Well, this isn’t the blog I expected to be writing when I got home, but here I am….back home with no visa. For those of you who follow our facebook page, the miracle didn’t happen as we expected. For those who aren’t on facebook and don’t know what’s happening – Bria, Lindsay, & I went to Poland this week to get my visa to be able to stay in Ukraine. Here’s a brief overview of the last 5 days:
On Monday we arrived and went to the consulate, where I was told my documents did not meet the requirements. I argued as much as I could that these were the documents my family used, but the man wouldn’t budge. He told us to come back at 2:00. I was so frustrated, because it is no secret that this man strongly dislikes all Americans and gives them trouble when they apply for visas. My plan had been to go in and threaten to join a group of Americans who are working towards getting him fired, or to give them a good report of him if he didn’t give me the run-around. But, I was not feeling released to go that route. We went back at 2:00, still nothing.
That night and the next morning God just kept speaking ‘love’ to us three girls. Loving others. Loving those who give you trouble. I was reading through Colossians this week, and was reading chapter 4 that morning. The whole chapter talked about loving those who are ‘outside’ and letting our speech be seasoned with grace. Lindsay was led to Psalm 134, which she encouraged me to read. As I read those passages, my eyes were opened to see this man through spiritual eyes. I realized, He doesn’t have the love of Christ in His life, so why should he treat others with love? I also realized one day he will stand before God, and without Christ, it’s not going to be a good meeting. Suddenly, I didn’t care about my visa anymore (at least not in that moment), all I cared about was him seeing God’s love for him. I mean, how will he see that love if the Americans who are requesting ‘religious’ visas go out and sign a petition to fire him? So, we went to the embassy again. Again, he told me he had no new information from Lviv and couldn’t issue my visa. I told him, “I promise I’m not trying to get you to give me a visa, but I just need to tell you that God loves you. And whether you give me the visa or not, He told me to tell you that. I hope you have a wonderful day and are blessed by God.” Again, he said come back later. He called that afternoon and said, “come tomorrow at 9:00 and I’ll give you the visa.” We went back…but he said his boss told him he couldn’t issue my visa based on the documents I had. I would have to wait until I could get new documents, documents that Lviv refuses to issue because they say they are unnecessary.
We talked to our lawyer in Lviv, and he said to go to another Polish city with a Ukrainian Consulate, submit my documents and I should have no problems. So we went this morning, again to be greeted by the words, “I cannot issue you a visa with these documents.” That was our last option. The lawyer said, “That’s it. She just has to come back, get her things, and leave for 3 months.”
Basically where we’re at is: there are 2 laws (basically one law, with one different word in each one) and the various government offices are using them against each other. The consulates use one law requiring documents from offices in Lviv, but those offices use the other law and refuse to issue those documents because they don’t see that they are needed. Nobody will budge,so I’m left with no options but to wait until the laws are clarified or somebody budges. Both offices could give me what I’m requesting (the documents or the visa), but neither one is willing to.
The only thing I can see in all of this, is that God has plans for me somewhere else right now. While it is frustrating because it is an unplanned extended trip, I have peace that this is God leading me to where He wants me. We (my family and I) feel that this is God preparing me for the future. I know He uses all things for His purposes and none of this is happening without Him seeing it. I am so grateful for the lessons in faith and love, and seeing others through His eyes; and I’m excited for whatever it is that He has for me.
Please pray as I prepare to leave in the next 3 or 4 days. Pray for peace and for God’s leading as to where I am to go (there are a few different options I am praying about and considering). Also, this obviously presents some unexpected costs – both travel and living. If God puts it on your heart to help support as I step into the unknown that God is leading me into right now, all help is appreciated (please see the ‘Support’ page at the top for information on how to send donations). And as always, prayer is invaluable! I will keep y’all updated as I have more details.