Monthly Archives: April 2009

Games, sports, and books!

aprilafrican-002Children in the African Youth Ministry took full advantage of Saturday’s 80 degree weather with basketball, soccer, sidewalk chalk and a trip to the playground.

After letting out all that extra energy, students settled into the classroom for a snack and the opportunity to pick out a book of their very own to take home and keep!

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Recommended Reading

story-of-my-lifeInterested in learning more about the plight of refugees around the world?  Just looking for a compelling read?  Steve Fackler of St. Paul Westlake recommends The Story of My Life: An Afghan Girl on the Other Side of the Sky by Farah Ahmedi. Ahmedi recounts her journey from her war ravaged country to a refugee camp and finally to the United States.  This book inspired Steve to attend BHITC’s Refugee Mentor Training last Saturday and become a mentor to newly arrived refugee families.  Check out a copy from your local library and find out more about the lives our refugees are fleeing.

Already read this book?  Let us know what you thought about it! Have another book to recommend?  We’d like to hear those, too!

Preparing God’s People to Serve New Refugee Families

On Saturday, we welcomed 16 new potential refugee mentors to a joint BHITC and Catholic Charities training. The truly amazing thing is we were only expecting about ten of them. People just kept coming and coming, some of which we had never met before!  God is stirring up His people to respond to the injustices taking place across the globe. In the next year, our Cleveland community will welcome hundreds of refugees, many of whom will come from Southeast Asia, due to the upheavals and horrors going on inside places like Burma and Bhutan.

This video gives you a glimpse of refugee’s lives today as they wait inside the camps for our country, city, community and churches to welcome them and help them start their lives again.

Refugee Mentors: Building Relationships with Popcorn

Written by Vicar Marc

Today Brie and I went back and visited with our refugee family. When we arrived there were only a few people, but they had extended family and a neighborhood friend arrive a bit later. We took some time to introduce ourselves again and then spent some time trying to communicate. This difficulty in communication reminded me of how they must feel on a daily basis when they are trying to get anything done. Some of the kids speak some English, but they have only been here for about three months and are only learning English at school. So it is taking some effort to learn this language that they will be surrounded with for the rest of their life.

Brie had brought some popcorn kernels with her, so after our communication attempt we decided to show them what popcorn is and what it does when you cook it. They looked at us like we were crazy, but they had all the prerequisite items to make popcorn: a pot and some oil. So we started the popcorn on the stove top and it started making noises. They looked at us wondering if this was ok. We assured them it was. When it was finished we poured it out onto a plate and everyone had some to eat. They couldn’t believe that popcorn came from those little kernels. It was fun to see the looks on their faces when they tried it out.

So, while we weren’t able to communicate very well verbally, I think that everyone had a lot of fun and got to at least build some relationships. Next time who knows what will happen, but I know that I am a little bit less nervous every time I go.

Just a reminder: People interested in learning more about this ministry, can register for a training session for new mentors that will be held this Saturday, April 18 from 9 am to 1 pm at Trinity, West 30th Street. Call Lesa at (216) 281-4673 to register…it’s free and so is the lunch we’ll provide!

Tutoring Bug!

Written by Jeanne Evers.

I started tutoring at Trinity a little over a year ago and have been seriously bitten by the tutoring bug!  Mary Forsythe, the site coordinator, is an awesome lady whose love for the kids – and the tutors – radiates from her face!  She always has a warm welcome and a smile for everyone!

I think the thing that really astounds me is not “just” the way the kids come running down the stairs to meet with their tutor, but the number of tutors who come right from work, or come from the other side of town, or  come even though they might not be feeling 100% but don’t want to miss a night – or disappoint a child!

A few weeks ago a new face appeared and in speaking with her, I found out that, No – she’s not  a tutor, but that didn’t stop her from driving  45 minutes to Trinity to see if she could help out in any way.  (She could!!)

While this has been only part of my experience at Trinity, I know that the same holds true for the other tutoring sites:  the dedicated coordinators, the enthusiastic students, and the committed tutors combine to make the whole tutoring experience a wonderful place to share and receive God’s love.

Never thought I’d be thankful for being bitten by a bug!!!

Refugee Mentors: Dyeing Easter Eggs!

dying-eggs1Written by Luanne Bole-Becker.

I had a nice, low-key visit with one of our refugee families today.  I took over a dozen hard-cooked eggs, eye dye, an Easter basket w/ plastic eggs, stickers, and jelly beans, etc.

The whole family dyed eggs.  I showed them how to make them with stripes and plaids and by coloring on them first with a clear crayon.  The egg dye kit came with silly face stickers, hats, etc.  We all laughed a lot.

Turns out they all like hard-cooked eggs too.  The youngest child ate 3!!!  We had devoured them all before I left.

I showed them the pictures of Jesus in the “My First Easter” picture book…AND the pictures in that same book showing a family coloring eggs.  They seemed to really like that.  Between the picture book and their knowledge of their own Bible, I think they understood our tradition of dying eggs is connected with the celebration of Jesus rising from the dead.

Blessings were had by all.

A Ministry of New Friends

burmesefamilyWritten by Brian Upton, Assistant Director

Here’s a picture  from our first visit with our refugee family from Burma, the Hit family.  We met them on Saturday.  They arrived in Cleveland in January after living in a camp in Thailand for 18 years! All the children pictured here were born in the camp…they’ve known no other life.  Now that they are here in Cleveland, BHITC’s volunteer mentors will befriend them and help them adapt to their new home.

Folks interested in learning more about this ministry, can register for a training session for new mentors that will be held on Saturday, April 18 from 9 am to 1 pm at Trinity, West 30th Street. Call Lesa at (216) 281-4673 to register…it’s free and so is the lunch we’ll provide!

Thwa meh naw! (‘Goodbye’ in Burman!)