“I was praying and asking God that we do not get cold in winter and that we have fuel. At the time of prayer, the phone rang and I complained, thinking who could it be that was calling to stop me from concentrating on my prayer.” Hasmik, from a large and very poor Christian family in Armenia, continued to pray, but the phone continued to ring. Eventually, rather annoyed, she stopped praying and picked up the phone. It was her local church inviting her to go and get fuel, donated by Barnabas Fund. “I cried for joy,” says Hasmik, “and apologised to God that I lacked faith and did not expect such a quick response.”
Be Christ’s helping hand for hungry children and isolated elderly
Every winter, Barnabas fund helps some of the neediest Christians in the Shirak region of Armenia to survive the bitter winters, when temperatures often fall to -30C or lower. Will you partner with us to be an answer to their prayers? Or, in the words of the local Baptist church leader who organises the project, will you be “Christ’s helping hand for fellow brothers, sisters, half-starving children and solitary elderly”?
Distribution of heating aid has already started and will continue into November, with some families getting wood for fuel and others getting money to pay electricity or gas bills. Night temperatures are already below freezing.
Food distribution will start just before Christmas, to make sure Christian families do not go hungry as they celebrate the birth of their beloved Saviour. As well as basics like flour, butter, cured meats and cooking oil, there will be a few treats such as chocolate and condensed milk.
Over 1.5 million Armenian Christians died in the Armenian Genocide, which peaked a century ago. More recently, in early 1988 a violent persecution of Armenian Christians in Azerbaijan saw hundreds beaten, tortured or raped and at least 30 killed. Some 18,000 fled to Armenia at that time. But in December of the same year a huge earthquake devastated the northern part of the country, especially Shirak. Many people in Shirak are still living in the “temporary” housing provided after the earthquake, buildings whose lightweight walls are completely inadequate for Armenia‘s extreme climate.
Shirak region - the poorest of the poor
The poverty rate in Armenia as a whole is 36% but rises to 46% in Shirak, the poorest region. Unemployment in Shirak is running at 64% and only 27% of its population have access to medical services.
“I knew that our God would not let us stay hungry or thirsty”
Lida has lived in Armenia for 30 years, having fled the massacres in Azerbaijan in 1988. She and her husband, now retired, survive on small government pensions and set aside a little money every month towards winter heating. This time last year, in October 2017, when temperatures had already started to fall, their home in Shirak was burgled and their savings were stolen. They were dismayed – how would they endure the winter? They could not afford both food and fuel. Would they starve or would they freeze? Lida joined other Christians in her regular prayer group to pray for all who would be in need that winter. Then local church leaders, aware of Lida’s situation, gave her help from Barnabas Fund. "I knew that our God would not let us stay hungry or thirsty," she responded with joy.
Your gift to Barnabas Fund will be used by Armenian church leaders to help the most vulnerable and neediest believers this winter in Shirak.
- Fuel for one family for the whole winter will cost around $200.
- A family food parcel for the winter will cost around $45
If you would like to make a gift, please direct your donation to 79-719 Winter Fuel Support in ArmeniaDonate
If you would like to make a donation in US dollars please click Donate above. To make a donation in a different currency please select your region at the top of this page and continue with your donation.
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If you prefer to send a check by mail: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference above.