Stock image courtesy Flickr

After a tumultuous late-summer escape following the Taliban’s occupation of their country, and an autumn spent jostled between temporary locations, eight Afghan men finally arrived safely in Rochester, MN in December of 2021, ready to create a new home

The men all live together in an apartment, and initially attended English classes offered by the city of Rochester, but they had to stop attending due to conflicts with their work schedules. Since the men mostly communicate with each other in Pashto or Dari, they did not have a consistent opportunity to learn English. Recognizing the need for English practice, Rochester Area Coordinator Adam Cheney started an ESL class for these men. 

A few weeks before their first scheduled class, Adam realized that none of the volunteers who signed up were still available. The timing of the class complicated matters further; the men were only available on Friday mornings, a time when many people have to work. Adam wanted a 1:1 student-to-teacher ratio but was baffled by how he was to find eight tutors at the last minute.


God provided just exactly enough people in just the right time


After praying about the situation, Adam sent out an open call to Arrive Ministries’ entire Rochester mailing list hoping to find a way to keep the ESL class alive. Miraculously, eight tutors responded within 24 hours: one tutor for each of the Afghan men. 

“I told all eight of them that they are an answer to prayer as I was earnestly praying about what I was supposed to do and how I needed tutors. Finding volunteers for a Friday morning can be challenging but God provided just exactly enough people in just the right time,” said Adam.

None of the tutors knew each other previously, coming from various churches and occupations. One volunteer even shared that he was happy to be taking Friday mornings off of work to help welcome Afghans into the community. 

Adam hopes that the tutors and students will develop meaningful relationships and find opportunities for further learning beyond the initial 10-week commitment. 

“Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that it’s okay to work in short bursts for a longer goal,” said Adam.