Grace and peace to each of you,
Our Fairway District Mission Strategy Team (DMST) met recently with Nara Melkonyan, Director of Project AGAPE Ministry in Armenia. During the past 23 years of partnering with Project AGAPE, our NC Conference has made an impact building great relationships, creating responsive ministries and transforming lives of Christians in Armenia who often live amid turmoil. The United Methodist Church is the only group providing Christmas boxes in the region of Armenia served by Project AGAPE. Our conference has a long and faithful commitment to the Christians of Armenia.
Armenia was an early center of Christianity and was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion around 301 AD. In the last century, between 800,000 and 1.5 million Armenians (many of them Christians) were murdered during the Armenian genocide. Also known as the Armenian Holocaust, it began on April 24, 1915. The Armenian genocide is the second-most studied genocide after the World War II Holocaust, a story that is little known by Christians in America. Our Armenian Christian sisters and brothers have suffered greatly for their faith in Jesus Christ.
You can become a vital link! Based on Nara’s recommendations, the Fairway DMST has established three goals:
- As the Fairway District, we will seek to provide 2500 filled plastic shoeboxes for Project Agape to share Christmas joy with children. Personal encouragement notes may be included in boxes. This is a wonderful VBS, small group and/or church-wide project. Please use the packing lists at https://fairwaydistrictnc.org/project-agape-christmas-shoe-box/. Boxes will need to be completed by September 25 to ensure holiday delivery. Drop-off sites throughout the Fairway District are being identified and will be posted as soon as possible, so please continue to be looking for further updates.
- As the Fairway District, we will seek to raise $25,000 for the Cattle Project before December, 2017. Cows provide self-sufficiency for families and help to build communities as first calves are shared with another family in the program. Veterinarian services and training are provided for the first three years of cattle ownership for families in Nagorno-Karabakh region of Armenia. A brochure is available at https://fairwaydistrictnc.org/project-agape-cattle-project/. Tax deductible donations may be sent through local church treasurers to the NC Conference Treasurer’s Office marked “Fairway District AGAPE Cattle Project—S-00259.”
- As the Fairway District, we are exploring sending a “building team” in 2017 to Armenia. As the Cattle Project began, the Agape staff noticed cattle had better living conditions than many of the receiving families. Thus, home building/renovation teams have been established to assist families in the Cattle Project. Local artisans and tradespeople serve alongside volunteer work teams and the Agape staff members as relationships are built and living conditions are improved. We encourage you to begin praying about the possibility of serving on a mission experience team to Armenia.
It is a privilege to serve alongside each of you in our Christ-centered, mission-minded Fairway District. As you and your church family ponder these opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world, be assured of our prayers. The three goals established by our District Mission Strategy Team (DMST) offer us an opportunity to make a large and lasting impact with the Christians in Armenia.
Grace and peace,
Ray Broadwell, District Superintendent
Lou Ann Allred, Assistant to the District Superintendent