Today was such a great way to begin to close out our time here in Athens! We started the day by watching kids while their mothers were able to be seen by a doctor. Afterwards, Abbey, Jenna, Tasha, and I were invited to a woman’s house to eat some Afghani food! She called it Koo-Koo..which was shredded potatoes and onions baked/fried together in oil with some turmeric! I know it might sound crazy…but it was pretty good! She also served it with a type of Afghani pita bread. After that, she served us a warm Cardamom tea! Being invited into this woman’s home was such a humbling experience. We ate on the floor since she did not have a table. She repeatedly kept apologizing that we had to sit on the hard floor and she would apologize that she hadn’t made some type of food that was more “fancy”. No matter how many times we told her that her food was amazing or that the floor was fine, she would keep saying sorry! I will say though, that we were super stuffed by the end of the meal! It’s an honor to the cook in the Afghan culture to eat a good amount of food..shows respect towards her..so..she kept dishing up Koo-Koo and we kept eating it(;
During our tea and conversation, her neighbor joined us. This neighbor, was a 23 year old woman from Iran, it was so neat to be able to talk to both of them! The women were able to be more relaxed, (or “chillaxed” as one of them would say:) since we were able to be in the comfort and safety of her own home. An amazing experience to be a part of though, was the 23 year old began asking questions about the Bible and about our God. The older woman had a Bible translated to Farsi that she was able to bring out and share with the younger woman.
At one time, the 23 yr old woman said, “The one thing I would pray and ask God, is if America is such a free and welcoming country, then why will they not accept us refugees?” Wow..what a question to be thrown in your face. My heart broke for her and so many other Afghani and Iranian refugees that are temporarily in a waiting period here in Athens…waiting to get to Germany or where-ever they can go or will be accepted. She was such a curious person and asked so many questions. She also said she secretly wanted to learn more about Jesus..but not to let any of the other refugees know. The older woman let her borrow her Farsi Bible and Tasha led her to the book of John. I would love to see her continue to grow in curiosity and wonder about God. I pray for her and that her questions and curiosities will be answered through the Bible. I also pray that she would be able to come visit the Helping Hands center tomorrow for our tea day!
In all honesty though, it was such an amazing experience. I truly feel like that experience…that fellowship and friendship shared in that time.. in that house was such a completion to this trip in Athens.
Side note to today… the 23 year old woman asked us where we live in America! We were able to pull up a map on our phones and show the women where me and Abbey live! Right in the middle of America! Showed her how far away we were from home! Kinda a neat thing(:
Yesterday was also an amazing day! My heart became SO full of love and joy and happiness!
On Wednesdays at Helping Hands, we give an opportunity for women to bring their kids to be able to all get showers! We had a few different women come and we were all able to sit and chat! Wednesdays are also a little more laid back because there are no men in the building and the women are all able to be a little more relaxed and even take off their head-wraps. We also serve them a lunch, which, today was a pasta-spaghetti type dish!
We pulled out a bunch of roller skates for the kids and we played for hours..literally..with these kids! It was such a blessing to be able to see them all having fun and laughing together! One girl in particular seemed to not want to play with any of the other kids or any of the other workers. I had been able to color and play with this girl the day before, so we were pretty close buddies already. But, I went up to her and she willingly started skating next to me! I was SOO excited that I had made that kind of connection with her that she felt like she could trust me!
This same girl at lunch, even started hollering at me, trying to tell me that she had saved me a seat right next to her and her mom and siblings! I was completely blessed by her spirit and her smile! During the meal, she leaned in close to me, and the first English I had heard her spoke was, “I love you”. Wow…talk about pulling at the heart strings. I couldn’t help but to tear up and smile and tell her that I loved her too. So many kids have blessed me while on this trip in Athens. I can’t help but get sad to think that we only have one more day of being able to be with them and love on them!!
I’m so thankful for the time I still have here! I’m honestly having a hard time making sure my mind stays focused here..in Greece..right now. I do not want my mind to wander off to home, or the everyday schedule to pick back up on when I get back home. I pray that I can keep my heart and my mind right here in Athens while we are still here. I want to be able to be fully present in this last week of life in Athens! Also praying for the women and children here in Athens that are stuck in the middle and cannot get into Germany but would like to keep moving forward. Pray that they don’t get sent back to Afghanistan or Iran. Pray for their hearts to be open.
Till next time,