Monday, July 23, 2012

Building Memorial Altars

I'm certain that visas are the bane of every missionary's existence. It was for me until I got permanent residency. Getting the visa is a story that shows God's provision and sovereignty in our lives. Oh, was God faithful.

In the Bible, Joshua built a memorial altar to remember how God helped Israel cross the Jordan River. Throughout our lives, we should build little memorial altars to remember what God has done in our lives. Remembering how He provided my visa, and later our permanent residence visas, is one of our memorial altars.
Each of you heft a stone to your shoulder, a stone for each of the tribes of the People of Israel, so you'll have something later to mark the occasion. When your children ask you, 'What are these stones to you?' you'll say, 'The flow of the Jordan was stopped in front of the Chest of the Covenant of God as it crossed the Jordan—stopped in its tracks. These stones are a permanent memorial for the People of Israel.' Joshua 4:5-7 (The Message)

It was quite an adventure to get my visa. We applied for it after we got married, and we were thrilled to get an email a few weeks later saying that it had been issued and it was going to be posted to... my previous address? This was not address we had asked them to send it to. OK, so it wasn't a big deal because we still had to go back to my previous residence before leaving for the UK. When we got the visa 2 days before we were to fly to the UK, we quickly discovered that the UK Consulate General had issued the wrong visa!

My husband rang the London visa office early in the morning on the day that we were to leave for the UK. It was decided that, while it's a valid visa, we still needed to get it fixed.

We were quickly off to Chicago after rushing around to finish our last-minute packing. We hired a car to drive to Chicago and get to the British Consulate General. Once we arrived, the security guard informed us that the office had just closed, that they don't take visa appointments directly, and they only help British citizens. By this time we were praying for a miracle! I cried... we stepped aside and prayed. The security guard decided he could contact someone he knew in the office who could pull a few strings. Before we knew it, we were in the elevator to 'lucky' floor 13, we got to speak with our entry clearance officer, and explained to him why the visa they had given me wouldn't work. After checking on some policies, the entry clearance officer decided that, yes it was the wrong visa and issued me a new one. Praise the Lord!!

Once we got back downstairs, we became more aware of God's hand in our situation. The security guard explained to us that if any of the other guards had been on duty, they wouldn’t have called up to pull strings under any circumstances. This particular security guard only worked on Wednesdays (when we were there), and after that week, he switched to nights. Wow! God definitely knew how this would all work out. Even the security guard commented on how God must have been looking out for us.

One of our prayers has been that others would be able to see God working in our lives… even those who don’t believe… and that prayer got answered this time. In a big way!

This is one of my memorial altars. What memorial altars are you building in your life?


  1. First- I am in love with your British English Chrysti!:) Second-isn't it great to see how God goes before us? One of the things I prayed for when we first left for Costa Rica was that the scales at the airports would be off balance in our favor. Well, in Miami, I looked at the scales as they were heaving our 50 lb bags off and on and sure enough, those scales were zeroed out at -1!!! God amazes me with His attention to detail sometimes!

    1. Ha, you might not believe me with my British sounding writing, I don't have a British accent! :P

      When I came over to the UK to join my husband, they were a bit lax on the weight we had packed too. What a blessing!

  2. I have some about visas, too. One is that the very first time I went to Russia, it was with a short-term team. We gathered at the training site, and still didn't have our visas. A few days later, it was time to leave, and still no visas. Time to actually drive to the airport, and they still weren't there. We went and checked in for our flight... and someone from the mission came rushing up with our visas in hand!

    1. Wow, talk about Jehovah last minute! :)

  3. Temporary residency for me is another HUGE one. After years of visa trouble in Russia, I want to jump up and down every time I remember that we have TR here in Ukraine. Every time I look at my passport, I smile and thank God. :-)