My God is persistent. He is persistent on loving me, persistent on burning in me, persistent on keeping me wholly for Him.
This is what He revealed to me about Himself in the last few weeks.
October 19, 2012 was the expiration date of my Thai non-immigrant visa. This visa is the hinge of all our documents here — my work permit, Jason’s visa — thus allowing us to legally stay in Krabi. In February of this year, I acquired my U.S. citizenship in Hawaii where I was granted my US passport. This event marked the end of a long process of making sure that it’s okay for me to stay out of the States for a very long time. Thinking that since I am no longer a Filipino citizen both Jason and I agreed that I should use my US passport in entering Thailand. And our first agenda on the first day of our arrival here was to go to the immigration office to figure out how I can transfer all of my visa stuff from my Philippine passport to my US passport. After explaining our situation with what we thought was enough information to the immigration officers, the advice we got was to wait for October — the month of my visa renewal. Needless to say, we took it as raw and as simple as the advice came from the authority we believed understood where we are.
Our naïveté brought us eight months later to a huge immigration bureaucratic mess that could have ended up with us leaving the country. Learning of our mistake, our hearts were crushed and, I must admit, I was very angry. It is never as simple as that. Not with immigration. Now we have this exorbitant amount to pay at the border with money we don’t have, and I have to leave the country immediately. For me to go back, I have to re-apply at the Thai Embassy in Penang, Malaysia hoping to be granted, despite being branded as overstaying for 208 days in Thailand, with a new visa on my new passport.
We prayed. We spoke to fellow Christians, and they prayed. We shared with our supporters, and asked for prayer and help. And we prayed more. And in 3 days or so, not only did we raise more than enough money to pay the fine and for the trip to the border but our hearts were filled with extreme peace and comfort with the assurance that all will be well.
We felt God.
The incident that happened turned out to be a reminder for us that God is persistent in keeping His love, in keeping His promises, in keeping us wholly for Him. He wanted to show His strength when we are totally weak and desperately in need losing any control over the situation. The confusion at the immigration and the anger that resulted out of it was definitely the enemy’s handiwork, but the glory that came out of the mess because God’s people gathered together in strength for Him was definitely our Lord’s handiwork.