As we mentioned in previous posts, we started the process of getting new visas back in October, using our trip to Israel to apply for new visas. Our application was denied, due to having the wrong documents. We re-entered Ukraine legally, but without visas, as we are allowed to be in the country for 90 out of 180 days as tourists. Amidst the busyness of the holidays, we have been trying to keep abreast of the visa law changes (which are changing about once a month right now), making sure we would have all the necessary documents and be ready to try again once the holidays had passed.
Our plan was to go this week for a day to Poland to get new visas, but confusion over the new laws made that impossible. To cover our bases, we called ahead to the Ukrainian consulate in Poland to verify which documents they would require of us. One thing they mentioned that we did not yet have was a stamp from the Religious Affairs government office on our official letter of invitation from the church. However, when the administrator at our church went to request that stamp, Religious Affairs refused to give it, stating that they had already given us everything necessary (a separate letter from them) to receive visas based on the law. Numerous conversations have transpired with both the Ukrainian consulate in Poland, and Religious Affairs here in L’viv, and they are always the same – on one end, visas will not be issued without the stamp the law requires; and on the other end, the stamp the law does not require will not be given.
Dad has been in contact with the American Embassy here in Ukraine, seeing if they can offer any assistance, as well as calling a lawyer for legal advice. The church administrator has made many calls to Religious Affairs, different Ukrainian consulates in Poland, government offices in the capital, Kyiv, etc. At the moment, though, we are stuck with no option available of getting visas. Dad is continuing to make any calls he can, as are the lawyer and church administrator, and we are waiting for God to intervene. We have about 3 weeks left before our 90 days run out. In the meantime, we rest in the hands of our sovereign Lord.
Krista is on her way to Cyprus on Sunday, and is not worrying about getting a visa at the moment, as it is an unnecessary expense; by the time the school is over, she can re-enter the country for another 90 days and get her visa then. Please pray for her as she travels on Sunday and please pray for a quick resolution in our visa situation – that we would get the documents we need, they would be accepted, and we would be issued visas.
Thank you so much for your constant prayers and support. May the Lord richly bless you!
Bria, Lindsay, & Krista