Wednesday, January 15, 2020

January 2020

Back in Greece! While it's slightly chilly back in Regina (-35) it's like spring time in Athens! 

But even with night time temps at 8 degrees I wouldn't want to sleep outside... 

Apparently, there are over 55,000 asylum seekers in Greece and housing is insufficient. Some find empty hotels. Some tough ones remain sleeping on the street. Some are Greeks. 

Richard and I have about 14 ESL learners in our class. Today, we officially divided into "pre-beginners" and approximately level 1. I have the level 1's. What are they learning? "To be" (or not!) We are conjugating and listening, speaking, reading and writing. We've found a great ESL resource from Winnipeg. I add in reflection time and journalling. Richard is focusing on alphabet recognition and the very basics "My name is...." and how to spell names in English. 

Greek food is great - souvlaki, meatball soup, white bean soup, Greek salad, and a zillion bake shops filled with phyllo pastries covered with honey syrup. 

We've tasted, but not indulged! One bake shop owner gave us free tasting! 

We walk lots - about 3 hours a day - mostly on concrete. 

Our Omonia team is very welcoming, supportive and hardworking. 

Wednesdays we all have lunch together with the staff and refugees. Eleni cooked the soup and the refugee volunteers prepared the baba ganoush and other fixins'. 

While Eleni was busy today Richard gave a short lesson to all of us on forgiveness. One of the little Syrian boys (about 11 years old) did the translation into Arabic. His family came to Greece a couple of years ago and he and his sibs are fluent in Greek and learning English very well.  

Airbnb is highly in use by tourists, but there is some opposition as noted outside our little home away from home!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

At Corinth on Friday. Imagine standing where Paul preached and stayed for a few years. These are ruins where you can freely walk around....and we did. 

You see the canal? Dug out to facilitate ship transportation - It separates
the mainland of Greece from the peninsula. 

Thanks Eleini for your sweet hospitality at your family's cottage in the village. And for telling your story of how your family came to faith! 
So great!! 

Can I post the video if I can figure out how? 
Richard's class.
The team minus some of the YWAM and OM "kids" who had left the day before. Volunteers come from many places and various Christian churches. 

The "longer term" team is led by Eleini - a strong, confident and grounded Christian woman. She is supported by Ana and Jackson (USA) and Laura from Edinburgh.

Each of them are dedicating this time of their lives to this work.  
Other volunteers come for a few weeks to a few months, depending on their availability and the type of visa they are allowed. Such is the case with Amber and Adam Wood and their two sweet young daughters and Amy and Philip Woodward and their 2 teen sons. 

In short the work is to love on the refugees with open arms and wisdom. To offer them some sort of English training, share meals, clothes, milk formula, some legal assistance....but MOSTLY family. Everyone needs family. ALL the time. 

Last week in Omonia, Athens, Greece

In the 2nd week we tackled the topic of geography - vocabulary and application. 

In small groups after vocabulary was mostly grasped they created their fictitious countries. 

The sweet young girls created the country of GIRLS - inhabited ONLY by girls - population: 8,000,000! National food - coffee and sweets! 
Capital city - LOVE! 

Two of the men, created this country: PEACE. Capital city: SAFETY. "S" , one of the men had recently lost 2 brothers back in Syria. Peace and Safety are heavy on his mind. "S" had been a police officer in Syria and he has a beautiful wife and 3 very young, sweet children. He'd told me about their leaving Syria and how close they were to death crossing the Mediterranean in a wee boat. "S" is eager to learn, laughs easily, and is learning Greek as well as English. But...after he'd heard of the death of his brothers....he had times of distraction and sadness. Rightly so. And this explains his themes for the map. Being part of the Omonia Church is so helpful for ones like "S" who can receive comfort and family to help in healing and adjustment!  

Friday, January 25, 2019

Potty training in ancient Greece

An interesting archaeological find

2nd week in Athens

We are bonding with our sweet students! We can't share photos of our students on social we won't. Sharing could endanger the student's parents back in the home countries....

Richard and Amber are teaching a,b,c's to 18 adults a day. Alphabet, vowels, word families, capital and lower case letters, simple sentences.....over and over...and over. Besides learning English I'm learning many also source out Greek language schools. My class averages around 10 and this week we had fun practicing "Everyday Routines" and "geography" vocabulary and simple concepts. They had SO much fun drawing their own fictional country. My two young girls, aged 13 and 16 created the country of GIRL, capital city of Love, national anthem is done to RAP music and the national food is coffee! oh yes, Dance is the National Sport. A couple of my male students created the country of PEACE with Safety as the capital. How fitting! The best place in the world for them is PEACE. Who doesn't want it? 

One of my fellows was a policeman back in his former home. His 13 month old baby boy sits quietly beside him on a big person's chair and never causes a fuss! Baby Raad is good at handing out kisses! My police friend says the family was 5 minutes from death while crossing the boat across the sea. They are safe here - but with new challenges. 

My 10 students are from 5 different countries and speak about that many languages! 

Twice a week a great lunch is prepared for all of us - around 100 people - we help hold babies while mom's eat! 

Serving alongside us has been the YWAM group from Jerusalem. YWAM Abigail from Michigan helped me for the past 2 weeks. Also the Operation Mobilization group has been a huge help and leave at the end of next week along with us. 

Eleini, Ana, Jackson and Laura and some of the new immigrant Christians head up all the work. They are busy - lining up volunteers, visiting in immigrant homes, visiting them in the hospital...lining up groceries, welcoming newcomers, ....They've just decided that they are going to each take every 3rd Friday off! Perfect.....I'm so glad to see sensible work environments, especially those involved in this kind of work. Take care of yourself....otherwise you won't be able to care for others. 

Today, Friday was our day "off" so we went to see the Athens Archeological Museum. It was crowded, perhaps because it was a VERY rainy day and because it is SO unique. Our legs wore out before we were done.....there is so much there and we've already walked over 80 km since we arrived and all on cement and marble! 

Sight-seeing is interesting, but spending time with our new friends is much more rewarding. and my preference! 

January 2020 Back in Greece! While it's slightly chilly back in Regina (-35) it's like spring time in Athens!  But even with n...