Moving (or spending the summer) overseas does, in fact, require a passport. For today’s “Missions Monday” I thought I’d share our two bumps and a blessing when it comes to passports.
Bump #1 ~ Joey, Emma and I needed to renew our passports in order to go to the DR this summer so in April we went to a local drug store, got our (ugly) passport photos made and with just over six weeks ‘til Grubbie Group 1 (Kevin, Julia & Joey) would be departing. However, when we got to week six, the passports still had not arrived. It was Memorial Weekend so I had to wait until Tuesday morning to call the passport agency to see if Joey’s passport would be arriving that week. The representative was very helpful, but let know me that it was highly unlikely that the passport would be there by Friday for a Saturday international departure. However, if we would like to expedite it, for $75 (blah), that would increase the chances that it would come by the end of the week ~ but it was still not guaranteed. Great. So expedite we did. That night, a friend told us to contact our State Representative and sometimes they (or their office) can assist with getting your passport. Wednesday morning I called Bob Latta’s office and they were quick to return my call and eager and willing to help (go Team Latta!). We were just about to fax over the privacy permission for them to act on our behalf when who comes showing up in brown but the lovely UPS truck! Yea! Joey’s passport was here ~ Hurray!
Bump #2 ~ We were still waiting patiently for Emma’s passport to come, but I wasn’t worried since I knew I could still expedite the week we were leaving if necessary. It came the Friday before she left for her 8th grade class trip to Canada. Hurray! Good thing because on the morning they left for the trip, her teacher asked for her birth certificate. Ummmmm, I had asked E if she needed that and she told me no. We live close to the school so I ran home to get her birth certificate. When I got home, though, it was not in the file envelope where I have all of our birth certificates. Then I realized that I had sent her birth certificate in to renew her passport, and they had not sent that back yet. GOOD THING her passport came the Friday before her trip, as she was able to use her passport instead of her birth certificate (and was able to go on the trip). Breathe.
Blessing ~ I hope you stuck with this blog long enough to be here for the blessing. Because it’s a doozy. God worked overtime with immeasurable favor for Kevin to get his passport. See, in November, we had coffee with Ron Bishop, the founder of SCORE International. It was just a casual coffee, that ended up stirring the pot of our hearts back towards missions and SCORE in particular. That’s another story for another “Missions Monday”. Tuesday after our “coffee” Kevin called Mr. Bishop to let him know that we were going to be praying about coming back with SCORE. He said, “Great. Why don’t you join me in the Dominican this Saturday for the annual baseball outreach?” Kevin was so excited to tell me about Ron’s offer to join him that week in the Dominican, but unfortunately I had to burst his bubble and let him know that his passport was expired. I knew this because my passport was expired and we had renewed them at the same time the last time. If you know Kevin, that was not the end of that. 🙂 He went online and googled “how to get your passport in 24 hours”. Wouldn’t you know there are a LOT of agencies that will be GLAD to (take all of your personal information and) “help you get your passport”. I was like, “Kevin, really. No.” After talking him off of the identity theft cliff, we decided that we would call the actual passport agency the next morning and see if there was anything he could do to get a passport by that Friday. Even, Trey ~ the VP of Ministries at SCORE was like, “Kevin, sorry dude. Maybe next time.” The ever-optimistic Kevin Joe, though, pressed on. On Wednesday he spoke with someone from the Passport Agency and they said the only thing that was even a remote possibility would be to go to the nearest passport agency location in person, but again there were no guarantees. She made him an appointment to go to the Detroit office the next day (Thursday). Holding on to some hope here. 🙂
Thursday morning, Kevin headed up to Detroit praying and asking God for favor if it was His will for him to be on this trip. It was totally in God’s hands. When he arrived at the agency, he took his number, sat down and waited. One person came back from the “window” and Kevin asked, “Hey, how long did they say until you would get your passport?” The guy replied, “Five days.” Oh. Another person walked away from the window. How long? About five days. Oh. Then it was his turn. He gets to the window and the agent looks at his old passport and his application. He says, “Oh, you’re a pastor!?!” Kevin said, “Yup.”
“That’s great. I love Jesus, man!”
“Really, that’s cool.”
The conversation ensued. Where are you going? What will you be doing in the Dominican Republic? What’s your favorite Bible verse?
Then, the guy asked if Kevin had time to wait around about an hour or so. At that point Kevin figured the guy would want to talk with him since he now knew he was a pastor. You know, people like to talk to pastors about life and stuff ;). He still wasn’t working since the church closed in August and he had all the time in the world, so he said, “Sure! But hey, do you know if I’ll be able to get that passport by tomorrow?” The guy’s response was a direct answer to his prayer from earlier…
The passport agent said, “Kevin. I woke up this morning and God said, ‘You’re going to do something great for Me today,’ and buddy, you’re it! Your passport will be ready for you to take with you in about an hour!” WHAT? He calls and texts me. I was in disbelief. Quietly praising GOD (holding it in since I was at work), in awe. Wow.
Kevin called Trey from the SCORE home office and Trey didn’t believe him either. Kevin had to text him a picture of it :D. Sure enough, all systems were a GO and Kevin was able to go to the Dominican that Saturday with Ron, help with the baseball outreach and pray about if God may have it in His plan for us to return to the DR. GO GOD!