All over the world it hinders us from doing the needful. In developing countries it can be particularly challenging.
Last March I received an email from my friend Ingrid Subagyo in Jakarta. Ingrid (pictured) is the director of Indonesian Baptist Women, and she invited me to speak at a women’s conference in Papua in September, an event organised by the Indonesian Baptist Alliance. The BWA Women’s Department director Patsy Davis was also to speak, and hundreds of women were expected to attend.
What a wonderful opportunity! I have long wanted to visit Papua, especially as communication with the Baptist women of that nation has never been easy. We met some of them at a BWUSWP conference in Cairns in 2009 but they were denied visas to Hawaii last year.
It seems international travel is a frequent issue with Papua. To get into that nation you need more than a normal visa, you need special permission from the Director General of Immigration in Jakarta, because Papua is a restricted territory and there are various political sensitivities.
So what to do?
God’s angel appears in the person of Ingrid Subagyo, the woman on the ground who was willing to go directly to the top on behalf of Patsy and me. I sent her a copy of my passport, my credit card and a CV, which she then delivered personally to the man in charge.
As I write these lines in mid-August, we are still praying for a positive outcome.
“Every day we check on your visa status,” Ingrid wrote to me yesterday. “Today we went to the Director General of Immigration and had a good talk with the chief there. He is helping us the best he could do. It is not only his office recommendation which is needed but also the Intel/secret agent recommendation, due to the latest issue. It takes some parties. He is working on it. Once he gets it he will telex it directly to the Embassy in Wellington.”
All this could be discouraging, were it not for the awareness that we serve a loving God for whom nothing is too hard. Yesterday in my Bible I read:
“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you’” (Psalm 32:8).
Then today, “For the word of the Lord holds true, and everything he does is worthy of our trust” (Psalm 33:4).
With a God like that, we know all things are possible. Please pray with me about this; I’ll keep you posted.