About Us

ARDA – Meeting the needs of impoverished Armenians around the world.

History and Background


Reverend John Mark Galustian was a Russian born Armenian pastor who spent 13 years in a Siberian prison in Soviet Russia (Gulag) as punishment for his ministry as a Christian Pastor. After his release, John Mark immigrated to the United States and established the Armenian Gospel Mission. It became his lifelong mission to meet the needs of impoverished Armenians around the world.


The Armenian Gospel Mission, founded in 1970, developed into the Armenian Relief and Development Association (ARDA) in 1991 to coordinate its relief and development work in Armenia. With main offices located in Pasadena, California USA and Yerevan, Armenia, ARDA is a wholly independent subsidiary and a registered humanitarian agency in the Republic of Armenia. ARDA is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization.

In 2013 the Board of Directors of AGM/ARDA voted to make the primary name of the sibling/joint ministry “ARDA”. This in no way changed or compromised the original mission of AGM yet consolidated the like missions of both entities to be formally known around the world as ARDA. From our inception, ARDA has carried out the mission of meeting the needs of impoverished Armenians around the world. Since the collapse of communism in 1991, and the independence of the Republic in 1992, ARDA has focused on coordinating extensive humanitarian relief and development efforts to meet the needs of the poorest people of Armenia.

Today, ARDA employs a staff of 55 local Armenians. ARDA’s arm reaches the three major cities of Yerevan Gumryi, Vanadzor, and many outlying villages and towns. Tens of thousands of people have been reached through ARDA’s Medical clinic, feeding programs, early childhood educational programs, school restorations and building remodels, care of the elderly, widows and orphans programs, home building, youth ministry, radio broadcasts and education for self sustainability in our trade and technology center in Yerevan

ARDA is supported primarily by individual donors like you, family foundations and churches ARDA has a legacy of presidents who have not drawn a salary from the organizations finances. This allows overhead costs to stay low and frees donor money to directly benefit the people of Armenia. This practice has existed throughout the history of ARDA; from the founding president, Rev. John Mark. In 1998 Steve Lazarian, Sr., who had been serving as the ARDA Board Chairman, became ARDA’s second president. Mr. Lazarian remained as President Emeritus until his homegoing to be with the Lord on August 31, 2018 . In January of 2008, his son, Stan Lazarian, assumed the role of president and leads the mission of ARDA till this day.

Links to some of our partner organizations