Visa Victory!

21 09 2007

On Monday, I drove down to Lome to renew our Togo visas. (I had tried to do it in August but I was denied due to the fact that our visas were still valid for a month.) I was not looking forward to this process, but it had to be done as the visas expired… on Monday.

Since I asked many of you pray for my trip and our visa renewals, I wanted to let you know that the trip was successful and the hand of God was with me.

First, the grumpy customs dude who rudely denied my request to renew the visas in August was actually helpful when I made the same request on Monday. He suggested (demanded?) that I change the wording of my explanation of why we were in Togo – which could be seen as being nit-picky, but since he gave me whiteout and didn’t force me to do my work back out in the crowded lobby, I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt. (Beside you guys were praying for me so – influenced by a holy hand – his motives had to be partly altruistic right?)

A huge burden was lifted off of my chest when the visa applications were accepted with out a fight. Answer to prayer #1.

Answer #2 came when I returned to the visa office on Tuesday. They had told me that I could pick up our passports at 4pm — too late in the day for me to make the drive home to Kara. So, I arrived there just before noon hoping that they had the visas done AND would give me the passports.

Things were looking up when I saw that grumpy customs dude was not at his desk.

Then one of the other customs guys starts talking to me in Kabiye saying, “Hey there! What’s up? You remember me right?” I indicated that there was a good chance we had met before but that I couldn’t remember where. Turns out, he used to work the customs checkpoint I drive through every week to get to one of the villages where I work.

Things were looking WAY up.

After more greetings and pleasantries, I humbly inquired as to whether our visas were done and if so, could I please get them now so I could drive home.  Since our common bond as Kabiye speakers had melted the bureaucratic ice, it was only a short matter of time before I had our 5 passports, which contained new Togo visas, in my hands. Praise God!

I thanked my Kabiye ‘brother’ and customs ‘saviors’ and happy hit the road for home. I was home by dinnertime and reunited with my family a full 14 hours before expected.

Thanks for praying for this trip and our visas. Rest assured, those prayers were answered.

Resoundingly.

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