School started on March 5th, but on that day I was unable to. Due to a huge oversight of mine the NZ Government had rejected my application as it wasn't complete. What was needed? Just an FBI background check that takes about 3 months to do..... Oh NO! My heart raced in late February as I resubmitted my application Just a mere 3 business days before school started. I was still holding on to hope, but frustrated at myself for not realizing this mistake I had made about new requirements for studying over two years in New Zealand. March 5th came and went, with it my heart was heavy.
March 6th- Facebook update:
Pray for my student visa to be approved. School started, but I can't without it. Sitting, praying, waiting.
On Thursday the 7th, I called Immigration to see how my application was doing. To my dismay the government, even though receiving my application had not even looked at it as it was under a stack of other applications. I was told to fax them a request for urgency which I did a few hours later. I really struggled with the thought of having to wait an entire year to study at Laidlaw since my recovery! On the same day, I was told by staff at Laidlaw that given my situation and timetable I was under, receiving a visa would be impossible. I was told to let it go and think about new possible plans for the year. Receiving this news was like a bullet to the chest. I had to take a walk around school, eventually ending up in the Laidlaw chapel alone to cry out to the Father. I had seen God work so many times before, but maybe he had different plans for me this semester. Later that afternoon I had come to terms with that fact. I accepted my situation, but vowed to not go down without a fight.
March 7th- Facebook update:
I was told by the admin at school today that my visa will be impossible to get by the 16th, which is the final possible day to begin my studies. This came in light of new information about Immigration inquiring about my surgery in the states. I, nor the school knew that requirement before I reapplied. This could take another 3 weeks. After the 16th I will have failed all of my classes by default, not meeting the 80% attendance requirement. Living on a prayer, asking for a total miracle, I know it's possible because I have seen them before. I've worked through some emotions of waiting another 6 months to study and I'm (now) content with the outcome. God is good. He is sufficient. His loving plans are superior. His name be praised.
March 8 Facebook status update:
After faxing Immigration NZ yesterday requesting urgency, it seems my application has now moved up the ladder. Current status given via email by government is: Processing. They even charged my bank account, which doesn't imply much, but last time when they rejected my app on Feb 8th, my account wasn't charged. These things are positive, but could just as easily be nothing. Thank you for all your prayers and love... I'm still pressing onward doing my Greek homework for the class I can't go to... yet.
On Friday the 9th, I called again, but still, no case worker had been assigned to me. This was a confirmation to me of what the Staff had said about the impossibility of my situation. My hopes were temporarily raised when my visa status was "processing," but those were let down after Immigration said that no one had been assigned to my case yet. The weekend came and went, but I will discuss that in greater detail later. Monday the 12th came, 3 days away from failing all courses and being unable to study this semester in NZ. And then...........
My Facebook Status on Tuesday March 13th:
On Saturday I was at a friends bachelor (stag) party. I met a guy there that had never met me before that began to speak prophetically into my life in a way that rocked me. Our loving Father has heard my prayers. This man also prayed over me that my VISA would arrive on Tuesday (today). I put on a clean shirt and a tie this morning in preparation. I called the Immigration Office after lunch to see how my visa was doing, long story short, they said: "not good." Before I typed a letter to my case worker, I received an email from a friend in the States out of nowhere (she doesn't have me on facebook or know about my visa situation), "hold fast to the promises of GOD!" After reading her email, I typed the letter to my case worker with hope, sent it, then received a call 3 minutes later from Rose at Immigration to hear my story. NZ Immigration Made an exception to their rules! I'm once again a student at Laidlaw!!! God alone be praised. Tell everyone you know this story, let's make Him famous!!!!!!!!!!! Now I don't look so dumb wearing this tie. In Christ alone. Amen.
On Saturday, I was introduced to a complete stranger who I engaged in general friendly conversation. During the whole time, I felt like he was looking into me/through me?? It was strange, but not strange enough for me to be uncomfortable. A few minutes into the conversation though, almost without warning he began to list off some of my character traits. I stared at him like, "I'm listening, where are you going with this, you don't know me??" He started listing off more and more of my character traits, personality traits, strengths and some weaknesses. Then he started listing off specific prayers of mine that I pray for in the early hours of the morning. My mouth dropped as I hadn't shared those things with anyone and I held my hands open to God. I knew this was the real deal. This has never happened before from a stranger and prophetic words that I consider valid and trust worthy have only taken place 2 times before that in my life. They are all consistent. After that I was prayed over and the man prayed for Tuesday specifically for my visa to arrive so I held onto that date. That wasn't part of the prophetic words but during prayer over me, so I held onto it, if not somewhat loosely. Confident, but not wanting to be let down.
Here is the edited email that was sent to me on March 13th before I typed another letter to Immigration, I won't name the person that sent it to me, but her dad is a doctor in Port Angeles (figure it out).
"I was reading an article and a line stuck out to me that said, "Weak in body, but strong in faith, he laid hold on the promises of God". God laid you on my heart and I wanted to pray for you. I know that you've had some health issues (which I think were a positive thing since we caught up on life!) but I feel like the description of the man above goes past that, so during this time of school and life I want to pray that you are holding fast to the promises of God........edit............ Stay strong :) "
Nothing in the email talked about a visa at all, but I felt in my heart that this was a confirmation. 15 minutes after this email my phone rang. At first, my case worker told me that since my application was incomplete it would be placed in a different stack of applications to be considered later. She suggested that I contact another Immigration officer that implied to me that her hands were tied. But, after some more questioning she hinted that it might be granted. Another 5 minutes of answering questions, she told me that she indeed could approve it and bring it back into her stack of applications. I was told that because I applied for the 6 month visa instead of the year visa (which I couldn't afford to do at the time), it would be accepted. When I apply for my student visa next semester I will need to include the FBI background check if I wish to attend. Praise God!!! What more can I say?
Thank you to those that have prayed over me and for me. Please ask God to keep illuminating my steps. As a part of what God revealed to me on Saturday at the party, I might be staying in New Zealand for much longer than anticipated. I wasn't told in what capacity I will be serving the Kingdom, but I'm (I think) up for whatever God has in mind. More was shared in those prophetic words, but I won't reveal that on here. Thank you all for your love and prayers. I stand in amazement of the God of the Universe that is the God of our lives. We are loved, and we are pursued... it's for our joy and His glory to understand these words by embracing the reality of the risen Christ, sooner than later. To God be all the glory. Amen.