I have thoroughly been baptised into missions. Just so y’all know.
It has been an interesting adventure to get my visa to enter the UK. When they issued it, Leon and I were pretty pleased it happened, let alone happened that quickly. Ah, but there were a few catches. First of all, the British Consulate General sent it to the wrong address. Even though we specifically told them to send it to my in-laws’ home in Bloomington (where we’d been staying), they sent it to my prior address in Kentucky. Ok, no big deal… I just had one of my former roommates sign for it. We retrieved it on Monday while we were there for a court case I had to testify for.
Leon and I also had reason to believe we were charged for the wrong visa. This means we probably paid $700 more than we were supposed to.
Once we got the visa and looked at it, we realised the Consulate General gave me the wrong one! We figured it was a valid visa since they had issued it, but we had concerns. I am supposed to be a dependant under Leon’s visa, however my visa type was not the same as Leon’s. Yes, it’s a valid visa and could get me into the UK, however, it would cause issues a month later when it came time to renew our visas.
Unfortunately, the only people we could contact about this were in London, so the office was already closed for the day. Tuesday we didn’t have time to call because we were driving back to Bloomington. So that left us with Wednesday to call London, and we were to fly out late that afternoon. Leon got up early to contact the office in London. When he explained our situation, they basically said that yes, we needed to get to the British Consulate General to see if they could amend my visa. Yikes! So out of bed I jumped at 7:30. We quickly got ready, ate breakfast and packed up my mother-in-law’s car so she could take us to get a rental to drive to Chicago. After paying a little more on the rental than we would have liked, we were on the road to the Consulate General by 9:30.
We survived traffic in Chicago, found a place to park, and arrived at the Consulate General at 11:30. The security guard on duty informed us that office closed at 11:30, they don’t take visas directly, and they only help British citizens. Great. Basically there was no way we could get in to get the visa amended. Leon explained our situation to the guard, I cried a little and prayed, and the guard decided he could contact someone he knew in the office who could pull a few strings. So he explained our story to the lady at the Consulate, gave the lady our surname, and they said we could come up. As we got off the elevator at the British Consulate General, on lucky floor 13, we both realised–We shouldn’t be here. By now Leon and I both had adrenaline surging through us.
We got to talk with our Entry Clearance Officer who initially issued my visa. We explained why this visa wouldn’t work and gave him a better understanding of why this visa would cause issues in the future. After checking on a few policies and looking at our visas some more, he issued me a new visa! He also straightened out the issue with the cost, and gave us a refund! Praise the Lord! We could now give a huge sigh of relief.
Once we got back downstairs, we became more aware of how God had His hand in this situation. The security guard explained to us that if any of the other guards were on duty, they wouldn’t have called up to pull strings under any circumstances. This particular security guard only works on Wednesdays, and after this week, he’s switching to nights. Wow! God definitely knew how this would all work out. Even the security guard commented on how God must have been looking out for us, and we’re certain he’s not a believer.
One of our prayers has been that others would be able to see God working in our lives… even those who don’t believe… and I that prayer got answered this time. In a big way! :)