July, 2017

Dear Praying Friends,

We want to thank you for the overwhelming response of prayer and encouragement in light of the setback we experienced last week. You have lifted us up in countless ways, and God has used you to keep us strong in the midst of difficulty! How beautiful is the body of Christ!!

First, an update on our visa situation. Yesterday, I picked up our passports and rejection letter from the Consulate where we applied. None of the reasons stated for our rejection make any sense; nor are they true. I’ve tried to seek explanation, clarification, and further direction; but, there’s nothing we can do to reverse this particular decision. Therefore, we are moving ahead to offer an entirely new application in a different location. The details of this are complex, and we are happy to discuss this with each/any of you via one-to-one email. In sum, our plan is to make this new application on Tuesday morning of this upcoming week. And so, we solicit your fervent prayers once again. Please pray that God will allow a proper handling of our paperwork. Please pray specifically that those making the decisions will be objective, fair, and that they will operate in accordance with their own stated policies.

Second, we do have some fantastic news! Friends of ours from Canada, also on deputation for Knysna, received their approved visas today, less than a week from when they applied. This is a huge blessing for them, as they were quite concerned after hearing of our rejection. But this is a blessing for us as well because it indicates that there is no new policy from the South African side of things whereby missionary/volunteer workers are being categorically stymied. Our Canadian friends experienced an adjudication that fit the stated policies. So, as long as we have someone who will do the same for us, we can anticipate an approval. Clearly, their success does not guarantee ours. And obviously our ultimate hope and trust is in God – not in the “luck of the draw” concerning who might handle our applications. But what a blessing that God would allow us to see this happen for our friends, merely three days before we take our next turn!

Third, we have even more great news! Our prayer and financial support have actually increased since the setback from last week. So, while we have experienced a low point in our pre-Knysna journey, God’s people are not detoured or disheartened. On the contrary, you all are behind us more than ever; and God is bringing many of you closer to us (and each other!) through this opportunity to plead with Him on our behalf. Only God can do this. Only He can turn a negative like this into an opportunity for blessing, growth, and deepened relationships. To Him be the glory!

We’ll update you further as we have more to report. In the meantime, please continue praying for us. And please know you are all loved and appreciated more than you’ll ever know!

Trusting in Him alone,
George and Amy