We have arrived in the US. Our journey on Christmas Eve was ultimately a successful one, but it almost did not get going at all. We had some challenges with UK immigration on Wednesday morning as we prepared to check in to our flight. I’ll set the scene for you….
Christmas Eve morning is very busy at probably every international airport. Manchester is no different. The Christmas getaway frenzy is at its height, passengers carrying extra bags packed with Christmas presents, there are long queues as hundreds of people try to get through security as quickly as they can. In the midst of all this, we were told by UK immigration that they were not confident my visa woud be accepted upon arriving in the US and I could be refused entry. Eh what?
It seems the main concern of the UK Border Agency was that they could be fined by their US counterparts if I was turned away upon arrival in Detroit. We waited very nervously whilst officials discussed if they would allow us to fly. We were finally told that if we secured some additional documentation, a Visa waiver that tourists are normally asked to apply for, that we would be allowed to fly. So we ran off to find access to the internet in the middle of a packed airport, hurriedly completed the documentation online and returned with proof that we had paid and completed the form. Eventually we were approved to fly.
Fourtunately, once arriving in Detroit, my green card was approved within 30 minutes. A day of worry, panic and stress was over, thankfully. Frustratingly, there had been no basis for the concerns of the officials in the UK, only fear that they may recieve a fine based on the fact that they hadnt seen a green card application before.
I guess we shouldn’t be surpised that this was how the day turned out. We continue to learn that when you step out in faith and follow Jesus, lots of obstacles are thrown in your way to try and throw you off course. In football parlance, it sometimes feels like you are 3-0 down only to see your team come back and win 5-3. God always comes through in the end.
I have always admired men and women of faith who seem to be able to trust firmly in Gods promises and faithfulness in the midst of uncertaintly and chaos. I have always wanted to be more like those people. Hebrews 12 comes to mind as you read about some of the giants of the faith. I have worked closely with some of these people in recent years in my work with various ministries in the UK. I’m still not very good at remaining calm in these types of circumstances, but we are certainly getting lots of practice. I’m more thankful for God’s amazing grace, as he allows us to navigate difficult moments with fear, anxiety and disbelief. Its great to look back on these moments and see how God brings us through despite our imperfections.