Monday, August 08, 2005

One Big Huge Prayer Request

It’s Monday again – that means it’s time for prayer requests. And we do have one big huge prayer request this week.

I must ask forgiveness for not blogging quite as often as usual. We’ve had a very rough last week or two. It all started when Rev. Bettye attempted to get her visa extended so that she could stay in Cameroon for the next year as a Volunteer in Mission. Things did not move very smoothly – or quickly -- at the Immigration Office. Finally, they called me into the office and explained that they were not going to extend Bettye’s visa, because the United Methodist Church is not an officially-registered entity in Cameroon.

Actually, previous missionaries had begun the registration process over two and a half years ago. But the process takes time. We simply assumed that one day we would receive word that the President had signed our papers and we would be official. And we assumed that we were free to work in the country until then.

That seems to be the sticking point. I am currently working with people at various levels in the government to determine exactly what the Mission’s legal status is. I am also trying to get our paperwork moved and completed. Until I get a determinative word, we are scaling back our work.

The bottom line is that Rev. Bettye has to return to the United States on Saturday. Fortunately, the Director of Immigration will allow me and my family to stay in Cameroon to work on our registration.

I’m a little nerve-wracked and exhausted from all the phone calls, standing in line at the police station, visiting assorted government offices and struggling to communicate in broken French. Each day brings a burst of new information and hope, followed by disappointments and setbacks.

We are receiving lots of wonderful support from the General Board of Global Ministries, from our friends in Yaounde, including employees of the American Embassy, and from our family back home.

Please keep us in your prayers. Pray specifically that nothing will stand in the way of the wonderful work of God that has already begun in Cameroon through the United Methodist Church. I know that God hasn’t brought us this far to leave us hanging!