January 19, 2008

Visa? What visa?????

Today our visas expire and new visas have not been issued to us. Originally we thought we’d make a mad dash to Swaziland with the Witherow family (also waiting on new visas) so that on our return we could get a 90 day visitor visas and buy ourselves a little more time. Then we learned that we would only be issued a 7 day visa. Since it takes a nearly a full day of driving to go to Swaziland then back again, we agreed it wasn’t worth it. We have a representative who specializes in immigration services working on our behalf and he has told us not to be too concerned or worried. The typical response when these types of things happen is… “This is Africa.”

We’ve been hearing that phrase a lot lately.

This past week we were without power on four separate days for four to five hours at a time. South Africa does not have enough electricity capacity for the consumption needs of its people. As a result, the national electric company has employed “load shedding.” Load shedding is when they turn off the electricity in different regions of the country for periods of time to help offset the need for power. The neighborhood we live in is called Weltevreden Park…we are now calling it Weltevredren DARK.

So far this week, we haven’t been told when it is going to happen, so it’s very difficult to plan. One night, I was making dinner….zap…the power goes off and dinner plans change just like that! I am in line to purchase a few things at a store, then the power goes out and the entire mall shuts down…have to come back another day. At Miesha’s Dr appt, the credit card machine charged us 4x instead of once, and two weeks later we are still waiting for the money to get credited back to us because of technical difficulties. Yes, “This is Africa.”

Another big concern is that when the electricity goes off, it makes it very difficult to leave the house because our security system is affected. Do we leave the house and leave it vulnerable to some one breaking in…or do we stay and keep watch? “This is Africa,” and we don’t ever know what to expect. Yesterday, during our team prayer time at the Witherow’s house, (and yes, the power was off once again!) John got a text message from our security company that five armed men were loose in that neighborhood after just robbing some one at their home. The load shedding puts us all more at risk. John stood watch at the end of prayer time, to make sure everyone left safely. Another team family had their gate derailed Thursday night at 3am. We praise God that their dogs scared away the potential intruders. Dan is at their home as I write this trying to repair the damaged gate so they will feel safe again.

Please continue to pray for our safety.

Dan, Miesha and I want to say a huge THANK YOU for the hundreds of emails, and numerous cards and packages we’ve received in the last month congratulating us and celebrating with us in the birth of our daughter. We have also received many Christmas cards this week! (Mail delivery is a little slower here) We loved getting new pictures from many of you – I have put the updated ones on our fridge. Thank you so much! If you have updated pictures of your family – please send some to us. (compressed pictures via email are easiest) It has been two years now and if you want us to recognize you…

We will send out a USA itinerary in our February email letter to you all. We will be home a few short weeks to rest and be with family, but we hope to connect with many of you as well. Right now, between a beautiful little girl who wants to be held all the time and our electricity issues, I haven’t had as much time as I’d like for emailing and planning (or cleaning the house, or sleeping!).

Miesha is growing and becoming more alert and fun every day. We love her to pieces!

Thank you for praying with us for continued health and SAFETY here in South Africa as well as for our Visa situation to be resolved quickly.

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