Many Armenian Christian families in Nagorno-Karabakh have been left homeless and dependent on aid after Azerbaijan captured their towns and villages in the war at the end of last year. Christian Solidarity International (CSI) is partnering with a church in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, to provide vital assistance.
“These families have lost everything and have to start their lives again from scratch”, explained the church’s pastor, pointing out that many families are also mourning husbands, fathers and brothers killed in the conflict initiated by Azerbaijan at the end of September.
Thanks to international support, including from CSI, the church has been able to provide food and clothing, as well as home appliances, furniture, household items, firewood and medicine to displaced people. “For many families the support we have been providing is the only means they have to survive”, said the pastor.
Four families who received CSI aid
These families include the Saroyans from Shusha who have five children. They are starting over again after losing their home. “While many other families in the same situation have lost all hope for the future this family as true believers have put their trust in the Lord”, said the church pastor. “The father of the family, Davit, was wounded in the fighting but the Lord has miraculously healed him and he is now back with his family”.
The Hovanian family has also been through a terrible ordeal. The father, Hayk Hovanian, was captured by the Azerbaijanis and taken to the capital Baku, where he was tortured, beaten, and held as a war prisoner. His family did not know where he was until an Azerbaijani soldier published a video that showed Armenian captives being tortured. Hayk’s wife, Anna, recognized her husband in the video and alerted the International Red Cross. Hayk is now back in Armenia where he is receiving psychological support. His family is hoping and praying that he will make a full recovery.
A third family from Shusha, the Barsamians, is also receiving CSI aid. The parents, Gor and Anahit, had to move to a new village with their nine children. They are expecting their tenth child in a couple of months. Although it is hard to provide for a large family under these circumstances, they are very content with the little they have and thankful to God for his blessings.
The Tumanyans from the city of Martuni, a family of nine, are believers whose faith has remained strong despite their trials. Their home survived the bombings but was damaged by an artillery shell. Undeterred, the Tumanyans relaunched regular Bible study meetings at their home as soon the war was over. “They are providing much needed hope and spiritual encouragement to their neighbors”, according to the pastor.”
Christmas gifts distributed
He reports that thanks to the support of the Yerevan church, two churches in Stepanakert, the capital and largest city in Nagorno-Karabakh, have been able to resume regular meetings and are very involved in serving local families.
To mark Orthodox Christmas on January 6, youth members of the church held a Christmas event and gave away gift boxes to around 50 children affected by the fighting. “Many parents testified that this event was the only bright thing for their kids since the beginning of the war”, said the pastor.
“I would like to thank Christian Solidarity International USA for your prayers and generosity at this time of trouble. May the Lord bless you richly.”