Thanks to a Dutch law, an Armenian family has found shelter from deportation in Bethel Church in the Hague. According to this law, authorities can’t enter a church while services are being held. When facing deportation, the Tamrazyan family sought help from Bethel Church. In response, the church began a service on October 26th that is going around the clock, bringing in more than 400 pastors from around the country, according to CBC.
The Tamrazyan family has lived in the Netherlands for nine years. They were initially granted asylum, but that decision was recently overturned, according to the CBC. There is, however, a provision that may allow them to stay, referred to as a “children’s pardon,” according to CNN. This law allows families with children who have been living in the Netherlands for more than five years to be granted a pardon.
The Tamrazyan family has three children. Their daughter Hayarpi, now 21, has frequently used Twitter to thank the volunteers for their efforts.
The pastor of Bethel Church, Derk Stegeman, explained his motivation for helping the Tamrazyan family to the CBC: “We are doing it to show to ourselves and to our community, to our government, that civilization and love in life and civilization, it’s not by expelling people, expelling children. We are trying to prove that it can be different.”
The 24-7 service became so popular that the church had to have tickets for its Christmastime services in order to control the crowd. When asked about the future, Hayarpi, said,
“I really don’t know what the outcome will be, but we hope we can stay here (in the Netherlands), because this is our home, this is where we belong. And my brother, my sister and I, we grew up in the Netherlands and we have been living here for almost nine years.”
Amazingly, Hayarpi is still tweeting, and the 24-7 service is continues on.