Nara Melkonyan, who is our Conference missioner assigned to work with AGAPE in Nagorno-Karabakh, will be visiting Churches in North Carolina between April 12 and May 9, 2016. For over 20 years, AGAPE has been a joint ministry between the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conference. During that time, AGAPE has been in ministry in Nagorno-Karabakh—a territory that is still considered to be in dispute after the Armenian-Azerbaijani war. Nagorno-Karabakh has opened its borders to refugees during its entire existence. First the refugees came from an area of Armenia after an earthquake heavily damaged a nuclear reactor in that region. Then came refugees from neighboring areas after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Most recently, refugees have entered that land from Syria. Ironically, those refugees are descendants of Armenian refugees who were forcibly sent to the deserts of Syria during a purge by Turkey in 1914.
In the midst of all of this turmoil, AGAPE has proven to be a shining light of hope. Nara Melkonyan and her staff have received and distributed well over 50 containers of donated supplies over the years. Work teams have entered that area from both Conferences and have built a hospital, an orphanage, a health clinic, and an after-school program. In addition, AGAPE has built a complex where guests can stay.
AGAPE still exists as the major humanitarian relief organization in this particular area because of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Because of its status, no non-governmental organization (NGO) like the Red Cross or Red Crescent will work in that area. AGAPE has ministered to the poor, the refugee, and the neglected people of this region in the name of Jesus for over 20 years. Because Samaritan’s Purse will not enter that region, both Conferences have sent over Christmas boxes for children who otherwise would have no Christmas present. Because Heifer International will not work there, donors have helped to buy over 100 cows which have been given to families to help them sustain themselves and to give a future calf to another family.
AGAPE has been faithful over the years—literally working on a shoestring budget. When Nara comes to NC, please consider having her go to your Church to talk about AGAPE and its needs. Let her tell you about the children who receive their Christmas boxes—or the families that receive their cow. Let her tell you about the other ministries that are reaching out to some of the most vulnerable people in the world right now.
To arrange that visit, contact Rev. Bill Haddock at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 910.262.3831. Any size group or Church can have Nara come to visit.