So, I left off earlier this week with the excitement of Elizabeth’s visa being ready. Unbelievable! As of yesterday, I also have my passport and visa back in hand after it made a whirlwind trip to and from the Congolese mission in NYC. They processed it lightning fast, and we are so grateful. Now, I’m wrapping up some last minute travel preps while finishing up Christmas preps and leaving-the-kids-with-Matt-for-two-weeks preps, and I’ll soon be ready to fly out at the beginning of next week.
As far as travel plans go, I’ll be flying out this coming Tuesday, December 4th, and have a return flight scheduled for December 20th. My hope is that we’ll be able to get home sooner, but we decided to be conservative with our estimated return date. I have received a bunch of questions about the purpose of this next trip (besides getting our girl home, of course!), so let me clarify. At this point, we’re golden on the U.S. side of things now that we have Elizabeth’s U.S. visa. Now, we just await one final letter (the coveted “exit letter”) from Congolese immigration. I have to be in the country to get the ball rolling on this letter, as the office has to have my physical passport to prepare the document. So, I’ll be surrendering my passport to the Congolese government next Thursday (deep breaths) and will be praying for a record fast turnaround. I have heard of this process taking a few days… up to a few weeks. PRAY that we’re all blown away by how fast our exit letter gets to us. Once we have that final letter, we’re good to go and will book the next possible ticket home!!
Apparently internet at our hotel in DRC still isn’t working (we were repeatedly told there that they were having issues with their service provider. some things are consistent across cultures.), and I’m not holding my breath that it will be fixed while I’m there. I do have a phone that I can use in Kinshasa and will be in communication with Matt. He’ll try to update throughout my trip, but for now, below are some prayer requests…
- Travel safety. We will be holed up in our gated, guarded hotel essentially for the entirety of our stay in Kinshasa, so no worries. But we would still appreciate prayers as there has been some growing anti-American sentiment there recently.
- Good health…. to avoid the stomach plague that we came home with last time and for Elizabeth to stay healthy! She had a double ear infection last time I was there, and I’m bringing more antibiotics just in case it hasn’t resolved. Navigating the Congolese healthcare system could be a bit tricky, so I’m really trying to avoid that at all costs.
- A sweet time of attachment and bonding. I have no clue if Elizabeth will remember me at all when I take her back into my arms, but pray that she would attach well and that her heart has not been hurt after our separation two weeks ago.
- That DGM (the Congolese immigration authority) would issue our exit letter super quickly… and if this happens (please, Lord, please!), that we would be able to change our return flight home. It’s holiday season, and flights are filling up fast (our flight on December 20th is already completely booked)…
Finally, would you pray for Matt? Sending his wife off to Congo for two weeks to bring our daughter home is stressful. Are we confident that this is the best decision for our family? Absolutely! However, it’s still going to be hard. Pray for him as he manages all of the responsibilities at home with Carson and Mary Grace alone. We all know- single parenting isn’t for the weak of heart.
I never would have believed that I’d be celebrating Advent with my daughter in Congo this year… and that, Lord willing, she’d be home for Christmas.
Oh come let us adore Him…