I (Jody) roughed out this blog last October. I’ll continue the story in later blogs.
Although it’s hard to believe, we finished our first three-year term with Reach Beyond September 23. Thus it’s time for our first Home Ministry Assignment (HMA), when we return to the U.S. to connect with our supporters and share how God is using us here. (HMA used to be called furlough.)
Since Oregon’s weather is so beautiful in August and September, we tentatively scheduled a six-week HMA to begin in late August or early September. Our two-year missionary visas were expiring August 14 and we were applying for residency visas, which would be valid indefinitely. We aren’t sure how long God will have us here, but if it’s more than two more years we will come out ahead.
Thus we couldn’t buy plane tickets until our visas came through. Scott needed to get his visa first, since my visa would be as his spouse. His came through Wednesday, August 10, but alas we were missing one of my documents, still in the U.S. being notarized and authenticated. (This is a long story, centering on my not having sufficient fingerprints to get the FBI criminal history report required for the visa.) So, since Friday was a holiday and my visa expired on Sunday, we took what we had of my application to the visa office on Thursday and asked what we should do. “Turn in the incomplete application,” they told us. “Within a month you’ll get an email telling you what you are missing and giving you two months to complete your application. Print that email and bring it in when you have your missing document.”
O.k., that’s good—I’m not going to be put in prison or expelled from the country. My missing document arrived, but the email didn’t. I checked my spam filter and my junk mailbox (Scott’s email from the visa office had gone to his spam filter).
After five weeks we went back to the visa office; they had sent the email four days before! They had my email address right, but I never received the email. But we were able to submit the final document. They said they would send another email, and if we didn’t hear anything within ten working days, we should come back.
That was four weeks ago. Today was our seventh return to the visa office. Last Friday and today we were told my visa has been approved since September 29 and only needs a signature from the supervisor. Evidently she’s tired of signing visas, as it’s been sitting on her desk for more than two weeks.
So we are waiting. I had my heart set on being in Oregon in September, and now I’m thinking, “Maybe November?” This limbo of not being in control and not being able to finalize plans is paralyzing and de-motivating. (Hence this blog being posted four months later.)
In the grand scheme of things, this is NOT a big deal. I have friends fighting big battles with cancer, dementia, grief, and loss.
And yet this is my fight right now, to be content when God says, “Not now.” To not be anxious or grumble. To be faithful in what God has for me to do each day. To wait patiently for His time.