The king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord, He directs it wherever he pleases… Proverbs 21:1
I have never been one of those people who enjoys taking a vacation from her children. Don’t get me wrong, nap time if absolutely wonderful and even necessary for my sanity, but after a couple of hours of being away from my children, I find myself missing then and ready to be home. A 7 hour school day nearly kills me! Quite possibly this is because so much of my children’s lives, especially the older ones have been spent away from me and now I want to soak up every minute. Possibly, it is just because God wired me this way, craving noise and bustle, loving so deeply that I physically ache to be away from those I love.
You can imagine then, that fundraising trips to the US, though brief, are quite a struggle! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE seeing my family and friends, but I simply dread being away from my precious ones for weeks at a time. Last summer when I was in the states, I was so distraught about being away from Gracie (who was the youngest at the time and needed the most mommy love) that I got shingles!
I couldn’t stand the thought of leaving Patricia for three whole weeks since she is not even old enough to understand the concept of Mommy coming right back. I knew it would be nearly impossible to get a visa for her though. I knew all kinds of people waiting for visas and others whose visas to the US had been denied. It seemed like a shot in the dark but I was determined to try, and pray, anyway.
I was finally granted Patricia’s legal guardian in Ugandan court on April 12, just a month before I was scheduled to leave for the states. I immediately went online to try to book a visa appointment. There were no available appointments until September! Surely not I emailed every address I could find on the website asking if there was anything I could do to expedite the appointment and heard nothing. Each time I called the embassy, I was told the same thing byte the receptionist. She was always very kind, but the answer was, “You must make your appointment online.” Other times the person on the other end of the phone would ask if it was an emergency, but I couldn’t lie. I selfishly wanted to take my baby with me on a trip, but we weren’t having brain surgery. So I just kept telling them that I was coming right back and just really wanted her to visit my family in the states.
The answer was always No.
Not being one to give up easily, Monday morning Patricia and I drove to the embassy. Surely once we got there they would have to give us an appointment! There were only 2 weeks left until we were scheduled to leave. I prayed the whole 2 hour drive to Kampala. Upon arriving and telling the same story to the outside receptionist who unlocks the doors, he just looked at me. “You cannot come in,” he said. This was not what I had expected. I stood there stunned, this had been my one remaining hope. I stood there a few minutes longer and he reached his hand under the bullet proof glass that was separating us to hand me a phone. Bewildered I answered only to have the inside receptionist who I had spoken to the week before on the phone reiterate that I was not allowed to come inside. I got it. As I stood there a few minutes, staring blankly and going over the trip back home and a possible stop to get Patricia lunch in my head, the receptionist must have had pity on me. Or he was tired of me standing there looking stunned. Rolling his eyes, he unlocked the door to let me in. Quick to seize any opportunity, we slipped inside. Once we got in though, we still weren’t allowed to see anyone. We were simply told by a different man that I needed to try to make an appointment online or email the consular. I was almost in tears as I tried to explain that I had already done that many times.
Granted, none of this was the embassy’s fault. They were doing their job for people who had made online appointments well in advance.. But desperate Momma’s can do some desperate things!
We drove home feeling defeated and I frantically texted my dad and sweet prayer warrior friend Cindy to ask them to pray and also ask if there was anyone they could contact in the states that could help. They promised to look into it. On the way home from the embassy, I stopped at immigration to pick up Patricia’s passport which was due to be ready that morning. Since we hadn’t had any luck at the embassy though, I didn’t worry when it wasn’t finished.
We finally arrived home around 4 and at 6 my phone rang. “Ms. Davis, Patricia’s visa appointment is scheduled for 9 am tomorrow.” I gasped into the phone, but the woman had already hung up. I texted Cindy and Dad to ask what they had done or who they had talked to and got the same reply, ” Sorry Kate, I haven’t gotten around to contacting anyone yet!” Of course! I couldn’t help but laugh. Only God had granted us this appointment!
As I got over my initial excitement though, I remembered. Patricia’s passport wasn’t finished like it was supposed to be. You cannot even get into the embassy, let alone have a visa appointment without a passport. They were going to think I was nuts! Frantic once again, I called my good friend Tyler who was in Kampala for the night. He would wait at the passport office for it to open the next mooring and bring the passport to the embassy as soon as it was finished.
This story could last forever if I kept sharing every detail, but it was all SO God oriented. I’ll try to simplify. A million more things went wrong. People’s hearts were obviously going to be changed by meeting Patricia in the states because satan clearly did not want her there and did not want God’s hand seen in this process! Tyler showed up with the passport just as our appointment was set to start, but we needed to fill out an online form with the passport information before they would see us so we headed to the embassy library. I filled out the form at least 9 times, but ever time I would hit the print button, nothing would come out. I used 4 different computers and the library tech guy even came to help me; no one could figure it out. Other papers were printing fine, but for some reason Patricia’s visa application would not. At about 11:45 (appointments end at noon) a sweet embassy worker who had seen my frustration let me come use the computer in her private office where we finally got the form printed, only to get to the reception desk and be told that for the visa application they needed a VISA sized photo (has anyone ever heard of that?) not the passport sized photos I had brought (there is about an eight of an inch difference) and they could not see me. “Come back Thursday,” the receptionist instructed. Feeling defeated and lugging a hungry almost-two year old who had skipped her nap, I trudged home.
Thursday I woke while it was still dark. I wanted to be the first person at the embassy, just in case our day was a crazy as Tuesday. Of course it was pouring. Our van got stuck in the mud more than once and I, in my white dress (don’t have a clue what I was thinking when I put it on), hopped out to push – we were NOT missing this appointment for anything! Once again I prayed and prayed the whole way there that i would have everything I needed and that Jesus would fill the room with peace and understanding. We finally arrived as the embassy was opening. Totally nervous after being warned repeatedly about how difficult the appointment would be, I had brought every piece of paperwork the consular possibly could have asked for and then some. After a three hour wait, it was our turn.
And the consular was absolutely the sweetest woman ever. She complimented Patricia and asked a few questions; she smiled and nodded understandingly as I explained my desire to take her with me. And then she said, “Her visa will be ready tomorrow; have a great trip!” JUST. LIKE. THAT.
I walked out of that office not sure whether to laugh or cry. All the things I had heard, all the papers I had prepared, all the insane obstacles, the hopelessness of the whole situation – the visa would be ready tomorrow! I didn’t even mind making the two hour trip back on Friday, I was so thankful! And on May 1, just ten days before we were scheduled to leave, I had Patricia’s visa in my hand, a visa I should not have even been able to interview for till September.
We had a marvelous time in the states with my parents and brother, and I think that seeing Patricia definitely changed some hearts. We feel so blessed to have been able to visit, and SO thrilled to be back at home with the ladies! So many people asked me if my other girls were jealous that Patricia got to come, but I can honestly say no; they were praying so hard that she would be able to come with me, “so she wouldn’t be sad” and were elated when their prayer was answered. Not to mention that they love Auntie Shana (our AWESOME babysitter) so much and are SO excited to see her once or twice a year, that they hardly mind a few days without me!
Romans says, “If God is for us, who can stand against us?” And God IS for us. We read all the time about God moving mountains and changing hearts and working miracles thousands of years ago, and yet so often we let ourselves believe that those miracles were only for that time period. If I have learned anything in the past three years, it is that this simply isn’t true. God hears us and He is alive and working on our behalf at all times, He delights in answering our prayers and showing his power when we place all of our trust in Him. Almost every time a mountain is in front of me, I feel myself starting to panic bit, and laugh at my humanness! God has never been wrong, He has never removed His faithfulness from my life, He has never not done exactly what is best! I am so thankful to serve a Father who loves and cares about little old, underserving me to grant me the desires of my heart. We are truly blessed.
Mountains melt like wax before the Lord of all the earth! The heavens proclaim His righteousness and all peoples see His glory. Psalm 97:5-6
Our prayer is that as you watch the mountains melt, you will glorify the Father with us!