Significant Events —May 9, 2014

10154038_10152350672039857_4940081464612379659_n 10322432_10152350669194857_6455262576473282013_n

It was a week of events: new babies born, a wedding, a baptism, missionary transfers. Our personal significant event was a bit less exciting. We went to the immigration office to renew our visas.

Apparently our missionary visas have to be renewed, according to government regulations. On Thursday, in the midst of getting transferring missionaries to the terminal and meeting incoming missionaries to get them to their new areas, the telephone rang.

An actual telephone call is relatively uncommon here, as most communication is by text. When we first came here, we considered communication by texts a huge frustration. Now we think it is handy because a text does not demand immediate action, and reception for voice calls is usually poor. This time the telephone rang and I scrambled to get to the phone before we lost the call.

Sister Hall, this is Elder Peck from the mission office. How are you doing?

We are doing fine. And you?

Great! How are transfers going?

We’ve gotten all the outgoing missionaries on the bus and the new ones should be here soon… unless you have other information?

Oh, no, that is not why I am calling. We just received a call from Manila and they need you and Elder Hall to be in the immigration office in Cebu by 9 tomorrow morning.

Umm, okay. But what is going on?

Well, they just need fingerprints and photos to renew your visa. Can you be in the mission office by 8 and we will give you a map and instructions?

Okay, we will be there.

Great! That will save you a trip to Manila.

In that case, we will definitely be there.

We started our trip at 6 am. In the office we met two other senior couples, one from the island of Negros and the other from the island of Bohol in the Cebu East mission, who had left their area the night before to be in Cebu that morning.  A number of young missionaries had also been called randomly to come into the office.

We were handed a picture of the office, a map, and given oral instructions. We carpooled in three vehicles. We carefully followed all directions and found the street where we were to turn into to get to the immigration office. Unfortunately the street was marked with a sign that said, “Do not enter.” We continued to the next corner, turned, and followed the street until we found a place to turn around, or in other words, stop, back partly out of the street and pull back into traffic.

You sisters get out and go get in line while we find a place to park.

The pickup disappeared down the street. We walked into the area in front of the building and milled around with the other waiting people. Our husbands came back. We greeted people we knew and caught up on their activities. Finally a lady asked all the senior couples to follow her into the building and up a flight of stairs. They offered us chairs to sit and wait until we were called to the counter for computerized fingerprints and photos. We returned to our seats to wait again.

We were asked to go back downstairs, back outside and to a booth at the edge of the street for another photo. We were asked to go back upstairs and wait. We were asked to go back downstairs for ink pad fingerprints.

We were asked to go back upstairs and wait. We were asked to go through a door labeled “Information Capturing” for another photo. We were asked to wait again. After only two and half hours we were given permission to leave.

For one of the senior couples, only the husband went through the process. The wife was told that she needed to come back later because her papers were still in Manila.

The wheels of government bureaucracy are interesting to deal with on all sides of the world.








4 thoughts on “Significant Events —May 9, 2014

  1. Afton Diemart

    Dear Verla and John,
    I am so glad you have this blog to follow your adventures. I feel the Lord’s presence every time I read your messages. So much has happened since you left. Thank you so much for the service you gave us before you left. That ramp has been a life savor. Roy can walk now around the house and to the car without his walker, but cannot walk up or down stairs. He is getting better every day. The Lord has blessed us greatly to have such friends as you. The mission is blessed to have you serving the Lord as you have always been kind and serving to your fellowman. I recently had blood clots to my lungs, pneumonia, and a kidney infection at the same time. As I went through this and am still healing I had a priesthood blessing and was promised I would heal and live a long life, all I could think about was “How did Christ endure Gethsemane? He felt all the ills and sins of the human condition and here I am in my own little agony. This is just a small thing and yet it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I knew I could turn to Him for solace and comfort because He knew what I was going through. With pain pills I am getting through this. He went through pain without pain killers. I have such a greater appreciation for Christ as life goes on. I am in awe of his love for me and all men. We all miss you but realize how much you are needed in the field. I love you both. Take care Afton

    1. admin Post author

      Wish the you were here to wait with us. Just think of all visiting we could do! We just received notice that our final Couples Conference before the current mission president goes home has been cancelled—because they have to go to Manila to the immigration office! They can’t do it in Cebu. It is an interesting process.

  2. Audrey Andrus

    Oh heavens, that was too big of a reminder of how things worked in Mada. I thought I’d never complain again about red tape here in the states.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *