25 June 2010
Nepal meets Central America
The summer team trip to Guatemala and Nicaragua was planned about a year ago. We have been working through deadlines for deposits, ticket purchase, project planning for the last few months, long before the decision was made to bring a Nepali partner back for the summer. I had no plans to take him to Central America, mostly because of the cost, but it was also nice to have someone to "man" the office while Tamara and I are both traveling. New information and tasks come into the office regularly, but the volume of work that we had at the end of May has been divided and conquered. We are not just caught up, but comfortably ahead with everything that is vitally important. Another worker in the office makes an amazing difference. I do not even want to think about the time when he will be gone. Anyway-- I digressed from the story.... Two of our Guatemala trip participants were compelled to cancel due to a medical situation. They welcomed us to use the funds already committed for someone else. The cancellation meant that there was no adult with the group of teens on two of the flights. Our organization had one ( Nepali) adult who could be added to the team to supervise the kids. The financial issue was solved, and the need for work to continue in the office was not urgent,but a visa problem remained. With an American passport, one can enter Guatemala without a visa. Another group of nationalities need a visa, but can apply by mail. Nepal is not in that category. Application in person is required and the Guatemala consulate is not in Lynchburg. But-- thankfully, it is not in the heart of the nation's capital, either. A trip to Silver Spring, Maryland, on a little side street that can be found only by GPS was necessary. We presented the required items: passport pictures, color photo copy of the passport and multiple entry visa to the United States, $25 fee. He was given a short form to fill in-- mostly contact information here and in Guatemala. We were finished. No interview. No questions. No problems. We were promised the passport would begin its journey back to us,in the envelope we provided within 48 hours. The next day, I should not have been surprised when it became possible(schedule wise) for him to continue with us for Nicaragua as well. However-- he would need a Nicaragua visa. Would that mean another trip north? I called the consulate. Does he have a tourist visa or a resident visa for the United States? Answer: tourist visa. Resident visa would have been easier. With a tourist visa, they needed a police report, a health record, among other documents and process time was twenty days minimum. And, so the trip to Nicaragua seemed impossible, until as the conversation was ending, the girl asked one more question. "Are you going to any other Central American countries? Does he have a Guatemalan visa? He can go into Nicaragua on a Guatemalan visa." Who would have thought? Does the God of heaven want this Nepali servant of His in Central America? Yes. Why? I don't really know yet. Can God move His people, even those who have no money at all, to the place where He wants them to be? Yes, He can.