We recognize that God loves all people everywhere and we seek opportunities to serve our neighbors outside of Hickory, North Carolina, and even the United States. The people of St. Luke's have spent years building relationships with our neighbors in Nicaragua. Our college students and young adults have traveled to Los Angeles to share love to homeless LA residents. Our middle school and high school students have helped rebuild flood-ravaged communities in West Virginia. You can join us! For more information, contact our global missions coordinator, Pastor Bill Garrard.
St. Luke's has been involved in mission with the Nicaraguan people through our covenant missionaries Ronnie and Angi Hopkins for many years. Through our prayers, presence through mission teams, and our financial support, we are able to connect God's message of love to our Nicaraguan friends. Through person to person, church to church, and community to community connections with these Christians of another way of living, we grow ourselves in learning of God's love for all people and in our own discipleship. Find out how you can become involved in the sections below or connect with any member of our Nicaraguan Mission Planning Team: Kevin Clark, Bill Garrard, Beth Osbahr, and Beth Steelmon. They have stories to tell of how God works through us and in us in our mission with the Nicaraguan people.
For more information about teams, trips, and newsletters, click here.
Type the content for this list item here. This is just example text to show you what it will look like when you enter text content into this list item. Your unique, authentic, and appropriate text will be filled into this section. Once you click into this text area, you will see the filler text disappear.
Project AGAPE, a ministry to Armenia and to some of our most desperate Christian brothers and sisters, is a collaborative effort of the North Carolina and the Western North Carolina Conferences of The United Methodist Church in a joint effort with the Armenian Apostolic Church.
AGAPE = American Greater Armenian Partnership Efforts
An Update from Project Agape: (click here for newsletter)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in faraway North Carolina on this very small globe...
We hope you all had a Happy Easter regardless of the difficult and strange circumstances.
And we hope and pray that you all are safe and healthy.
I have good news (we are "thirsty" for good news in these gloomy days with fragile hope):
The big cross at AGAPE Center was blessed on ... EASTER SUNDAY!!! Praise the Lord!!! 🙏🏻
A bigger miracle than blessing the cross on that Holy Day could not happen. Why miracle? Just sharing about the miraculous circumstances of blessing the cross on Easter Sunday will explain why (I apologize for the long story in advance): the checkpoint at the border of Artsakh & Armenia is closed, no one is allowed to enter Artsakh from Armenia and no one is allowed to enter Armenia from Artsakh. We are trapped in Berdzor. So, we wanted to use this time to arrange the blessing of the cross at AGAPE Center. I called Archbishop Pargev, told about the cross and asked if it would be ok to bring the priest of the church in Shushi to bless the cross. He said, yes. Gig knows Father Andreas of Shushi church, so he called and arranged a day for coming to Berdzor and blessings the cross. Gig suggested to go and bring the priest, but the priest refused and said it would be too much traveling for us to go and bring him and then to take him back and return, he said he would drive from Shushi to Berdzor and back there. I was so excited, could not sleep all night, besides there was an awful wind with a rainstorm, so from time to time I looked out of the window to check the weather and make sure the cross is still standing (just FYI - we are talking about a cross the hight of which is a bit less than 30 feet, which goes more than 7 feet deep into the ground with strong metal reinforcement and which has a huge over 3 feet concrete base above the ground again with metal reinforcement plus to the 7 feet base in the ground). Around 5:00 am I went to bed and four hours later when I walk up and looked out of the window I saw ... almost 10 inches of snow outside... Gig called the priest and asked not to come, as we could imagine what was going on the higher sections of Shushi-Berdzor road if we had so much snow in Berdzor... and that's after warm days with 70F in the sun.
After a couple of days, Gig called again to the priest in Shushi. Father Andreas asked Gig whether he would mind calling to the new priest of Berdzor, as he might try to come and have Divine Liturgy on Easter Sunday in Berdzor. Gig took the phone number and called to the new priest - Father Beniamin. He said that he would try to come to Berdzor on April 11 - a day before Easter and visit us to talk about blessing the cross. When we met on Saturday afternoon, he said that he couldn't wait and came on Friday. Someone at Etchmiadzin told him that he would not be allowed to travel with restrictions on movement & StayAtHome order, but his answer was: GOD WILL HELP ME TO GET THERE... It took him longer hours than usual to get to Berdzor because of being stopped during the entire trip and only several calls to Etchmiadzin leadership with big difficulty helped him to get to Berdzor.
He came and saw the cross and suggested to bless it on ... Easter Sunday after the 3-hour worship - at 3:00 PM! We are grateful to Father Beniamin for giving life to this Holy task of blessing the cross right after the closed-door Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Holy Ascension in Berdzor (many of you know how long the Divine Liturgy in Armenian church is, plus another hour if it's Easter Sunday).
Father Beniamin was very excited and hoped that this first big cross in Berdzor will become a place of pilgrimage for many. Առաջ Աստված/Arach Astvats, which in Armenian means God is ahead or (another saying we have) The man intends, God commands. On the day arranged for blessing the cross, I was so sad to see the thick layer of snow, but today I understand why it snowed and ... I praise the Lord again and again...
May this new cross bring to the world speedy healing and peace through the power and blessing of Almighty God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit!!!We will never miss any opportunity, especially in this Holy time, to say again and again - THANK YOU, thank you for the 26 years of devotion and dedication to Project AGAPE and the people it serves. Thank you for the miraculous transformations in the lives of thousands of people, thank you for the shining eyes of the kids getting the Christmas Boxes. Thank you for not letting that small light of Hope fade away, but instead making that bright spot bigger and bigger with all those life-saving projects that you give life to in order to change lives...
May all the blessings you give to our people get back to you like a boomerang but in a much bigger multiplied size!!!
EASTER symbolizes the renewal of life: we wish you all and your families the renewal of Life, Faith, Love, Hope, and Happiness!
Nara & AGAPE Staff