October/November Newsletter

A Thousand Lights

Dear people,

It’s been two months since the night we landed amid a thousand lights in Minneapolis, lugged our mountain of luggage up two flights of stairs, and slept four hours.

We live on three stories in an apartment on 30th Avenue, not far from some of the saddest parts of this city. Our house parents, Brad & Gwen Horst (September) and Joseph & Janna Schrock (October & November) have done wonderfully at making the Hive a place we teachers love to come home to after classes. In the mornings, we meet to sing and pray together. In the evenings, we linger around the table, discussing these Afghan students who so quickly became our friends. We schedule their drive test appointments, read their medicine labels, and take them to the store, the dentist, or the lawyer. We talk like our students, with refreshingly basic terms: “This is good! This is no problem. Class finished. T’ank-you, teacher.”

It’s a blessing to feel more confident at teaching English after we get through the first few weeks. We take off our shoes, hug the ladies thrice, and sit on the floor, (even though there are couches). The hours spent on the floor add up fast, and we get used to it, although it can be a bit uncomfortable for new teachers. The men teach most of their classes at the Teahouse, picking up the students, and then dropping them off afterwards at home or work, while the girls go into homes or apartment complexes to teach.

Here are two excerpts of conversations with students:

Student: “They are cousin-sisters.”

Teacher: “Cousin-sisters?”

Student: “Yes, cousin-sisters!”

Student: “Teacher, what is the word for when you are talking to someone and they are not looking at you?”

Teacher: “Ignore?”

Student: “Yes, ignore!”

We ask a student about her family, and she bravely says in broken English: “Yesterday my brother come to Ohio. Married. Wife in Afghanistan. She is calling—she is very sad, very sad.”

Waiting for a student to get into the vehicle: “Teacher, five minutes I am coming!”

A young boy talks about those he & his parents left behind in Afghanistan. “Every evening I am talking to my family.”

Sitting on the floor in a third level apartment. This student is approximately age 20, she is expecting her first baby in a strange land. She and her young husband share this apartment with relatives. There is a subdued spirit, loneliness, behind her graceful hijab. She sets plates of fresh fruit before us on the floor with a brief smile and says quietly, “Thank-you for you.”

Relaxing with the Team

Relaxing with the Team

Walking to class

Walking to Class

We feel blessed at how God answers prayers and shows us ways to bring Christ into Muslim mindsets. One student wonders what we believe about the afterlife. Another woman uses her daughter as interpreter and asks us how we pray. Another student is appalled at her American neighbor who does not live with her spouse. But then another (of the same religion!) asks a team member about getting a second wife or girlfriend in America, while his true wife remains in Afghanistan. This is when we long to eradicate language barriers!

These people were uprooted from all things familiar and bounced from military base to hotel to apartment. They can hardly drive or go shopping. Their babies are born in a strange land. I never saw a grown woman grasp her pencil like a preschooler and concentrate so hard to draw these things called English letters.  They learn that backward reading for them is forward reading in America. “To” gets pronounced “ot”, because that is how it was in the old country. How do we teach words like “possibility” and “opportunity” to ladies who hardly experienced either in their homeland, much less understand these things in English? So different from the independent American woman pursuing her career… but their deepest needs are all the same. Needs for friendship, for belonging, for the Light of the world.

At times we can piece together bits of their pasts and all that used to be normal, discovering such sad, broken pieces that we want to weep for all that we have and they do not. One man is here without his wife, because he was not home when he got the orders to get on the plane. To go back for his wife would likely cost him his life. So, he fled over here alone and calls his wife every day. This is a common situation.

We go to a little boy’s house and learn that he is unnaturally quiet and passive, due to things he experienced in his 2-year-old life. He is easily frightened by times, but we win him with snacks and toys. A smile and then laughter!  And a couple months later, we walk out of his life and hope that someone else will be here to take our place. Like our students would say, “This is no good. This is a problem.”

City life is so different for most of us! Everything is close. Bridges, buildings, sirens, lights! Shady, tree-lined streets invigorating in the calm of morning, while most of the city still lies asleep. In our free moments, options abound—volunteer at the soup kitchen, roam a 2-story Goodwill, walk the banks and bridges of the Mississippi River, or explore the ethnic shops. This is good!

We also have the privilege of riding the metro and singing to the passengers on multiple Sunday afternoons. It opens the door for sincere questions, mere curiosity and new friends. We’re able to pray with people, give them a Bible, or simply tell them what we are here for. We meet one lady whose son has recently been gunned down in the street and she’s distraught and desperate to talk. Another lady needs shoes, so we’re able to share footwear and the Lord with her. Sometimes we’re met with indifference or hostility and face some intense encounters with people who are angered by Who we represent—the Light of the world! We come home reminded that life is a battlefield, not a playground.

Thank-you for praying for ARC! For me, this is a world of new possibilities, friendships, hopes and heartaches. We think of our families and friends at home and thank God for you! May the Light of the world shine on your path, wherever it leads, and on ours, amid a thousand other lights.

-a teacher

Class Time

Class Time

October team picture

October Team Picture

Staff Highlights

November Team Picture

November Team Picture

Building Fund Update

Housing in Minneapolis is quite expensive. It is our largest expense! Cur-rently we are renting a 4 bedroom and a 2 bedroom apartment to house our volunteers. We are also renting a small house that we call the TeaHouse where we teach some of the English classes. All together it is costing al-most $6,000 per month.

We need another house for a couple that is planning to come as administra-tor in January which will raise our monthly rent to around $8,000!

We would like to purchase a property that could fill all of our current needs at one location. This would reduce the mileage, cutting fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.

We estimate a building/apartment complex that would meet this need to cost us at least $600,000. As a new organization, we are not comfortable going deeply in debt and are starting a building fund for this need.

If you feel the Lord’s leading to help with this need please note your contri-bution for “building fund”.

Singing on the Metro

Singing on the Metro

Prayer Requests

  1. Pray for the refugees that they could experience the love of Jesus in their lives.
  2. Pray for the staff that they may stand strong spiritually as they live in the city and relate to students.
  3. Pray for the board that God would direct their efforts. 
  4. Pray that God would provide volunteers for the work.

Volunteer Needs


Long Term

Ukrainian Refugee Opportunity

We would like to take the opportunity to thank the churches and individuals that have been a support to our resettlement projects. Some have shared financially, and others have taken the step of sponsoring a family. Still others have expressed interest and are considering getting involved.

The opportunity for sponsoring a Ukrainian family is still available. We have more families in Ukraine and the surrounding countries, than we have sponsors. If you think there is interest in your church please contact us and we will provide you with the information needed and help you decide if it would be a good option for you