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Remembering Uganda: PRAY!

August 21, 2013

We are telling our adoption story by posting a series of emails that were sent while we were in Uganda in July & August of 2012. If you have made your way here because you are thinking about adopting from Uganda or are in the process, please know that the process is very different now than it was in 2012.

Sent August 21, 2012

We had quite the day. “M” really wanted us to get everything we needed to collect so that we could send an email with all the attachments “making our case” for inappropriate/unnecessary referral to Nairobi by the end of business today. The last big thing we needed were certified English translations of a couple of key documents. We already had English translations of everything, but they were not certified, which is not good enough for Nairobi. Our Kampala attorney was not confident he could secure those for us today, so we called a friend in-country who knew someone who knew of a place for us to go (did you get that?): Makerere University’s Institute of Linguistics. We called our awesome driver, and he came immediately, and we all piled into the car and headed over there. Tim went in with our documents and explained our situation. The woman he spoke to explained that it usually takes a day or two to do translations (which is the same thing we were told by our Kampala attorney and that’s time we didn’t have), but she would check to see if there was anyone there who could help. In the awesome way that He does, when the lady went to check on availability, God provided a translator in the office at that very moment who did not have anything else to do and could translate our documents immediately. So we walked the university campus, played, looked around, had (a fantastic and cheap) lunch at a on-campus cafe, and after about an hour and a half, our documents were translated, signed and certified. AMAZING! We raced home in order to get the documents and translations assembled and scanned and to do the final edits on our email. We sent everything to our attorney, and she gave us a couple slight changes to make and then told us to send it. We sent the final draft of the email with all the attachments at 4:45pm our time, just before business closed. We have no idea if someone saw it today, but it was important that it was sent because the plan is for “M” to send a follow up email to the USCIS Nairobi director tomorrow. This is someone she has worked with before, and she is basically going to reference the email we sent today and “vouch” for our case, saying that she agrees it was sent inappropriately. And we will just see what happens from there.

We are thankful for:
-Our driver “B.” Did I mention that his wife had a baby yesterday? Yeah, crazy. When Tim called him to come get us, “B” didn’t say a word about it. He just showed up to get us and casually mentioned that his son had been born the previous day. WHAT?!?!? He told us his mother-in-law is taking care of his wife and his baby and he came to drive us. So. Nuts.
-That God provided a way for us to get what we needed immediately in a place where nothing happens immediately. Nothing. It was truly miraculous how quickly and easily we got the translations we needed.
-That “M” thought of this new idea for getting our case expedited and that she has a good working relationship with the director that allows her vouch for us
-That we got an email today from USCIS Nairobi confirming receipt of our case. This allowed us to simply reply to the email confirming receipt, which makes it easier to identify which case our email refers to

Please pray:
-For the person who reads our email tomorrow (or who read it today before they left the office). That God will give us favor with this person and move his/her heart toward us
-For the director who will be receiving an email from “M” tomorrow. That God will use the favor “M” has with this woman to move her heart toward us.
-For our hearts. We are hopeful that God will use this approach to expedite our case and get us home faster than anyone thought was possible. While we want to be hopeful, we don’t want to put our hope in this. Our hope should always be in the Lord. Pray that we will guard our hearts to place our ultimate hope only in God.

We’ve been here before, praying for the Lord to turn the hearts of particular people toward us, since “the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” (Prov 21) I quoted that verse when I asked y’all to pray for the embassy official who denied our visas. Being in the same spot again just two short weeks later is making me recall all the emotions and thoughts from those few days when we were pleading with the embassy official to grant our visas and not send our case to Nairobi. I’m just going to try to articulate what was swirling around in my heart and head back then, just because I don’t want to forget. It was so hard, such a struggle, but I still want to remember that part of our story.

When Tim went to plead with the embassy official for the third and final time on Wednesday, August 8th, I stayed behind with the kids and was just a wreck. I mean, a big, fat mess. I was fighting fear and anxiety, and I was losing, big time.
I was so anxious and fearful that I could barely pray. It was like I had forgotten how to pray. Out of nowhere, my prayer became, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” I knew that was from the Bible, though I couldn’t remember where at the time, but all of a sudden I knew that my fear and anxiety were rooted in unbelief: a failure to believe that what God has revealed about Himself is true- God is good, God is in control, God is able to work all things for my good and His glory, etc. So I just kept praying that prayer over and over.
As I was praying that, another Scripture came to mind. In the book of Luke, Jesus is talking to Peter before Peter’s denial and He tells Peter, “Satan has asked to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail, and when you have turned, strengthen your brothers.” So I added, “Jesus, I pray that my faith may not fail” to my desperate prayer.
As I was praying that, the Holy Spirit brought another Scripture to mind: Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane right before he was unjustly arrested, tried and crucified. “Lord, if you are willing, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not my will, but your will be done.” When that verse came to mind, it struck me in a way that it never has before that Jesus asked something of His Father that His Father chose not to give Him; that is, Jesus asked to not go to the cross, and His Father said no and sent Him there. Of all people that God should have said yes to, it should have been Jesus, His perfect Son, right? Here’s the thing: God knew He would get greater glory by having Jesus go to the cross, because Jesus going to the cross would be the way He would provide salvation for the whole world. So, in His perfect wisdom and love, God denied His Son’s request.
I suddenly realized that the embassy official would say no. That our visas would be denied. That our case would go to Nairobi. That God would say no to our request to change the official’s heart. And you know what? As soon as that thought occurred to me, another one did too, this time from the book of Matthew: “I am the Lord’s servant, let it be to me as you have said.” You know who said that? Mary, the mother of Jesus. A teenage girl who had just learned she was going to become pregnant without a husband. She knew that was impossible and yet she believed. She knew the disgrace she would suffer and yet she embraced it.
I realized that it would all be OK. Our case would go to Nairobi, and God would be glorified. And so “let it be to me as you have said” became my prayer.

If you got through all that mish-mash of random thoughts, heart cries, prayers… well done. I needed to get all that out. Recalling all that does my heart good. Our case is now in Nairboi, exactly where God intended for it to be all along. God can do whatever He wants to do with it there. Just because He chose not to move in the heart of the official to keep it from going to Nairobi, does not mean that He can’t move hearts now. He can, and we pray that He will. And regardless of what He decides to do, He will be glorified. Let it be so.

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