Life is crazy. I don’t know how many times I have said, see “Well, if we can just get through this week, next week will be normal,” but the reality is every week is different. Every week has unexpected events and interruptions. Sometimes it feels like time is getting away from us. When the interns were here last summer, one kept quoting Saved by the Bell, “No time! There’s never any time!”
Here is how quickly time gets away from me – I actually started writing this entry in February and then never took the time to get back to it. Alex had just left after a month-long visit to go back to school, we were working through sorting college options for Maggie and starting up 2016 ministries. Our friends as well were all dealing with chaos in their lives and it felt like every conversation we had we were just trying to all stay afloat and make it through. On a Monday night, Maggie returned from worship practice feeling upset after sensing a heaviness hanging over everyone. Nobody was experiencing joy. Everyone was just getting through to the next day. The next morning we sent out text messages to a bunch of friends and by early evening we had a house full of people ready to stop everything and drop it into God’s hands. It was beautiful. We sang and prayed and sang some more. Many tears were shed, many hurts and needs spoken and prayed for. It was a breath of fresh air. Everyone left that night with new energy and a new attitude.
But you can’t just breathe once and expect to live forever. Like it usually does, life kept chugging along and soon our days were packed with busyness again and we start realizing we were out of air again. This time, though, it seems like God has made a way for a full-on time out.
One of the very unglamorous sides of being a missionary is dealing with visas, immigration and all the red tape that goes with that. I don’t think we realized when we first signed up to be missionaries how many hours would be spent in government offices, waiting in lines, producing documents upon documents, etc., but in the midst of our weekly ministries, we have been spending the last couple of months trying to get our residency visas. It has been a process kind of like asking ten people for directions and each one giving you a different answer. We have tried to be diligent and do everything according to instruction, but every time we have to change to a new person to work with we have gotten a different answer like, ‘You have to come back later,” so we go back later and they say, “You should have come sooner.” So today we are in limbo, awaiting word and trying to figure out what to do.
Maggie and I have to leave the country tomorrow for a few days and come back to Colombia on a tourist visa to give more time for their residency visa application to go through processing. We are hoping and praying that Corey will receive his permanent visa today or tomorrow. Please pray with us that he will receive it. Should there be any other tie ups, he will have to leave Colombia on Friday for a few days as well.
To say it’s all a little chaotic is an understatement. I’ve had to cancel several things we had on the calendar for this week. However, there is a wonderful silver lining. While initially we were stressed out about having to leave the country and what we would need to do, now we are excited. See, Maggie is finishing her final day of high school today. She has done online school for the past few years and today she is taking her final exam to end her high school career. We’ve been feeling bad because while it worked out for Alex to be Stateside during our furlough just in time to go through all the normal rites of graduation, Maggie is here in Colombia without all the pomp and circumstance. We talked about having a party, but they don’t really do that here. There will be no formal ceremony because her school is based out of Atlanta and since it’s an online school there is no graduation walk. For months we’ve been thinking about how to celebrate this achievement in her life. It is monumental and we didn’t want to let it just pass by.
It turns out that the predicament we’ve been in with the visas has answered that for us. When we knew we had to travel we began searching for tickets everywhere, looking for the cheapest possible destination to satisfy our leaving the country. It turns out the cheapest flights were to a small island off the coast of Venezuela. It’s called Curacao and based on pictures we have seen and accounts from friends who have been, it is beautiful! Maggie and I will be spending the next few days there. We have to leave Colombia tomorrow. We have no choice, but it is absolutely perfect timing since Maggie will finish school today. We will celebrate Maggie’s graduation perhaps non-traditionally but in a grand way on a beautiful island and with a very special mother-daughter trip before Maggie returns to the States in the fall to begin college.
I feel like this is God’s way of saying, “Time out.” While I had played with the idea of a trip, I’m not sure it would have ever made it to reality without literally being forced to do it. So here we are, another crazy week, but that’s okay. This crazy week is leading us to a time to relax, to breathe again because the rest is out of our control – and amazingly, that is a relief.