC will be collecting more this Fall.
Q. Why is one Conference collecting boxes while the other one is not?
A. There is only so much warehouse space in Armenia at the new Project AGAPE headquarters. Until better warehouse space can be built at the new location, Conference mission leaders felt it would be best to have just one Conference do the boxes this year.
Q. So is there a new headquarters for AGAPE in Armenia?
A. Yes. AGAPE was centered in Berdzor which is in the territory of Artsakh for about 25 years. In that village, Project AGAPE helped to build a hospital, several clinics, a children’s home, a distribution center, an after-school building, and a very nice building which was used to house work teams who helped refugees renovate their homes. These buildings and the ministries held in Berdzor were abandoned during the most recent war between Azerbaijan and Armenia which was in the Fall and Winter of 2020. While Berdzor is now technically under control of Russian peacekeeping troops, Project AGAPE felt that it was no longer safe for Armenians to be in that area. As a result, Project AGAPE staff used a convoy of volunteers to take as many ministry supplies as possible to a new village in Armenia—Vayk.
Q. So, how can we help?
A. Consider giving to one of the Project AGAPE Advance Specials: Nara Melkonyan (#S-00004) Nara is the director of Project AGAPE. Project AGAPE general fund, #S-00004 or AGAPE Christmas Boxes #S-00258 Another option is put together health kits https://umcmission.org/umcor-hygiene-kit/ Contact Rev. Bill Haddock to arrange delivery to the MERCI Center: email@example.com
Q. How can I keep up with the latest news about Project AGAPE in Armenia?
A. There are several ways: (1) Sign up for the Outreach email list on the Conference website which has periodic news about Project AGAPE; (2) search archives at the Conference website for a number of articles on Project AGAPE—keeping in mind that our ministry in Armenia and Artsakh is continuously changing; (3) Email Nara Melkonyan in Armenia for a biweekly newsletter directly from Project AGAPE (firstname.lastname@example.org); (4) call or email either the following persons who are members of the Project Agape Board of Directors—Jaye White, Bill Haddock, Bobby Fletcher, Terry Williams, Jane Leechford, Jennifer Forsman, and Larry Bowden; (5) call the Conference Outreach office at the United Methodist Building and speak to Kathy Duncan who has a long-term connection with the work of Project AGAPE.
Thank you for supporting this vital ministry with our sisters and brothers in Armenia!