Thirty years ago I learned a song from Psalm 146. The Lord opens up the eyes of the blind and He raises up those who are down. The Lord loves the righteous, protects the stranger and supports the fatherless and the widow…
For the past month, this song keeps coming to my mind. It’s a song of praise and includes a promise that God will take care of the foreigner if his hope is in Him.
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God…
The Lord watches over the foreigner.
Psalm 146:5 & 9
The immigration situation for Joey and Pam looked impossible. The requirements the immigration worker gave them were impossible to accomplish. Eric had written him over a month ago asking about the requirements but had not received any response. Joey told us, “If Chile doesn’t want us, we can’t stay.” It looked like they might need to move to Thailand. Pam’s work visa expired in the States, so they cannot return there yet.
Joey had a prayer request before the Lord. He asked for two things to happen if he and Pam were to stay in Chile. First, that they would have an appointment to get their visas to be processed (instead of getting up at 4:00 in the morning to stand out in the cold to wait 8 hours in hopes of seeing the immigration officer who would turn them away again with more unnecessary or impossible requirements.) Second, another worker would process their visas. Joey told us that it was his fleece-of-sorts… an appointment and a different government worker.
That was a big request since the immigration officer did the initial processing of every immigrant in Chiloé and he made all the immigrants come at 8 a.m. to get a number for the day’s appointments. Since his office was open only until 1:30 p.m., that meant that only about 12 people got to see him. So that meant getting in line at 4 or 5 a.m. That’s the way it’s done. By appointment? And to somehow go around that immigration officer?? Two different people have told us that the man is an evil man.
But nothing is impossible with God!
Mireya, a friend from church, greeted me one Sunday morning and told me she was burdened to pray for our family — specifically about visas and the man that works at the immigration office. She had not heard about our situation. But she knew some other foreigners who were having difficulties with the man. And she felt burdened by the Lord to pray for us. Then I told her about the problems that Joey and Pam were having with immigration. She later texted me with scripture and said she believed God was going to lift up our heads in this situation.
Last week, Eric got a text from Gabriel, the director at the music academy. I had told Gabriel about the difficulties we were having. He had a solution for us. He had talked with Rodrigo, a father of two students that go to the academy. Rodrigo is the governor’s chief of staff. Rodrigo talked with the governor and said he would meet with us and with Alex, an immigration officer from Santiago, at 3:00 on Friday. He would help Joey and Pam apply for their visas.
In our meeting, Rodrigo warmly greeted us. He told us that the governor was out of the office and couldn’t be there, so he was there to represent the governor. The application process went smoothly and quickly. It was very helpful that Joey had lived in Chile before. And it was also helpful that they were married in Chile. Alex called his boss in Santiago and confirmed what we had thought — that the requirements from the local immigration officer were false. At one point, when Eric hurriedly shuffled through papers to find the correct items that Alex asked for, Rodrigo said, “Calma” (Relax). He said, “I have set aside this time for you.” They were kind to us and made it a pleasant experience. At the end of the meeting, Rodrigo apologized for how Joey and Pam were treated. And he welcomed them to Chile.
Thanks to all those who prayed for us! Please pray for the immigration officer.
There’s a mini-documentary being made about the music academy. It will be aired sometime in September on national TV. The film crew wanted to film a concert in an old church in the countryside which we had tonight. The church was full and the audience gave a standing ovation. The old building was cold (in the 40’s) and we could see our breath. It did warm up a little after the first half of the concert from all the people and some space heaters.
Caleb and Ayilen played a duet — Concerto in G minor for Two Cellos by Antonio Vivaldi.
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down. The Lord shall reign forever—Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!