BY ELISE KALFAYAN
Long serving and dedicated leaders within the Armenian Missionary Association of America, Mr. & Mrs. Vahram and Lucienne Aynilian are co-chairs of its 103rd Annual Meeting Banquet and well-suited to the event’s theme, “Empowering AMAA’s Global Mission.” The banquet will honor the Armenian Missionary Association of Canada, the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia, and Hope for Armenia (Espoir pour l’Arménie) of France. The event will take place on Saturday, October 22, at the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.
Active in AMAA projects since the 1970s, Vahram first got involved in the organization’s Ellis Island project, while Lucienne has served as the co-chair of the Public Affairs Committee for over two decades hosting the annual meetings and banquets in NJ. She also co-initiated the AMAA’s Armenia Summer Camps and Christmas Committee in the late 1990s that till now provides gifts to the needy children of Armenia during Christmas. Vahram has served as an elected AMAA Director as well as Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer, and Lucienne is currently an elected Director and serves on the New Jersey Orphan and Child Care Committee. Both have been instrumental for decades in AMAA activities, including the Internship Program that sends young people each year to Armenia to learn more about their roots and become inspired to get involved with the ministries of the AMAA.
In 1996, the Aynilians and their children met Hope for Armenia leaders, including current President Serge Kurkdjian. “We traveled with AMAA Executive Director Rev. Movses Janbazian to Armenia and met with Rev. Dr. Rene Léonian and Rev. Gilbert Léonian who were working on joint Hope for Armenia / AMAA projects at the time,” recalls Lucienne. “Hope for Armenia and AMAA had worked together since the earthquake, and we saw that they were truly effective partners. Along with AMAA, Serge and Nadya Kurkdjian organized the Hope for Armenia trip. We got to be friends, and it’s been a wonderful experience all these years working together!” “That first trip further solidified our commitment to the AMAA,” continued Vahram. We’ve traveled to Armenia many times since then and seen the progress first-hand.”
Just as Hope for Armenia leaders organized in France, initiated by the AMAA, Armenian Evangelicals in Australia and Canada established the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia and the Armenian Missionary Association of Canada to work on joint projects with the AMAA. AMA Australia sponsors Armenian students in Beirut and raises funds for projects in Lebanon, Armenia, and Artsakh. AMA Canada was organized to respond to needs in Armenia after the 1988 earthquake and has been active ever since, developing joint projects with the AMAA. Over the years, the dedicated leaders and supporters of these organizations and of the AMAA have established strong ties of fellowship and common purpose.
This year’s banquet theme is “a great idea, and a great way to show how the AMAA is empowered and supported through its various global arms,” says Vahram. “Once you see the work of the AMAA, you fall in love with the organization, and that goes for our community around the world.”
“Armenians are all over the world, and there is a thirst among our people to be helpful, to improve lives, to help each other and do good,” continues Lucienne. “Armenian Evangelicals’ investment in Christian Education pushes us forward in this way. We all want to be part of this movement wherever we are!”
The co-chairs are looking forward to inspiring the next generation to get involved, help their brothers and sisters in Armenia, and appreciate and share God’s love with others: “We have young people on our organizing committee, and we are asking them to bring their friends along. The evening’s program will provide a great overview, and once they catch on, we know they will be inclined to join, donate, and get involved!”
The banquet will include videos on the work of each of the three mission partners, as well as brief remarks from their leaders. The program is also packed with entertainment; it will be a fun and engaging evening. Violinist Diana Vasilyan will perform during the cocktail hour, the Shushi Dance Group led by Director Seta Kantarjian will perform, and soloist Ani Djirdjirian will sing.
“The AMAA is truly blessed through the work of its dedicated leaders and global mission partners,” declares AMAA CEO/Executive Director Zaven Khanjian. “We are looking forward to sharing the great work that God has helped us accomplish with Hope for Armenia, AMA Australia, and AMA Canada at our 103rd Annual Meeting Banquet. These mission partners deserve our tribute for helping us build, educate, shelter, provide, and inspire the people of our nation.”
For more information and to make your reservations, you may call AMAA headquarters at 201.265.2607 or visit the website.