Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ask and Act or Believe and Wait??

Went to immigration today to find out what is going on with my residence permit process.  After our time there investigating, even Nelson, our program coordinator, was confused and frustrated.  The lady was so rude and I was so upset.  First we waited 15 minutes to talk to a lady who told us nothing but had waited on us before.  We told her we haven't received in 5 months the letter she said would take 2 weeks to get.  We asked what the problem was, what we should do, very nicely. Then she seemed disinterested in us and handed us off to another lady. They keep trying to put me as a missionary in the Baptist mission when this is different as I am now a volunteer for one Baptist church only.  The lady got confused and when we finally got her to realize I’m not part of a mission she literally said,  “I’m tired of this conversation.” And stalked out of the room!  We couldn’t believe it, but we stayed and continued to ask for help to understand what we need to do. We asked her to please come back and help us.  They know I have come to help orphans for the Lord’s sake! To HELP Tanzania!!!
Me and the BIG Boys: GREAT SMILES!! What blessings they are! 

So we very nicely asked her to come back and explain to us what was wrong. So then she started telling us we wrote the wrong letter, a residence permit is no different from a work permit, that our immigration friend who has been counseling us since last December ruined something, I needed to have gotten it from the USA and not to have come here and work without it or I would get kicked out of the country.  She is fussing at us telling me not to do ANYTHING until I pay that money to get the 3 month permit or get the real permit.  Do you have to get the 3 month before you can even be eligible for the real one?  Then why didn't she just say that? Who knows??? blah blah blah. And as far as I know, unless you work for big organization, you can't get the permit until you get into the country anyway! I seem to remember that the mission got me one before I first came, but there is nothing on the  TZ website to indicate that you can get one in the USA now.  Unless you maybe go to the TZ Embassy in DC and apply in person? Now that's easy to do when you live 1500 or so miles away...

And every time we go there they tell us something different! And we don't know what's true and what's not, or what's stalling or worse?  She probably wasn’t even really tired or mad but just making the whole thing up to get rid of us... and everyone always says Tanzanians are the nicest Africans of all.  There's a saying that even when you get arrested in TZ, they will say, "Sorry for the inconvenience, but I need to take you to jail now."  Where did that go?  So she's fussing for no reason I can understand and I'm trying so hard not to cry my eyes out, thinking, "We worked so hard and did everything they told us to do and it took days and hours and copies and oh!  I thought it was 'in process' and now we did it all wrong?"  In June, we wrote the letter the way they told us and did everything they said and now they are saying something different, once again.  That I should have gotten my permit before I came when I was still in the USA, that you can't get one while you're here.  But that's exactly the opposite of what our 'friend' (is he?) who is also an immigration officer, told us to do. He said those already in country have priority and it would be processed faster.  And then he said they ran out of the stickers they put in your passport...Then she said that requesting a residence permit vs. a work permit are the same when they made us rewrite the letter to say we wanted residence permit instead of work permit. Which is totally moot since it's all been turned in and what does it matter if it's all the same now?  So then she says I should pay $200 for a 3 month business work permit, but then I will turn around and pay the $250-$350 for the two years if that permission ever comes.  And I'm not doing any business....And I just paid $100 for my tourist visa, waiting for them to send a letter so I can pay the $250-$350 for the real thing, the residence(/work??) permit.... So that would add up to $550-$650 they want me to pay, not counting a 'personal processing fee' of $100-200 for a $250-$350 permit? 

THIS is what it's all about: learning about God with new Bible storybooks
So tomorrow Nelson and I are going to see our “friend who ruined it for us” to see what he says this time.  He no longer works in the main office but is at the airport...was he banished?  That lady certainly didn't speak respectfully of him and seemed to show us contempt for having sought his counsel.  It is so sad when you feel like you can’t trust anyone because so many deceive you!  You start to feel like everyone is lying to you all the time and no one can be trusted! I didn't say it was true, I said it FEELS that way sometimes!

The lady at immigration said for Nelson to write a new letter to immigration in the capital, Dar es Salaam, asking what the problem was, so we will see what our 'friend' says to do next.  I will also investigate getting it from the USA by calling the Embassy or going to DC? YIKES!  There's nothing to be done from their website on this end.  They don't even list the prices on there so who knows what they actually are?  Whatever someone would like to charge you? It just must all be bathed in prayer.  Only God knows where all that paperwork we worked so hard on five months ago is: in a trash pile in Mwanza, in the office in a stack  labelled "awaiting personal processing fee" or in the right office in Dar actually waiting to be processed.

Beautiful Girls!!  Now THIS was a blessed day for us all!!
I can so handle the waiting and God being sovereign in the process, knowing that it is being processed.  I've been doing that for five months with the exception of the two weeks that we were trying to get me another tourist visa stamp to be able to even be in the country (which we finally got the day before it expired--now I think how we got that was even a mistake!). I just had no idea there was a new kink--I was just patiently waiting for the letter saying 'go pay' to come, like she said it would.  I had faith that it would show up eventually and all was working out fine.  But now, we didn't even do it right?  But we followed the checklist to the T and they said it was perfect when we turned it in! And it is absolutely 100 % possible that the immigration lady was completely faking everything! And it's just as possible that she has no idea whatsoever so she just made her whole story up so she wouldn't look like she didn't know what is going on!  And it's just as possible that everything IS perfectly fine and being processed and the letter to 'go pay' is on it's way right now! And I'm leaving out the most important parts about the necessity of paying the "personal processing fee" or nothing gets done...and that just gets all over me since those that always request it look fat and fine and healthy and always have such good jobs already in this very poor country where people don't even have enough to eat! And our kids' families struggle to even survive on so little!
Our kids are happy to get sugar, cornmeal, soap, vaseline and toothpaste every month!

It is just so frustrating that I have come in the name of Christ to help children that so many here could care less about.  And now here it is ridiculously difficult to get permission to live here to do just that because of the actions of a few confusing the process, seeking personal gain....may God show Himself to them and may they seek to do what is RIGHT. 

"Blessed is the one who is always fearful of sin, but whoever is hard-hearted falls into disaster." Proverbs 28:13-15

I don't know what awaits tomorrow but probably our 'friend' will say what he always says, "I will call my friend in Dar and see where it is.  Don't worry, I will call you back and let you know.  It will come, just wait."  And then we don't hear anymore from him....until we call him again...get a new story...get told to wait...and then nothing happens...

Pray that the Lord would give me His advice on what steps I should take next.  I keep hearing Him telling me to be quiet and wait and not to ask questions...but the last time I did that in Tanzania I ended up leaving!  It's taken me 5 years to get back here and to renew His call on my life, to do what He created me to do! So, today was really rough and thank you for letting me tell you this so you know how to pray for me!

So pray that we will get some answers, the LORD'S advice: should I call the TZ Embassy in the USA when I get back or will that cause problems like them not letting me back in the country?  Should I go to the main Immigration Office in Dar when I return to find out what has happened to my paperwork?  Should Nelson write a letter asking where my paperwork is?  Should I write a letter asking where my paperwork is? Or should I stop asking questions, and return to just patiently waiting for the letter saying 'go pay' to come, like they once said it would. Should I go back to having faith that it will show up eventually and all IS working out fine.  I would certainly like to do that....I really really really like THAT advice!!!

"Many plans are in the human heart, but the advice of the Lord will endure." Proverbs 19:20-22

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