Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What we do!

We moved to Atlanta from a quiet lakeside home in Missouri. Here in Atlanta, we rarely pause to take a breath! Our lives have completely changed in a single month. Instead of serene lake views, we see massive power lines overhead, children playing on dirt littered with broken beer bottles, and mothers carrying laundry on their heads! Our ears rarely hear birds singing or frogs croaking. Now we listen to loud, thumping Mariachi music through our windows. Heavy footsteps overhead creak our ceilings. Sirens wail, horns honk, the ice cream man jingles the bell on his little cart. The scent of fresh air has been replaced by an odd mix of pollution, spicy red chile sauce cooking, and fish stew wafting through the apartment. It's a whole new world!

What are we doing in the mix of all this? Here are a few of the things we've been up to.

Tim has tennis classes every morning for kids in our apartment complexes. Their mothers stand in the shade while the children practice hitting that pesky yellow ball.

We have learned to expect the unexpected. A "set-out" is a regular occurrence here. This happens when a family fails to pay their rent for several months. Eventually, the management has no choice but to evict the family. Sometimes the sheriff comes. All items from the apartment are put out in the parking lot and the door is locked. The adults frantically try to arrange for a truck to move their things, a motel to stay in for the night, and a new apartment complex to let them move in. Bewildered children cry and wonder what is happening. We have started an emergency "set-out" closet to provide food and drinks to families while they work to restore their lives.
Happier times occur, too! On Mother's Day, we bought several dozen roses. We walked around the complex knocking on doors and handing every mother a rose. It was a great opportunity to meet people and share Christ's love.
Walking around and meeting neighbors is something we do a lot! Our complex is 95% Hispanic, but we have met some African-American and Anglo neighbors, too. Imagine our surprise when we met this delightful couple from India! They are Hindus, but they said they had been to church when they visited America earlier. To them, Jesus is just another of their gods. We know He's the One True God. Pray for all our new friends.
Cathy teaches English classes on Wednesday mornings at Huntington Ridge. Women come with their children. Occasionally a man sneaks onto the scene to listen from the side. We sing the alphabet song and practice greetings and basic vocabulary.
In the Clarkston area of Atlanta, Cathy works in partnership with Terry Earl. They teach English, literacy and life skills to refugees from war-torn countries in Africa. It's great fun holding babies and laughing with our friends.

The after-school tutoring program at Huntington Ridge fills Tuesday afternoons during the school year. Children get off the bus and hurry to the tutoring room under the management office. Volunteers from our friends at Perimeter Church help with homework. Then it's time for playing outside, listening to a Bible story, and eating a yummy snack!

Andrei has played a huge part in our ministry. He loves to walk around outside and interact with the children. They are delighted with his car models, and the adults admire them, too. Andrei is baking lots of car cakes. This one was a big hit at the end-of-school party.
Thank you for praying for us and supporting our work among refugees and immigrants in Atlanta. We are excited to be part of what God is doing.

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