Friday, May 04, 2007


Today...uh...tonight....we received an answer to prayer! We have been working on Lael's national identity card for almost 2 months. It requires a slew of various documents and alot of time and gas money (running from town to town to retrieve certain docs, then to another to drop off others). We were praying all day that we'd get her card today so that we'll be ready to head to the capital city next week to apply for her Benin passport (the ID card is one of the prerequisites, along with another handful of important documents)! We called our contact in Lokossa who has been overseeing this process. At 3p, he said, "just wait until you hear from me." Maybe in other worlds, such a response is somewhat reassuring (like maybe, "don't you worry about things...I'm in control here and you'll be the first to know when it is ready")....but here, such a word usually indicates something is not moving quite as expected. I was busy working all afternoon, but constantly viewing the clock...4p, 5p, 6p...and on Friday afternoon. Finally at 6:03, I called our friend expecting him to say, "come on Monday." But immediately he said, "come right now." Now, we live about a 30 minute drive from where he's at. But we gathered things up, and we were on the road by 6:10p (and...confession...we were in Lokossa by 6:30p!) We pulled up to the ID office and after a quick signature and alot of expressions of gratitude, we got Lael's ID card!

After that, in order to apply for the passport next week, we had to get an official certified parental consent letter...permitting Lael to apply for her passport (she's a minor). Now by this time it is 6:45 and our contact (who I'll call "JA") is still at his job where we get such authorizations...he is swamped with other people trying to obtain various other important documents (at this point in time, it's hard not to think that OUR paperwork should be his most important task...even though in reality, alot of the other paperwork for other people involves them not getting their government paycheck!) He was super nice and we trust God's favor was certainly with us!! It was after 7:30p (quittin' time was 6:30p) and, after turning off his computer and putting on his coat, he said, "let's go". The parental consent requires a high ranking official's signature...but it is after hours. So "JA" gets on his cell phone and calls this official...Joss says again, "let's go." We are driving in the dark, with only a few street lights in town, when he suddenly says, "stop here, there he is." This very important official is standing on the side of the road waiting on us! After about a 15-minute, very-culturally-appropriate "friendly debate", the high ranking official said something to "JA"..."JA" then gets back into our truck and says, "let's go." (I usually follow his command with a silly question, "to where?" which point he kinda nods and mumbles, until he says again, "stop here.") In order for the very high ranking official to officially authorize this certified letter, it's got to have a stamp. There are two kinds of stamps in Benin: (1) the actual physical stamp that brings in revenue to the country, and (2) the inkpad rubber stamp that makes everything here look very official. The latter was ready, but we were lacking the actual "lick and seal" stamp! But "JA" does some talking and finally this high ranking official gets on his cell phone and within 15 minutes, his assistant (who got off work over 2 hours earlier) shows up with the 2 much needed stamps! (only they don't like licking here...they prefer messy glue). Anyway, all said and done, by 8:30p, we had her ID card plus the necessary parental notification letter we need to apply for Lael's Benin passport next week! Praise God for His special favor and grace (pray that God will bless all those who sacrificed their Friday night in order to help us!)

At the same time we are working on Lael's ID card and passport, we are also eagerly awaiting notification from the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security regarding our approval as adoptive parents (this is the prerequisite for applying for Lael's visa). In order to receive approval from DHS, we have to have a required fingerprint analysis from the FBI done on us. We are still waiting on confirmation from the DHS office here in West Africa to let us know when we have been approved! Please pray with us that this will be soon (it's been 2 months already). We cannot apply for Lael's visa to America until we get this approval!

Tomorrow, at our national leadership meeting, I have been asked to teach an overview of Revelation....and I've been giving only a 3 hour slot of time!! I have been working on my study for almost 2 months now...and I just finished tonight! My mind still doesn't grasp all the contents as some academic scholars might (or some folks who love multi-colored prophecy charts!) But I think I have a pretty good handle on the practical the end, Jesus wins (and thus, so do all those who persevere in faith until the very end!) I can somewhat articulate these truths in English, but tomorrow I have to do it all in French (at our monthly leadership meetings, because of the multiple people groups represented, we speak in the common national language). Pray that God's Word will flow fluently through my lips and that, even if some of my French is bad, the Spirit will be my interpreter and make the necessary changes before they reach other people's ears! More than anything, I want these leaders to be reminded of the VICTORY we have in Jesus, and as well, leave the meeting equipped with alot of good information about this book so they can teach from it to encourage others!

Celebrating the victory of Christ with you,



Anthony Parker said...

That's great news -- Have you got your fingerprints done yet? When we were doing our adoption process for Jonathan, we tried to get fingerprints done in Bohicon. they were a mess and were rejected. We ended up having them done at the police station in Ganxi, and they had the equipment and personnel to do it right. Thought that might be of some help.

I heard Rick Atchley speak on different millennial theories at ACU lectureship last year. The funny thing was that I ran into him in the library a few minutes before as he was doing some last-minute research. He confessed that he had to give that presentation but didn't have a clue what he was talking about. Of course, you couldn't tell it from his presentation which was very clear. I liked his approach, though. He said, "I'm staking my ground, but it's not fighting ground."

Ron and Marilyn said...

Whoa!! I was exhausted for you after reading these last two posts! How totally thrilling that several more steps have been completed (and just in the nick of God's timing!) Praying for those fingerprints now!! It is exciting to see God working through all this but He also requires work on your part, too!!

love y'all,


Don Box said...

All this "red tape" is mind-boggling! Don