The right place: Ministering to Syrian-Armenian refugees

For many Syrian-Armenians who have fled Syria during the past six years of civil war, finding refuge in Armenia is coming home — and not.

Zareh Mangilikian knows what it’s like. A jeweler in Yerevan, Armenia, he is also a man who, together with his family, has allowed the Lord to prepare and guide him to exactly the right place. Among a people who are still struggling to come to terms with their refugee tragedy a century ago, Zareh is using the experiences God has given him to help refugees returning “home” in face of the current crisis to truly find a home.

The long way ‘home’

Zareh was born in Aleppo, Syria, to a family of Syrian-Armenians. It was Zareh’s grandfather who had come there as a refugee from West Armenia in 1915, fleeing the genocide that took his two brothers’ lives. The family attended an Armenian Evangelical Church in Aleppo, and thus Zareh grew up in a Christian environment, moving through Sunday school, teen club, and youth group. In 2000, he moved to Lebanon, where he was also involved in church ministry and eventually met his wife, Rita Lao, the daughter of a Taiwanese father and an Armenian-Lebanese mother.

Two children were born to the couple, a boy now aged 9 and a girl aged 6, and in 2012 the young family moved to Taiwan to explore the country and job opportunities there. But they soon discovered it was not the right place for them — so they settled in Armenia instead.

For the rest of the story, see Engage magazine

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