This year I want to show you how many people helped me out with my visa process. It’s not just a process that I do by myself.
One of the people in this process is Linda. She works at our Home Office in Florida, and she wrote a letter for me that I turned in to receive my visa. She’s actually one of my favorite people because she is Amy’s mom and I’ve known her for forever. Her job is actually a lot more than just writing letters, for me she’s sent me sympathy cards when my grandparents died, she’s helped me prepare my will, etc. She also helps missionaries who need to renew their driver’s license but they are still out of country, she helps with letters for people that get summoned for jury duty but they are living in a remote tribe and don’t have plans to head back just for that one duty. She also does paperwork for new missionaries, and so much more. She’s kind of like our own personal secretary in the US and I totally appreciate her!
The second group of people that helped me out were Torre & Narah. They run our guest house in Texas. It’s a ministry specifically for our missionaries in Mexico and a place for us to go if we have to do visa or other paperwork, for missionaries that need to do supply buying, for meetings, for a place to rest before traveling either to Mexico or from Mexico, etc. It’s a super important ministry. I am so thankful for them and their ministry & also because they are close friends, I love having a reason to go to El Paso to visit them. Specifically for the visa, I spent five days at the guest house.
The third person that helped me during this process is Melody. Melody is the lady that is always in the know about anything that has to do with our visas. She is always working so hard to keep our information up to date, and she has everything so well organized. Because she has an awesome ability in Spanish she is able to write the letters that we take down to immigration. She is always coordinating & scheduling for our missionaries when to start their paperwork. Which is incredible because we are over 80 missionaries.
There is another person Ruben that is basically the face of our mission to immigration. Once a week he heads down to immigration and takes our paperwork in to begin the process. Depending upon the type of visa depends on how long the process takes. The employees at immigration have great respect for Ruben and always know when we are a part of Mision Pro-Indigena because of his testimony.
My visa process this year went like this:
1. Cancel previous year’s visa at the immigration office at the Mexico/USA line. Travel 3.5 hours to get there.
2. Apply for new visa at the Mexican Consulate in Texas. This is a visa that is only good for 30 days.
3. Return for the visa 3 times before it is finally available three days later due to a broken printer & “technical problems”. :S
4. Cross the Mexico/USA line and receive car papers from Customs. Then drive back home (3.5 hrs.)
5. Turn in the next visa application for a year long visa. Melody helps me out, including a letter from Linda, and Ruben takes it down to immigration.
6. Head down to immigration (30 minutes) myself the next day because they changed the form & I need this done quickly & hopefully will receive it before my sister & friend need to be picked up in El Paso.
7. Visa paperwork was not finished in time before picking them up in EP. Head down to immigration and get a Visa Exit Permission. Thankfully, I’m able to sign the paperwork & get fingerprinted, then it was sent off the next day to be printed in Mexico City. Then it will be shipped back to Chihuahua.
8. After driving to Texas & picking up my sister & friend, I got my Visa Exit Permission, stamped leaving & entering Mexico.
9. Drive down to immigration and turn in the permission. The visa isn’t there. Plan to return to immigration another day.
10. The visa arrives, and two days later I head back down to pick it up! Now I can stay in Mexico for another year.
11. Visit the Transportation Department twice so I can receive papers to drive my car in Mexico too.
I seriously have no idea how many miles, hours, or visits I made to Immigration or the Transportation department but it was a lot. The people that work in Immigration knew me by my first name because of all my visits to see them. I am super thankful to have the visa & car paperwork so I can live and traveling around Mexico for another year. And I am also so thankful for the people that helped me out in this process: Linda, Torre, Narah, Melody, & Ruben. It takes a huge network of missionaries to keep other missionaries in their full time ministries. We are all on the same team.
1 Corinthians 12.14-16 :: For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.