SOAR - Las Cruces Chapter
Las Cruces joined the SOAR family in January 2019. Las Cruces is a city in New Mexico, on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. The interactive New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum features livestock and gardens. On the Rio Grande, Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park has trails and bird life. The Museum of Nature and Science includes desert animals and hands-on displays. In an old depot, the Railroad Museum has model trains and explores the local impact of railways.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Sister Connie Koumjian
Dedication to service with the poor has been a “mission” in Connie’s life. She trained in “Community Organizing” and in “Direct Service” as a graduate student. Her conversion to the Orthodox Faith and the Roman Catholic faith happened gradually and was clear when she was in her late 40’s. The religious life was where Connie spent about 6 years in mainly two communities , one monastic and the other “in the world” serving the poor in teaching, community service and in medical areas.
Having spent more than two years living and working in Armenia during the past 5 years has been especially meaningful for Connie. Living with Armenian families, on her own and with religious sisters in Yerevan and Etchmiadzin has been an experience she cherishes. She was privileged to sing with the choir at Sourp Hovannes Church in Arinj, Armenia by the gracious permission of Der Hayr Sambat. At this church, members went on several bus trips throughout Armenia and also to Tbilisi , Georgia, where they visited monasteries together; some, including herself, got to sing at Holy Badarak in one of them.
The disabled young adults and those who had HIV illness were also her teachers in Armenia. Connie was learning the language she says they were very patient with her. The service recipients worked collaboratively with her, assisting her in their classes and with special projects, such as starting an addiction and recovery group.
Twice Connie has helped on construction of permanent beautiful homes for two Armenian families with Fuller Center in Armenia.
Currently Connie offers Bible Study classes for men and women incarcerated in Las Cruces County Detention Center as a volunteer with the Chaplain’s Office there.
Connie will be going to Santa Fe on a legislative trip with a group sponsored by the ACLU to advocate and lobby legislators on behalf of immigrant rights. A medical doctor in Las Cruces of Mexican heritage will be accompaning them to Juarez to help familiarize Connie with the needs of orphans there. She has offered support with group from Las Cruces who visit there regularly with this MD.
Painting Holy Icons, singing in church choir, hectoring and teaching catechesis (Sunday School) are some activities I regularly have been participating in for many years. I have been a licensed clinical social worker for my adult life and since retirement have been wanting to be a good Christian role model.