We have had the expected and unexpected excitements, interruptions, and confusions that typically come in the months approaching an international move. As a family, we are still fighting off illnesses, seemingly every week. We have quotes from a moving company, which came back a little higher than expected. Our house seems to have imploded as we organize, sort, and figure out which things to keep or sell. The Lord graciously provided for us in end of year donations towards the move. And we are sitting at 92.5% in monthly support, which we find amazing and wonderful.

The short window of time for our application for a UK visa began in January. We gathered all the necessary documents, filled out several pages of information for each person in our family. Requested appointments, which according to the website are only granted “fortnightly on Thursdays”. Our appointment day was January 19th. As per their requirements, each one of us needed a separate appointment, and unfortunately, those times were spread throughout the day.

The Lord was very gracious. As we had an early morning, we sent out a quick note on Facebook to ask for people to pray for our day. When the lady came to call our first appointed time, she mentioned that she saw the same surname listed throughout her schedule and wondered if we were all a family applying together. After confirming this, she then graciously agreed to see us all at once, rather than have us wait the entire day with three young kids at hand (one of whom was fighting off a fever). In the end, our “long day” was a mere hour and half, and we were on the train, back to our car, and had Oliver in school before lunchtime. We were incredibly thankful.

After waiting for only two weeks, we received word that a courier was delivering our documentation to the CRU office (which was closed because Budapest was covered in a thick layer of ice!). Thankfully, one of our colleagues was there and able to sign for the package which contained all of our important documents like passports, birth certificates, etc. It also included the decision for our visa application, and we were unfortunately refused entry. The type of visa we requested was for a clergyman, and their reason for refusal was that Thad’s job description did not match their expectation of clergy.

Please pray with us for the next steps. For clarity in how to go forward. After talking to HR, previous applicants have had no trouble with applying for the same type of visa with job descriptions as was written for Thad. We are only allowed one administrative review after a refusal. Pray for our colleague in England to be able to gather information and move us forward in this process. Pray for our applications to be approved!

Thad leaves early tomorrow for England, for a celebration of the ministry’s 50th anniversary. He will now also be meeting with HR to problem solve our visa troubles. Pray also for the boys and me, as he is away for this. I am still fighting off a virus that caused a very high fever for several days, which also means I am quite tired as a result. Also, though the temperature has risen a little, the thick layer of ice is still hanging around Budapest, so driving is a little tricky.

We always hope that an international move will go smoothly and without trouble, but we know from experience that obstacles can pop up in unexpected ways. Of course it is disappointing to have been refused (no one likes to see that on paper “Refusal for entry…”), but we also trust that the Lord is at work. He has done amazing things leading up to this time, and we expect He will do more in the coming weeks. Pray that we can turn our disappointments over to Him as we wait.

Thank you for joining with us in our highs and lows, in these excitements and disappointments. Your prayers for our family make us feel incredibly loved and cared for.