I do not like to count my chickens before they hatch, therefore, I held my breath until 4:30 yesterday afternoon. Our goal for 2019 was to have residency within the year. We had all of the required paperwork, and they kept changing the rules on us. The paperwork is not difficult to obtain as long as you are in the U.S. One of the setbacks was city, state, and federal background checks require fingerprints (from a police station in the states). They kept adding a background check to the process. Every document has to receive an Apostille for the Secretary of State. There is no mailing system in Guatemala. Every piece of paper has a 6 month expiration date. Every time we presented our paperwork, they need one more piece of information because the requirements changed the previous week. It seemed as if we took two steps forward and three steps back each time.
On October 7th we presented our paperwork and they accepted it! However, we have tickets to fly to the states on November 20th. Our lawyer assured us this would not cause a delay in the residency process–Famous last words. I had a Plan B and Plan C for when we return to Guatemala and they told us we needed more paperwork. I honestly was preparing myself for the next road block.
The estimated time for approval for residency is 6 months. The Guatemala “six months” can always be extended an extra 3-4 months. Last Friday, our lawyer was informed that our residency had been approved. FIVE WEEKS for Approval! The lawyer has never seen residency approved so quickly. He was shocked.
We arrived at the Guatemala Immigration at 8:30 yesterday morning. We need to make a final payment and sign the final form. They said this would be an extremely short process and we would be out of the office in no time. We left at 4:30 yesterday afternoon! We didn’t complain about sitting at Immigration for 8 hours because we walked out with our permanent residency papers.
I would love to tell you that I trusted God’s timing throughout the entire process, but it would be a lie. With the frustration came the doubt, tears, and lack of faith. I knew the reality was we would be handling the residency process for many more months in the future. I knew the requirements could change and cause us another setback. But God… His timing is perfect. We leave for the states on November 20th and we were handed our papers on November 18th.
Why is residency important? Residency allows us to open a bank account. Residency allows us to not pay every 3 months for a visa extension. Residency allows us to not leave the country every six months. We have been blessed to have someone purchase our airline tickets each time we were required to leave the country. However, a family of 5 can be very expensive. We will not feel the pressure of using finances for required travel expenses. We are not Guatemalan citizens–We can not vote!
Lesson Learned: I am a private person when it comes to sharing a need. I will spare the details of why I don’t like to share specific needs (It could have something to do with pride). In August, we sat at the Immigration and they told us the requirements had changed. We needed a federal background check! I walked into the feeding center that evening extremely discouraged. One of the workers, Telma, was the only one there. My tears began to flow as I expressed my frustration with the process. Telma began to pray. We asked our Board of Directors to pray. My dad asked all 10 people who read his blog to pray. When Soy called me on Friday morning to tell me about the residency approval, my mind went back to the afternoon at the center when Telma began to pray. God whispered, “There is a reason for the Body of Christ. There is a reason you ask people to intercede for a specific need. The Body of Christ is to be unified. The Body of Christ is to intercede for each other. The Body of Christ is to encourage and rejoice with one another.”
Thank You for Praying!!!