December 16, 2016

To Armenia with love

Frederick resident Carey White, joined by his father, Rick White, of Texas, and Stewart Essey, of North Carolina, both formerly of Frederick, recently served the Asatyran family in Armenia. They traveled to the Dvin village in the Aravat region in late October to build, play and break bread with local residents for a little over a week.

All three travelers said they were forever changed after the blood, sweat and tears they shared with the Asatyran family.

White, who has been on mission trips to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, Sri Lanka and Ghana, didn’t know what to expect going to the first Christian nation in the world.

“The hospitality was unmatched,” he said. “No family has ever treated us with that much soul.”

Based on his interactions with residents and impressions of the culture, he plans on returning to Armenia in 2017.

Verjaluys Asatyran and her two sons, Senik and Bagrat, live in a half-built house started 22 years ago by her husband. After the death of her husband in 2003 and collapse of the Soviet Union, the family was unable to complete the house. They were forced to live in the basement, which is extremely cold (down to minus 30 degrees in the winter).

Thanks to the volunteers’ hard work and partnership with The Fuller Center for Housing Armenia (, the home is almost complete. The structure is framed, dried in, and almost habitable. The three volunteers spent most of their time sanding and plastering walls. What made their work so meaningful was the opportunity to work alongside their Armenian brothers and sisters. Although there was a language barrier, the smiles, hugs and handshakes said it all.

“Some people are soccer coaches; other are mentors,” Essey said. “That’s fantastic, but God has spoken to several of us by directing us to go to the ends of the Earth to make the world a better place. We are just ordinary brothers trying to make a small difference in this broken world.”

Armenia is roughly the size of Maryland. Of its 3 million people, 26,199 families are homeless. Since the spring of 2008, the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia has supported community development by assisting in building and renovating more than 560 simple homes and advocating for the right to decent shelter as a matter of conscience and action.

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