Beyond every expectation we had just yesterday morning, we now have visas to enter Cameroon for the whole family! They are multiple entry, and good through August, so we will use these same visas for the move this summer.
Some of the backstory is necessary to fully appreciate the arrival of these visas. You can read the details of the Cameroon Application 1 getting denied in previous post (Visas – Episode III).
Initially there was no reason given, but Kent was able to get them on the phone before they closed. Apparently the background of our photos was not white enough? We scrambled that Friday night to gather the prepaid envelopes & new pictures for Application 2. Our first attempt took 12 days total. We now only had 9 days left before departure.
I should add that our zip code has the most unreliable postal service I’ve ever heard of in the United States. We have had items delivered two streets over, next door or not at all. We’ve had several items damaged by being mishandled. And if we put an envelope out to send, it may wait 5-6 days before they take it.
We discussed the possibility of changing airline tickets, but our kids’ Spring Breaks could not move. We had purchased these tickets specifically for their comparatively lower cost. If we moved our flights back even one day it would potentially cost us $1100/person! We cried out to God for a miracle & for favor. We Emailed an urgent request to pray these visas would return by Monday March 4.
We saw the tracking numbers hand-deliver Application 2 last Monday morning (2/25), as we hoped, but we needed them processed and back in the mail Friday to get them on time in Texas. The week crawled by with our whole family wavering between faith & doubt. Friday afternoon came & went without movement.
We discussed the possibility of flying to WA DC to retrieve them in person, or the wildest idea – to leave the airport and try to get them during our two-hour layover at Dulles! We are carrying a few bags for other people, and we began to feel the weight of missionary kids not getting the books or gifts they needed. This was not only affecting our family.
Friday I left for a weekend Women’s Retreat, where time in worship and teaching bolstered my faith. Many sisters stopped to pray over me. I believed God would take care of us with or without this trip. Still it didn’t seem likely to happen since our passports had not been mailed back yet. No Embassy is likely to work the weekend. I posted the stagnant news on social media.
Within minutes, a sweet friend with experience in embassies in WA DC offered to go Monday morning in person on our behalf. We held out hope they would let her in without an appointment and she could overnight our passports back to us Tuesday for our Wednesday morning departure! We called it our ‘hail Mary’ pass because there were still so many possible obstacles.
BUT GOD heard so many prayers lifted up on our behalf!
Against all the odds and circumstances, on Sunday evening at 6:15pm Kent’s phone beeped with notification that our envelope of passports had arrived in Fort Worth. ?!? There were no records of it ever leaving DC, nor passing through anywhere in between. On a Sunday evening – it just appeared. We were baffled. Was it an error? Kent felt that if they were indeed our passports, it would pop up again soon on the move. Sure enough, at 8:30pm they were leaving the distribution center for the Post Office!
We continued to pack our bags, still hoping it was true, they would be correctly delivered, and they would all have the right visas stamped inside.
So much hope.
Then at 1:00pm, our mysterious envelope full of passports arrived at our house! We tore it open to find 5 perfect visas! And guess what day it was?? Monday March 4. Exactly when we had prayed for them to arrive. We’re not sure how or why, but they are here and our trip is on!
We serve a God for whom nothing is impossible! Thanks to everyone who has been praying for this! God’s faithfulness to hear us and continually guide and provide for us is astounding. Join us in praise and thanksgiving for this miracle! We’re looking forward to a productive trip, and good preparation for our move this summer.