It was 2009. I was in Bangkok. Kelcie and I had bused in from 4 hours away to meet with the consulate of the next country we were going to, and I, being the sole Australian on the team was the only one needing a visa.
We waited quite a long time only to be told that the consul wouldn’t be in that day. We waited till the next day only to be told some other complicated things so we returned the 4 hour bus ride to our team, disappointed and a little disillusioned. In my very relaxed way, I was totally prepared to return to Australia. Who really needed to go to the next place, if i could that would be great, but it was looking like i’d have to return home and that was fine.
One of the leaders of our team took me a side and pushed all of my buttons. She got in my face. She asked the right questions.
Did i want to go or not? Was I willing to fight for it in prayer and trust God or not? I got pretty annoyed at her, but in hindsight she taught me a lot about Gods intentions for our lives.
I decided I wanted to go.
Even with all this stupid red tape, I was going to ask God and he was going to get me a visa. So i started praying. and praying. The next week when we went into the consulate again we only had 3 days to get something that took 5 days to get. We had already jumped through hoops with our invitation letter and the timing of everything before, so I was kind of scared to go up to the office.
So, again, my leader put her bag down and went upstairs. The way i remember her saying it was like this.
‘Hey, consulate…. you gonna give us a visa?’
Consulate: NO. It’s not in my job description to help you do paper work?
‘Well… is it in your job description to be at the office when you said you would be’ (referencing his absence when we needed him originally)
He paused.. and then asked her to come back soon with the completed visa.
Visa Miracle #1.
I was driven to the Dili airport to leave Timor-Leste at 5am. I got to the airport when all the store keepers were slowly setting up their stores. I had overstayed my visa by less than a week and was expecting there would be a fine for that… what i wasn’t expecting was the airport tax. This wasn’t oslo. There was no card machine, i had brought enough cash for the fine and thats it. So i paid the surprise tax… and as I was walking to the customs lady I was just straight up with her ‘I have no more cash.. the tax took everything but this’, and I handed the rest of my american dollars. She looked at me, stamped my passport and let me through.
Visa miracle #2
We were heading to Vietnam the second leg of our outreach, so i still had a month to get our strangely complicated visas into the pseudo socialist country, I wasn’t worried that we were going bush for 4 days before we flew out, with no internet, but i thought i would check my email one last time. With thirty minutes till we left for camping I found out our tickets had been booked opposite. We were flying to Saigon first, and phnom Penh second. Even if we bused to Cambodia straight after landing we still needed visas. I freaked out. I had passports stored somewhere, tickets stored somewhere else, payments elsewhere as well. So in the midst of the entire 120 person base packing up for camping, I had to reorganize ministry, accommodation etc and then figure out the best way to get invitation letters for our visas.
Visa Miracle #3
Myanmar visas – I hate red tape, but i learnt that sometimes the only way to get something easy is to jump perfectly through all the hoops. I also learned that certain humans have no clue how to fill out forms. We also got sweet ID photos in mustaches and collared shirts. I will remember that stressed day forever thanks to that photo.
Visa Miracle #4
And onto the main story for today. I was accepted to a bible course in England under the condition that I got a special visa that i would have to go back to Australia to get (no time) or pay $400 for 99% fail rate, as no one had gotten this type of visa out of their home country before. So, as i had had good success with odd visas before, i was like “Sweet God, lets do this again, good times” So as i was pressing the button to pay for this unlikely visa the Australian bank system wanted to check it was me with a security SMS to a phone number I couldn’t use (as i was in South Africa)
So then I was going to organise my german friend to just pay for it and i’d pay him back. But, i felt weird about it so i went for a walk. And i was pretty blunt and honest with God and I asked “Am i going to get this visa?” and i felt God say “Nope”
I felt peace. and then began looking for another bible school. Minutes later, found one in sweden, applied and got fully accepted three days later.
Fast forward three months, I’m applying for an extension to stay in Sweden and am told that i have to leave Sweden to extend it. But i ask for a month extension till my flight out and I am not granted it until I have already flown out of the country. So by their records I’m in Sweden and when i apply for my extension from Australia, it confuses them somewhat because im supposed to be in Sweden. Ergo I never needed to come back to Australia.
BUT, whilst I’m in Australia, God has used me in the lives of many people to represent him in ways that only I can do. I got to see my friend get married, I got to hang out with a rad DTS and a whole lot of old friends that i love and miss. God used a visa to get me in Sweden, get me to commit to being in Sweden for a while AND got me back in Australia to see specific stuff.
God is a good God who uses the weirdest stuff sometimes to get my attention. And I like that.
So the moral of the story is, I’ll be returning to Sweden on the 3rd September for 2 years.
More updates to come, but, bigs ups to the big dude.
Have you had a miraculous visa story?
Please share cause i wanna hear them.