On February 24th, Tigran Antonian, Carmen Kestekyan, and Naryne Sarkiss presented “Greetings from Armenia: An Afternoon of Pictures and Stories”. The Church hall was filled with parishioners eager to hear about the experiences of these three young adults in Armenia for a month through the CYMA program. A slide show presentation highlighted points of interest on the trip to Armenia.
CYMA (Christian Youth Missions to Armenia) is a month long trip to Armenia in July and it is organized through the Western Diocese. Youth from the ages of 18-30 are immersed into the Armenian culture through internships, sightseeing, and working on a service project in a rural village.
Tigran, Carmen, and Naryne talked about their individual service projects while in Armenia. Naryne, who went on CYMA in 2011, explained how her group of youth cleaned up a monastery that was ruined from the rain and left abandoned. During this clean-up process, they came across “Katchkars” that were buried in the dirt. This was a very special find to all of them and the villagers proudly displayed these “Katchkars” in the newly restored Church. Tigran and Carmen, who went on CYMA in 2012, renovated a youth center for their service project. They demolished walls and paved floors of the new facility. However, the project was not completed.
The presentation also touched upon how the service projects are funded. Every year, the Burbank ACYO puts together an event called “Survivors’ Walk”. Youth from around the Western Diocese come together to walk 15 miles in silence through the desert to have a deeper understanding of the suffering of genocide victims and offer a mental, physical and spiritual experience while participants walk and spend a night in the desert with minimal supplies, and get one step closer to a personal comprehension of the struggles faced by the genocide victims. The walk is a fundraiser to support youth projects in Armenia such as the ones Tigran, Carmen, and Naryne participated in during their visit to Armenia.
The presentation was concluded with the emphasis of raising enough funds to complete the youth center project that the CYMA 2012 participants started. The project will be completed by the 2013 participants this coming summer. If you would like to donate towards the cause, please visit www.yourcause.com/teamvostigan or write a check out to “Burbank ACYO”.
Submitted by Carmen Kestekyan