Here's the June update from Jill:
I'm fresh back from a visit to the Ah Mee family. They looked well, and Po Lone and the girls are speaking more and more English. They are all going to summer school but apparently it is only for 16 days.
The rent on the apartment has gone up, so they are hoping to find a different place to live. Because they are also repaying a portion of their flight from the refugee camp (that's part of the refugees' agreement with the Refugee Resettlement program), they have to make sure that the rent stays close to the same amount that they are currently paying. Now they spend $846 on rent. Their airplane repayment bill is $124. I actually thought they got a good deal on that for 5 people as NoSa is paying just under $100 for 4 of them and that was from a year prior.
I saw their caseworker, Kyaw Kyaw, on Monday. He told me that he is getting up to 3-4 new families a week and is working 7 days a week to try to keep up with the caseload. So many refugees are still coming, even in this tough economy. I asked Po Lone about his brother who is still in a camp in Thailand. He now has a baby girl. They are delayed in applying to come because his wife hasn't been issued a refugee card yet due to the continuing influx of people from Myanmar. Once she gets a card, it could take a few years for the application process to go through. They are then hopeful he will come to America. It must be so hard for Ah Gate and Ah Mee not to have all their children here together. It also turns out they have an uncle in Minnesota who came in June of last year. It makes you wonder if they thought they'd all get placed together when they came. What a shock to discover how many miles separate Arizona from Minnesota.
It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since the Ah Mee family came to the United States. With so much to learn and such a different culture to get acclimated to, they have come a long way.
Po Lone said he would like to worship in a variety of English-speaking churches, so we are going to bring him to Grace with us again some Sunday.