For The Fuller Center for Housing of Armenia, each year seems to bring another milestone. That’s what happens when you’re the busiest Fuller Center partner in the world.
Earlier today, the Christian Youth Mission to Armenia (CYMA) helped mark the construction of the 600th Fuller Center home by working with our Armenian partners to help the Miinasyan family of Dvin Village in the Arara region build a simple, decent and safe new home.
Nearly three decades since a devastating earthquake struck the historic country, many families are still dealing with the lingering effects of that disaster and the collapse of the Soviet Union, which ruled the country at the time of the quake but soon fell apart, leaving many broken promises of rebuilding.
Until now, the Minasyan family has been living with family father Arsen’s parents and brothers with 16 members total crammed into one small house. Soon, they will be moving into this nearly complete home.
“The Fuller Center for Housing Armenia has crossed another milestone building their 600th house,” Fuller Center President David Snell said today. “This shows what can happen when a dedicated leadership team develops a phenomenal support base and gets to work! Congratulations to the Armenia staff and to all of the volunteers and donors who have made this possible.”
The Fuller Center of Armenia has a strong leadership team on the ground that has cultivated numerous partnerships to support its work. It also receives consistent support from Armenian-Americans and is a popular destination for Fuller Center Global Builders volunteer experiences.
“Fuller Center Armenia continues to show why they’re a leader among all the Fuller Centers around the world, constantly seeking and finding ways to partner with more and more families,” said Ryan Iafigliola, Fuller Center Director of Field Operations, who joined President Snell and others in Armenia last year for the international Millard Fuller Legacy Build shortly after Armenia dedicated its 500th home. “We’re so proud of all that they have accomplished.”
A volunteer’s perspective
Jackie El Chemmas recently returned from a Global Builders trip to Armenia with a group from her church, St. John Armenian Church of Greater Detroit. Volunteer groups from the church have built 21 of those 600 homes, including the milestone 500th home last year.
“They need the help, and I’m doing my part — my itsy-bitsy part — but we’re building a home every year,” she said, adding that the Armenian Fuller Center’s leadership makes the experience productive. “They’re fantastic. The whole setup is just fantastic. If there’s ever a problem, they handle it.”
She also sees how the week of serving others in their homeland makes her church stronger and builds faith — something church groups always report from such faith-in-action service opportunities in Armenia and elsewhere with The Fuller Center.
“It makes us stronger, and it makes them have a stronger sense of identity with other Armenians, she said. “We definitely have ties to our heritage, no doubt about it. When we go, we don’t feel like we’re in a strange place. It’s ours. We take ownership of Armenia.”
And those ties do not fade. In fact, she already has made plans for next year. Moments before she spoke with The Fuller Center today, El Chemmas said she received a call from a friend wanting to know about next year’s trip.
“She said, ‘I already have 12 people who want to go, so don’t take any more people with you next year,'” El Chemmas said with a laugh. “Plus, my husband will go, and one other person is going, so I’m already booked up for next year.
“The Fuller Center really does good, and we thank you.”
And The Fuller Center, of course, thanks all of the volunteers, supporters and leaders who make these success stories possible.
Slideshow of CYMA’s work July 27-28 in Armenia: