The Count Down Begins!

I think everyone could chime in and agree with me that this year, 2020, has just not gone the way we expected it would. 

When we came back to the US last year we had only planned on being here for 8 or 9 months at most. Well . . . a year and a half later we’re still trying to get back to Cameroon. 

We had originally planned on returning in January, but an unexpected pregnancy led us to delay (though Sammy did make a short trip to Cameroon then just to check on things and connect with people there in person).

We then planned to return to Cameroon in July . . . but then Covid hit and all of a sudden international travel became so much more complicated. 

BUT . . . (finally) . . . after a long wait, we have finally received Steven’s passport in the mail and plan to get the visa applications in the mail early next week.

Also . . . (finally) . . . we have tickets purchased and an actual departure date set!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 . . .  If nothing else happens to hinder out travel plans we will be departing on that day and finally boarding a plane to begin the long journey back to our home in Africa.

It has been a long wait with a lot of unexpected delays and a lot of factors that have made this trip more challenging than usual, but as a family we are pretty relieved to finally have an actual departure date and to finally see “the end in sight”.

Getting Steven’s passport and purchasing our plane tickets is only a small part of what is needed for our family to travel. There is still a lot that needs to be done and fall into place before we can actually go, so we would certainly appreciate all the prayers we can get!

Please pray for . . .

* A quick processing of our visas. We would normally expect the visas to take about 10-14 days to be processed (though we did give ourselves more time than that before our departure date — just in case). Please pray that there would be nothing to hinder the processing of our visa applications so that we can have our visas in plenty of time.

* A favorable acceptance of our visa applications. Officially the Cameroon border is still considered closed on account of COVID. However, Cameroon has been granting visas to a selection of the applicants and allowing certain individuals (especially humanitarian workers) to enter the country. We personally know of a few other missionaries (including another family with young children) who have successfully returned to Cameroon since its borders were closed, so we are hopeful. It is also to our advantage that Sammy and I still have our Cameroonian residence permits, which gives us a better chance at acquiring visas for our kids. So we are hopeful, but also still aware of the fact that the Cameroon embassy is not obligated to grant our request, and that the decision of whether or not we are granted the visas is entirely to the discretion of the officer looking over our application. So please pray that just the right person would handle our paperwork and applications, and that they would be favorable in granting our application.

* Pray for Mattie’s visa application as well! Some of you are already aware that Mattie (a friend from our home church) is planning to come to Cameroon along with us. She has never been to Cameroon before so there is a slight chance that the Cameroon government would deny her a visa if they were to think of her as being a tourist. We are hoping that sending her application in along with our own will help to increase her chances of having her visa application approved, but once again it is entirely at the discretion of the official processing the applications — so prayers that they would be favorable to her application as well as our own.

* Rapid Covid tests. This is probably the most stressful and most complicated part about traveling right now . . . . in order to board the flight we have to show proof of a negative Covid test that was taken within 72 hours of the time when we will be arriving in Cameroon. That leaves us a very short window for when we need to get the tests done, which also means that any delays in the test results could really complicate things at several different levels for us. It would also complicate things if anyone in our party of 7 (Sammy and I, our 4 kids, and Mattie) were to have their test come back positive. Aside from that, it is also a very unpleasant test to have done so we are kind of dreading having to put our kids through it, so please pray that the testing would go well and that the kids would cooperate and be real troopers with the testing process. Pray that the timing of the tests would be perfect and that the results would indeed be very rapid so that we can have them in time for traveling. And just pray that everything about this would go smoothly without any complications so that our travels would not be delayed further or made to be any more difficult than they already are.

So, yes . . . with passports and tickets in hand the count-down can finally begin!