Elastic Basket for my Peaches

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

I hate visas!

I have been super busy and we had to fast from electronic media last week. This two things have combined to explain the tardiness of this blog entry.

Most DTS schools are marked by some sort of issues. Usually it is immaturity and poor decision making by the students. Our students are amazing but we've been bogged down logistically to the extreme! Our first hurdle was finances. Up until the final deadline, it was not even guaranteed that my co-leader would be going. He got his money on the last day possible and we found a way for all our team members to go. It was somewhat miraculous, definitely nerve-wracking and totally glorifying to God.

Our current hurdle is visas. Other teams have used a service on the internet that takes your visa application and passport to the consulate and gets you a visa. They have had pretty good luck so far. We did not. I am currently asking the Lord to forgive me for my hatred towards Jeff, the visa guy. First we found out that our Americans' visas would all cost $10 more a piece because the price literally changed between the time our passports and paperwork were mailed and when they arrived at the company. The annoying part was that they weren't able to tell us in advance so we had to go to the trouble of paypaling the money. Then we find out that they our foreign students don't have the kind of visas for the US that they "need." Then we have to send them a letter on our letterhead that says they are going to school in the USA. We also had to fax all their flight info. Another hassle.

After we fax this in, they tell us that our Canadian needs to prove she is actually in America. In order to do this, we had to take Sarah and her identification to a notary to prove she is indeed here. So weird! Then they tell us that our paperwork for our Korean and our German is wrong but that they are processing our Indian. They try to convince us to change the paperwork and let them try again. We decide they have not proven speedy or trustworthy so we will take our chances elsewhere.

They processed our Americans and Canadian. Then they told us our Indian got rejected. We looked into our options and we can get visas for the German and the Koren in Hong Kong. Because of India's relationship to the country we are going to, it is impossible to get him a visa there. We have one last hope for Daniel, our Indian's visa. We found a company that said they can do it in time for a price. Please pray that this works out. We all want him to go so bad. If it all works out, the visa will come Wednesday and we leave Thursday morning. Talk about cutting it close!

Despite daily talks and emails to Jeff the visa guy and daily discouragements in that department, God has been so good to us. I sent out an email prayer request about the visas and one of my long-time supporters has offered to pay the cost of our two nights and three days in Hong Kong as we get the visas for our German and our Korean. This is a huge blessing as our team is already going out short on funds so that everyone could go. I feel like this will all work out in the end but I definitely need your prayers.

One of our students, Grace has also had some bad news. Her uncle who lives in the USA was visting her family in Korea. While there, he fell off a ladder and went in to a coma. On Thursday he died. This is sad of course but also presents tons of problems as he has died in a country where he is not a citizen. There is a chance that Grace's family will be responsible for his $100,000 medical bill. Also Grace's dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer a few weeks ago. He had surgery and it seemed okay. The same day she found out about her uncle, she found that her dad's cancer was worse than they thought and it had spread to the muscle. The doctors think they got most of it with surgery but are still deciding treatment as it is a fast growing cancer. Poor Grace is so far away. She is praying about whether or not she is supposed to go home. Please pray for her family.

And just when I start to feel overwhelmed by all these logistical problems, I hear of something so terrible that my troubles pale in comparison. I just found out sad news from the church I grew up in. An 18 year-old kid, Bryan Evans was on our church's annual youth trip when he died in his sleep. He had diabetes and I assume his death had something to do with that. How tragic! He was an only child who had just graduated high school. I can't imagine how terrible that was for the other high school kids to find him dead like that. What a nightmare! My heart goes out to his friends and family. I didn't really know him myself though I knew who he was and I think I babysat him at a church retreat years ago. From what I hear, he was a great guy and he loved the Lord. Please pray for all the people who loved him.

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