ATLANTA — After a long hiatus, the Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA) Mission Trip was revived over the weekend of February 7-9, offering a faith-based service trip to young adults across the Eastern Diocese. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity of North Central Georgia, the young adults took part in a homebuilding project, while also serving the Armenian Church Mission Parish of Atlanta.
Seventeen young adults ranging from college students to working professionals participated in the trip. They traveled from 10 different states (Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Washington DC, and Wisconsin) representing 12 parishes of the Eastern Diocese. The group was organized by Jennifer Morris of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, with her colleague, Kathryn Ashabahian, assisting.
“God called on us to take part in this mission trip,” said Lerna Lacinian (of St. John Church in Southfield, MI). “He brought us together as a family and as Armenians to serve.”
This was the feeling of all the participants. Each morning the group gathered for a meditation led by the trip’s chaplain, Fr. Yeprem Kelegian. “They were always ready to go deep in the meditations,” he noted. “Compassion and love was evident in all of their interactions with the parishioners of Atlanta. I am filled with joy because if these are the type of people who will be stepping up in the Armenian Church, then we can rest easy. It will be okay.”
Building a Home, Building Faith
Participants spent two days working with Habitat for Humanity in freezing and snowy weather, preparing materials to build a home for a single mother and her son in a rural community north of Atlanta. The group was impressed by the humility of the Habitat staff and volunteers who guided them through their work experience and enabled them to be successful in challenging tasks that involved saws, nail guns and heavy lumber.