A MOBILE DINING ROOM 1995-1998
I n cooperation with Administrative District of Arabkir in Yerevan, we have carried out ‘The Movable Canteen’ program, distributing food to 400 people 3 times a week. Among the participants, there were students, representatives of professional classes, lonely old people and disabled people, who were in adverse social conditions.
The advantage of ‘the Movable Canteen’ was that the products (meat, vegetables, fruit, and sweets) were distributed to each home. The addresses were provided to the Ministry by the Social Department of the Administrative District of Arabkir.
I t was a very difficult period of war and blockade. There was no electricity, no water, and the worst thing was, people had no hope. Every day I barely managed to do my homework and went to my cold bed, to quench the feeling of hunger. One such cold and nasty day, a group of young people came to my home. To my surprise, they were very happy and their eyes radiated with peace.
They told me that they were believers. They found out from the Administrative District about my social conditions, and decided to help me by bringing so much food once a week, that would supply me with hot meals and groceries for that week. They kept visiting me for a full year and helped to overcome and to be filled with hope. I saw God’s love in them. Before that, I had not even heard about God, but today I praise Him, as He helped me in time of need and revealed to me that He exists. Today I work myself and I am ready to help others in need.
Karen Dilbaryan, 21
I studied at the university with my sister. Our parents did not work because of high unemployment, and they could not go into business. We had many hungry days. One day, when we were back from studies, we saw a lot of food at home.
We started to shout from surprise and joy. We were told that some young people visited us, who believed in God. Later we saw them often at our home. For 2 years, they were bringing hot meals and food to us, 3 times a week. We praise God for His help during those difficult years. I am grateful to those young people who volunteered in the Church both in cold winter and in hot summer, and because there was no transportation, they often went from door to door on foot, bringing food to many people like us.
Narine Hovakimyan, 19
THE 3RD WAY OF GOD FOR THE HOMELESS
In 1998-2001, we carried out ‘The Third Way of God for the Homeless’ program. Our goal was to show people who became homeless for some reasons, that apart from continuing their wandering and inhuman lifestyle or committing suicide there was another way, the Third Way of God, which was the promise of restoration.
With the help of our Professional Team (a psychologist, a social worker, a pedagogue), during around 3 years of constant work we succeeded to take tens of people, who were homeless for 7-9 years, out of their depression, and to return them to normal life.
With the efforts of the Ministry, they found jobs, and 9 of them received apartments in Yerevan as a gift.
ASSISTANCE TO FRONTIER VILLAGES
I n 2001-2003 , we carried out ‘Help to the Borderline Villages’ program, as a result of which the dwellers of borderline villages (Zedea, Newad, Vardan, etc.) were supplied with food and clothes. When they came to know God as the Master of the Universe and a loving Father, they prayed, and the draught in that area, which lasted for 10-12 years, stopped. The villages thrived, the roads were repaired and job opportunities were created.
THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN BELONGS TO CHILDREN THE 1ST STAGE
In 2001-2010, we carried out ‘The Kingdom of Heaven to Children’ program, which consists of the following stages: Prevention, Orientation, and Foster Care.
At Prevention stage, the Mercy Ministry Professional Team (a psychologist, a social worker, a pedagogue, and volunteers) prevents the child from getting into an orphanage.
At Orientation stage, the Professional Team discusses the family situation of the child (relationships between the family members, social conditions, risks to the child’s safety), and the results determine whether the child will continue to live with their biological family, or with a foster family.
At Foster Care stage, the child temporarily lives in a foster family, where their safety (if they were abused in their biological family), proper social conditions and education are secured. At the same time, the Mercy Ministry team works with their parents, so that in future the child could have opportunity to return to their biological family.
THE GOALS OF THE PROGRAM
To make the voice of children heard.
To pass a Foster Care Program Bill constitutionally in the Republic of Armenia, due to which each abandoned child will have an opportunity to live in a warm family atmosphere.
To prevent children from getting into orphanages.
In 2005, a Provision on Custody and Foster Care was added in the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia.
The Professional Team works in 3 directions:
Work with the biological parents
Work with the children
Work with the foster parents
In 2001-2010, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven to Children’ Program showed support to around 1.000 children, who were abused, beggars or socially deprived. The Ministry prevented children from getting into orphanages or boarding schools. They had opportunity to live in warm atmosphere of the biological or a foster family.