A Typical Atypical Day

In order to stay in the country where God has called us to serve, we have to regularly renew our residence permits. Recently, we had an appointment scheduled for this renewal and everything seemed to be in order, in terms of documentation, according to the list we were given.

However, on that day, the gentleman behind the desk decided that we also needed one additional document which we could only get from the Canadian consulate. So I sent my family home and took the subway to the consulate in the city where we live. Unfortunately, when I arrived, I was informed that this particular document was only produced by the embassy in the capital city, and only delivered in person.

A few days later, my alarm went off at 4 am. I got ready, hopped in the car and drove to the airport. By 6:30 am, I was flying to the capital where I landed forty-five minutes later. I went to a small café and waited until a kind man from the embassy arrived. He had offered to meet me near the airport to save me the forty-minute taxi ride to the embassy. In the café, he gave me the documents that we needed and, before long, I was boarding the plane back home. It was only a two-hour visit to the capital.

After landing back in our city, I drove home and gobbled down some early lunch. Since it was snowing heavily by now, I decided that I should try and submit our paperwork in time before the city came to a standstill due to the snow. This involved a short taxi ride, a subway, a transfer to a different subway, and finally a third subway. After going through security at the Foreigners Bureau, I rushed upstairs to the office of the man handling our permits. He asked me to wait outside.

Finally, the man called me in and went through our documents one final time. As he did so, he hesitated. There appeared to be a problem with one of our passports. In that moment, I prayed silently. I chose to relax and trust that if God was inviting our family to stay in the country, a misplaced stamp in my passport wouldn’t prevent us from acquiring the permit.

After a short talk with his supervisor, the man informed me that everything was accepted and that we would have our residence permits in our mailbox within fifteen days! It was a huge relief and an answer to prayer. We had not been sure how things were going to work since our old permits had lapsed and we were unable to renew them before our last trip out of the country.

Anyways, after three more subways and a relaxing twenty-five minute walk in the falling snow, I was back home.

Living overseas involves jumping through many bureaucratic hoops. To be honest, I kind of find these hoops refreshing because it means that most days are unique, and you never know what’s going to happen. It’s a journey in learning to trust. The One who has called us is faithful.

**Please pray for this family and others like them who regularly face challenges with residence permits, visas, and a host of other bureaucratic requirements. Pray for patience, wisdom and for God’s provision of all that is needed to continue serving in other countries. By the way, the residence permits arrived into this family’s mailbox exactly fifteen days after their papers were submitted. Praise God!

By a worker in a restricted area