|Posted by gramma on April 17, 2016 at 1:15 AM|
We have had another good week and time is beginning to fly by even faster. We have now surpassed the 300 hour mark in reading. Many come every day and we do see some progress in those whose English is limited. A few are self-taught and at the beginning they struggled to read because they have learned by listening to movies and music; they have never learned grammar and they have read very little in English. After a couple of weeks their reading improves markedly as they see many words over and over again. With their limited ability to actually speak English, we seldom know what they readlly understand about our lessons, but we do know that their ability in English is advancing, and that will undoubtedly be a blessing to them in the future, no matter where thay land.
On Friday we learned that one of our Iranian refugee readers was arrested by the police. He is a really nice guy so this came as quite a blow to us and because his wife and her sister, as well as the sister's husband, are all readers we also had some holes in our schedule on Friday as they were trying to find out where he was being held. This reinforces the uncertainty with which many of our readers must live everyday. The date on his documents had expired, even though he had been given a date for review which is past his expiration date, he is still held liable for expired documents and being out of the camp with said documents.
As we are here longer we have begun to understand a bit more of the process the refugees must go through. It goes something like this: When they first arrive, usually illegally, they are given a document that allows them to be 'legal' for one month and they soon get an appointment to plead their case for a longer (2 mos.) period. They are supposed to stay where they receive this first document (not Athens) but virtually all of them come to Athens anyway and the appointments are all after the expiration of the document. Consequently, probably all of our readers are here in Athens illegally and risk being picked up when they come to our reading sessions. Another interesting thing we are gradually learning is that for whatever reason, the Iranians believe that they have a better chance of making it to Germany, Sweden or even the US, if they pretend to be from Afghanistan. So many have changed their names and destroyed their Iranian passports and IDs. However, their only real chance of getting into Europe legally is if they have their real Iranian documentation.
One of Steve's readers is Belorussian, married to a Greek. She is not a believer, but from the outset was interested in the idea that God rewards us when we trust Him. At her last reading session, she teared up when Steve shared how God had blessed his career after we began to do LST every year in spite of the drain on his time in regard to doing research at UCSB. At the end of the session she shared that she would likely not return to read. She said she would probably be going back to her native Belarus without her husband. Steve asked if she would like to pray about the decision and he prayed for God's leading, again tears flowed. We don't yet know for sure the 'rest of the story.'
We had a small but good party on Saturday this week. All whoo were there had a lot of fun. We are thinking now that Saturday was not the best day to have a party. We also had quite a few no-shows for reading that day. Oh well, live and learn. Next Sunday all three cgroups that meet in the church building where we read will meet together for a meal and the church is inviting all the readers to join in. Should be fun.