It has been busy since we arrived in Montana, and it is very good to be here once again for a season. We almost never made it here, and if God did not intercede, we would surely not be here now. I want to tell you a brief story of God's grace in a desperate situation.
Chase turned 18 recently which resulted in the expiration of his Peruvian visa. I went to the immigration office in Cusco many times trying to figure out what we had to do so that he could leave the country with no problems. I was told many different things. The laws in Peru change so much and most of the people in immigration don't know them anyway. I was finally told by the man in charge of immigrations in Cusco that I must go to the airport upon our exit and pay a fine for Chase's expired visa. That sounded good to me. I verified this with our lawyer in Lima and others.
The day finally arrived for us to start our two day trip to the United States. We made it to Lima with no problems; we checked in for our flight to the States; we made it through security; finally we stood in the line to go through immigrations. When they scanned Chase's passport it showed his visa to be expired. I said we would pay the fine and be on our way. They lady said we could not pay anything and she left to speak to another person. We were brought to this lady who told us that Chase cannot leave the country with an expired visa and that we must go to the immigration office in Lima to straighten it out. Our plane was to leave in 2 hours, and being now about midnight, the office in Lima was obviously closed. I begged the lady to let us go because we could not miss this costly flight. She sent us to the boss of immigrations at the airport. He was very rude and basically told us Chase could not leave the country and tough for us.
We thought about having Kim and the girls get on the flight, but then realized that Kim could not travel with the kids without a notarized document from me. This is a rule for parents traveling with their kids without their spouse. This would have caused great problems if Kim would have left and they probably would have restrained in Atlanta.
We could do nothing else but miss our flight. I called our friend Eddie who lives in Lima. He saved the day by driving an hour to come pick us up. He called his friend who owns a hostel and got us some rooms. We crashed soon after 3am and we were devastated that we were stuck in Lima.
The next day Eddie picked Chase and I up and we all went to immigrations. The first three people we asked told us three different things to reconcile our situation, none of which were correct. The situation was complicated because Chase's passport also expired. We got a new passport months ago, but the visa stamp was in the old passport. We could not transfer the stamp to the new passport because his visa was expired. It was looking like we would be stuck in Lima for weeks now.
|The sweet exit stamps needed to leave Peru|
Finally, thanks to Eddie's persistence, he found someone who knew what they were doing and how to solve our problem. We set off on a path of paperwork, banks, and notaries. God put this particular lady at immigrations in our path by His glorious providence. We got all the required steps finished and the lady let Eddie and Chase go to the front of the line again. After only 2 1/2 hours we were finished and had all the required exit stamps to enable Chase to leave. This was a complete work of God.
We now rushed back to the hostel to try to buy new plane tickets. We went from excited to devastated once again. They cheapest tickets we could find for the whole family came to almost $12,000 and they were for 5 days later. We could not do this. It seemed very realistic that we would have to return to Cusco and cancel our trip.
At the same time I was desperately searching for tickets, Kim was talking to my mom on the internet. She said my mom was on the phone with Delta and demanding that they give us our tickets back. I laughed because my Mom is always like this. She was probably going to call the president next. I told Kim that it was a waste of time and that Delta would never give us our tickets back because it was not their fault we missed the plane.
A few seconds later, my mom wrote that Delta just restored our tickets. I was left in a state of shock. It was impossible, but it happened. My mom talked to a local lady in Helena, Montana who actually cared about our situation and restored our tickets for this very night. Later this lady, Sara, said that if we did not call that minute, she would have not been able to restore the tickets. One second we were going back to Cusco, and the next second we had free tickets to the States that night.
The rest of the trip was more or less uneventful. God is so good. Often times we do not know why we go through the trials that we do, but we can always depend on the character of God. He works all things for our good and His glory. We were able to see God's deliverance once again. It seems like we have seen things like this so many times over the years. We find ourselves in an impossible situation that God has ordained, and then He sovereignly fixes it just to show His love, glory, power, and goodness to those who love Him. It is also amazing that God puts awesome people in our lives at the perfect time to be used by God to help us. If God gave His own Son to die for us, will He not give us all things. Praise Him!