The Eleventh Hour

How do I sum up the past month? It’s been yet another time of doubt and uncertainty. We didn’t have funding for our family. Our Thai visas were rejected. We had no idea if either of those factors would force us to leave Thailand long before we completed the work we have planned through June of this year.

Last Friday our time ran out and we had to leave Thailand for one last shot at obtaining visas. We would apply for Education visas, which requires a heavy class load but in theory should grant us legal status for the whole family. Just as we arrived, we heard from another family doing exactly the same thing through an embassy in another country. Their kids were rejected. This was a devastating blow to them and to us as well. Not only did it put the work of some fellow missionaries in jeopardy, but also did not bode well for our chances.

We came to Cambodia because this was the cheapest destination outside of Thailand. However, no one seems to come here for visa renewal. They go to Vietnam or Laos, but never Cambodia. I knew there might be a reason for this but due to the tight budget we had to risk being rejected in a country that might not be known for handing out visas easily. (All embassies are very different…usually hinges on the mood or personal leanings of the staff at each location).

We dropped off our paperwork Monday morning. They wouldn’t accept half of what we prepared…all the things they say are required like bank statements, birth and marriage certificates, flight bookings out of Thailand, proof of residency and sworn affidavits (which we also paid dearly for before leaving Thailand). They wouldn’t even take any of it. Before leaving the embassy, they asked me to come back later that afternoon because they weren’t sure they’d even bother processing it. Had to ask their superiors. So after all of this and after hearing of the trouble our friends had, this gave us little hope that things would go better for us. But we prayed, and we asked you to pray too.

Fast-forward two very stress-filled days, to today. I hopped into a tuktuk and headed toward the embassy with no clue what I would find on the other end. My head was swimming with thoughts as I considered the implications of being denied. And I prayed more. God, Your will be done. If You want us here, make a way.

I walked up to the window, handed over my claim ticket, and the attendant very anticlimactically dumped all six passports into the tray. Six passports with valid visas. And that was it. Done. Approved. Praise the Lord! I am still trying to process the fact that we are going back to Thailand with legal status.

We are so thankful for the opportunity we have to press ahead with our work. God has opened some pretty exciting doors and we would have been heartbroken if we had to leave it all undone. Thank you to everyone who prayed, and for those who have stepped up to bridge the gap for us financially. Two things never change: It never makes sense, and God always comes through. What a blessed life we live, to be entrusted with this ministry. And finally, we can turn our full attention back where it belongs, on the lost and hurting souls who need Jesus. We’re coming, kids. See you soon.

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