(written by Mary)
apologize that we haven't updated for a while. We've been in limbo and
haven't really known how to share the process of navigating all the
frustrating little ups and downs.
Here's the short version of what's been happening:
About 2 and 1/2 months ago, we felt that God told us "I've given you what you need, it's time to go."
At the same time, Ben discovered that he had a hernia.
Mary took over Ben's work at the bamboo farm, while he began sorting out visa and work permit applications.
We thought we had things sorted out and were good to go.
two weeks before our scheduled flights on the 3rd of May, we learned
that the PNG Embassy in the U.S. can't process work visas - it has to be
done in PNG.
We delayed our flights. Papers and phone calls started buzzing over the Pacific.
It turns out, the PNG department of labor just moved its office and has no office phones connected.
days of hunting down numbers and being bounced around, we finally got a
hold of the personal number of the head of the DLIR and learned that
it's not enough to have a sponsor in country and a sending organization
in the States.
Our work visas were not just delayed - they weren't going to happen!
bright point in all of this, the Yamano (our people in PNG) discovered
that they already have an association set up, they just haven't done
anything with it for a few decades.
We learned that we could still make our flights with tourist visas - extendable to 90 days.
Here's the plan (unless God decides differently, which is totally possible):
are flying for PNG on the 17th (tomorrow!). We'll spend three months in
country strictly as tourists (that means no work, just language
learning and making friends - which, coincidentally, is what we were
planning on doing initially anyway).
During that time we're hoping to figure out with the Yamano folks how to get our work permits processed.
We have ideas about how things will proceed from there, but only God knows.
and I have been on a steep learning curve. We may have made every
mistake in the book during this process. We learned along the way, that
we don't handle stress and displacement as fantastically as we might
have hoped (good to have the heads up though)!
We are thankful that
while we were delayed, God blessed the time with opportunities to
connect and say goodby to friends and family in the Portland area.
last few weeks have been humbling. We are once again on a short rope,
with God only giving us the next step. We are more aware than ever of
our flaws and foolishness. While we were packing up our little cottage, a
friend was somewhat jokingly saying, "No matter how badly you mess
things up, God will accomplish His plans." Well, we're hanging our hats
on that now!
Thank you all for praying and hanging in there with us through this
time. We are so deeply grateful for the amazing people God has placed in
our lives (that means you!).
Lord willing, our next update will be from Papua New Guinea.
Love and Blessings!
The Grimm Crowd