Coming To America: The Life of Rebecca Krikorian Part II

Part One can be found here.

It seems to me that you should go to our country (America)…and there you will meet a wonderful woman by the name of Miss. France E. Willard, who does the same kind of work in America as you are doing here, and Miss Willard, being a very influential woman, will help you in raising the required funds for a mission house in Aintab in a short time, a year or two at the longest.”

Mrs. Dr. Shepard to Miss. Rebecca Krikorian
Rebecca Krikorian, Jerusalem, p. 39

Choosing to come to America was no easy task for Rebecca. For more than three months, she waited on the Lord to call her to this nation. After much prayer, fasting, and yet another encouragement from Mrs. Shepard, she made her decision first arriving in London, England as a delegate from Turkey at the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U) convention in June 1895. Joined by her new mentor, Miss. Frances Willard, Rebecca arrived in New York City on August 13, 1895.


Undated picture of Rebecca Krikorian (sitting( and Frances Willard (standing)

With her arrival in New York came the arrival of more massacres in Turkey claiming the lives of one hundred thousand Armenians. Despite the tragedies occurring in her home country, Rebecca was able to carry forth her mission in raising awareness and funding for Armenian survivors. As she was writing letters and sending funds home, a family friend across the sea in Turkey sat writing a letter. In this letter, he pleaded for Rebecca to find a way to send him, who at the time was living in Egypt, to America in hopes of a Christian education. Rebecca worked tirelessly to provide a way for Meshach. Before she could prepare for his arrival, she had to first find an educational institution for the young man to study at as well as the funds to make this his request a reality.

Meshach Krikorian

Meshach Krikorian in Alexandria, Egypt in 1911

Travelling as she normally did, Rebecca met Bishop S.R. Smith at a train depot. He approached her after seeing a Bible in her hand. Deeply intrigued by her story, he formally introduced himself as the president of Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home. Learning the stories of the countless Armenians living in fear, he ensured Rebecca that he would make a way for the now four Armenian men. Their education was funded by members of the Brethren in Christ Church across the East Coast who were moved to assist the young men after learning of their stories from Rebecca. She stated, “This I undertook, trusting in the Lord”. In October 1911, Meshach arrived in New York City followed by the arrival of Samuel, Hrant, and Jacob. In November, Meshach, Hrant, and Jacob enrolled at Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home, today known as Messiah College.


Until the next post.


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