Who are we?
Armenian Ministries is an independent Christian charitable mission based in Lincolnshire, England. Registered as a charity in the year 2000, the mission was started by Ivan (Vahram) Pambakian, who himself was an Armenian, but had lived in England for many years. In the early 1990s, Ivan, with his wife, Sona, felt the Lord’s calling to help and encourage their brothers and sisters in the Lord in Armenia. Over the next few years, the doors of opportunity opened and Ivan and Sona were able to travel to Armenia to start to fulfil this calling – the work of Armenian Ministries was born. Ivan went home to be with his beloved Saviour in 2011, after which point, the work has been led by Michael and Perouz Harrison (Ivan and Sona’s daughter).
In 1988, shortly before Ivan first felt the Lord’s call, there had just been a terrible earthquake in Armenia which caused mass devastation and in the 1990s, Armenia was blockaded from the outside world by its neighbouring enemy nations. The consequence of these two factors was a foundation of poverty and extreme need which left many families absolutely destitute. Following this very difficult period, the country as a whole began to improve and build its infrastructure, resulting in expensive malls, hotels and supermarkets and as we entered the 2010s, Armenia had changed significantly since its early days as an independent nation. However a huge percentage of families still remained in dire need.
Today the situation in Armenia is such, that while the capital, Yerevan, boasts a modern look much like many European cities, the inside picture is altogether different. There are many families tucked away just under the surface still living in dreadful poverty. They are struggling to put bread on the table, to afford what is necessary to send their children to school and to heat their homes, leave alone afford their medical bills. On top of this, everything changed dramatically for the worse in September, 2020 when the 44 day war started in the region of mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh. The result of that horrible war was several-fold. Thousands of soldiers lost their lives and many families were left bereaved and heart-broken. Many of those soldiers were eighteen to twenty year old conscripts. A whole generation was wiped out. There were many refugees, who had lost their homes and possessions in Nagorno-Karabakh, who suddenly flooded into Armenia – possessing nothing and desperately trying to find somewhere to live. The war between the Ukraine and Russia also meant many refugees flooded into Armenia, which was already struggling with an accommodation crisis, pushing up house rent prices and prices of everything in general.
The charity has as its foundation several aims at the heart of which is relieving, helping and supporting the poor and spreading the good news of the gospel.
These aims are achieved, with the collaboration of our network of volunteers in the UK and a number of full-time workers in Armenia, in several practical ways :
- The distribution of food parcels, help with winter heating and financial assistance towards medical bills to those in greatest need.
- The distribution of humanitarian aid such as clothes, shoes, bedding and so on. These items are sent to Armenia from the UK in our aid containers.
- The free-of-charge distribution of the Eastern Armenian Bible which was translated a number of years ago in a joint project between ourselves and Trinitarian Bible Society.
- The translation and distribution of Christian literature free-of-charge to make the gospel known, encourage the believers and as Bible study aids.
- Weekly children’s Bible clubs in several locations and also summer Bible camps which run for a number of weeks through the summer.
- Visitation of the poor to help, encourage and tell them the good news of the gospel.
Since those early years, the work has expanded and we have seen abundant blessing poured out upon it. The legacy that Ivan left behind continues to have impact on the current work of Armenian Ministries. By God’s grace, the work is still expanding to meet the ever-increasing spiritual and physical needs in Armenia today.