Before you get excited, there is still no movement on the visa front for us. We are still eagerly awaiting word from our LC (Logistics Coordinator) that the Department of Immigration has approved our TEP (Temporary Employment Permit, a.k.a. “Visa”) and that we are cleared to travel. At our last communication with him, he checked in to see if perhaps there had been any quicker than expected progress, but no such luck- our file was still “in process.” He plans to check back on 10/15 to see if there is any new word at that point. The good news is that once we receive this green light from the DOI, we can book our plane tickets and head out as soon as possible.
Until then, we are still in the waiting game, but it has not been an idle wait in the least. After a couple weeks at the beach (much needed after the 9 of us spent 8 weeks cooped up in quad living during training), we traveled back to KY and spent a week with our family and the church that was our childhood home church and the church in which we were married, First Baptist of Grayson (pictured below). The pastor of FBC graciously invited me to preach this past Sunday morning and during the service this video was shown:
Of course, I have seen videos like this countless times. But there I was sitting in an auditorium full of people from my childhood and many new folks I had never met, and I was reminded that these folks were just as much a part of sending us as anyone. Because of their faithful contributions to the Cooperative Program (CP) and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO), missionaries like us can be deployed and supported on the field. As a pastor I always knew the importance of this concept in theory, but now as a “sent out one” I understand in a new way how much of a lifeblood the CP and LMCO really are!
After preaching Sunday, we got to spend some sweet time with both sides of our family before heading back to Louisville (in the awesome van so graciously supplied by our sending church, Redemption Hill). We may not know all the reasons behind our visa delay, but we are sure that at least part of why God had us still in the US was for this meaningful time with FBC and family.
Now that we are back in Louisville, we have been extremely blessed by yet another sister church, Westport Road Baptist Church. Upon learning of our delay, one email to our local Baptist association yielded a quick response that Westport Road had a mission house that was vacant and available for us to use while we wait. I hope you are picking up on the theme here. All that goes into sending a family like ours to the field could not be accomplished by a single church or even a mission board. This is definitely a “cooperative” effort and we have already seen our faithful SBC brothers and sisters step up to meet needs like this time and time again. The house that WRBC has so graciously made available to us is perfect for us and will serve as a wonderful place to await our visa approval.
It may sound repetitive, but we would be remiss not to continue saying “THANK YOU” to all of the faithful Southern Baptists who make what we do possible. Your ministry to us is undoubtedly appreciated, but more importantly will be certainly rewarded by our Father who sees every bit of it. Please continue to lift us up in your prayers: 1) For quick and seamless visa approval and travel arrangements & 2) For quick sale of our mini-van that is still on the market.