Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Yes, we see lots of problems . . . challenges . . . issues . . . needs! Here are just a few:

A clean environment is an unfamiliar concept to people who have come from the poorest living conditions imaginable. We have to work hard to teach the children not to litter. Though the maintenance crew at our complex tries to keep up, the trash is always overflowing.
In this community, people are desperate. They have little hope for a good future. Often, hard-earned money goes to buy the easy escape of beer. Weekends are so loud we can barely sleep as trucks race through the complex, people shout, and music pumps. But drinking happens all week long. Almost every morning when we open our door, we see beer bottles lying around. Broken glass is all over the ground, much of it half-buried. We worry about little feet stepping on this glass. We pray for adults who drink too much.
The landscape here suffers a lot. Not only is the ground covered with litter and glass shards, but the trees get damaged, too. People strip the shrubs of every leaf. Tree branches are snapped and left dangling. Part of this is caused by ignorance about a healthy environment. Part of it is human willful destruction. Please pray that we can teach the importance of caring for God's earth.
People who fail to pay their rent for several months in a row face a "set-out." Management removes all their personal possessions and locks the apartment. Adults frantically try to find a truck to move their things, a motel for the night, and another complex that will let them move in. Children stand around bewildered and tearful. Many move from one apartment to another, with each stay ending in a "set-out." How can these children learn what a real home is? How can they ever know the meaning of responsibility and stability?
Gang signs are written, painted, and sprayed throughout our apartment complex. Though the management works to remove these signs, we know that the gangs exist. Worse, the children are eager to "pretend" to be gang members. Kids as young as three will flash gang signs when asked to do something they don't want to do. Older kids are ripe to become real gang members. When you don't have a stable home, a real family, or money and a gang offers you just that . . . the temptation is often too great to resist.
Almost every child in our complex will be attending summer school this year. It's hard to pay attention to your homework when there are so many people around, so much noise, and so many other problems. It's even harder when English is your second language and your parents don't even speak it! Georgia was dealt an ugly blow this year when an overwhelming number of students failed the standardized CRCT testing. Please pray that we can know how to help the children focus and catch up with their studies.
While having lots of kids can be great fun -- and it certainly adds to the bustling merriment of a happy household like this one -- it can make things very hard on parents. Getting a job that pays enough to feed all those mouths is hard for a father, and many of these homes are fatherless. Often the mother has to work. How can she take good care of infants and toddlers when she's so tired? How can she find time to learn English and life skills if children are always demanding her attention? Will her children "fall through the cracks" of the educational system? These big families need our prayer!
Most of the refugees have experienced the ravaging effects of war. Many have physical injuries that we can see. Scars on faces. Amputated hands. Blinded eyes. Many more live with deep pain we hardly comprehend. Loved ones raped and murdered, other family member left behind in Africa, and things they can not bring themselves to speak about. When we go into homes to teach English, we are really there to minister with the love of God to these hurting hearts.
This sweet mother on the right (below) has seven children. She also has to work the night shift at a chicken factory. To get to her job, she rides in a van almost two hours. With these long hours at night, she needs to sleep during the day. But how can she get enough sleep with seven children. This mother is desperate to learn English so she can communicate with her children's teachers and maybe find a better job for herself. Most of the refugees Cathy works with are employed by chicken factories far away. Please pray that new avenues of income can be found. Pray that mothers can get better work hours. We need to find ways for these moms to stay in their homes -- and at the same time provide for their families.
Just a few of the problems we see daily have been touched on here. We ask that you keep these needs in your heart as you go before the Lord every day.

1 comment:

Contact Information said...

Wow! Thanks for the update! It will help my family to pray specifically for the problems in your complex and for God to work boldly through you! --Tim Yarbrough