August 17 Prayer Requests

It’s that time again! My 17th of the month prayer requests. First off, let’s start with praise!

In my last post, I mentioned my sticky visa situation. On Thursday, I checked for available appointments again out of curiosity, and a spot had opened up for THE NEXT DAY. So I dropped everything else I was doing, got my paperwork in order, and headed to Houston bright and early on Friday morning. My friend and teammate Josh came with me to see where to go and what to do when he has to apply for his visa, and to make the drive more fun. We even got to skype with our teammate Esther on the way there and have a virtual roadtrip with her!

Houston Visa Trip

Friends don’t let friends roadtrip alone.

There were no complications, and on Monday morning I picked up my passport with my new visa in it from the post office! Praise the Lord!

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I am so grateful and in awe of the ways that the Lord has provided. He just keeps reaching down and quieting my heart, reminding me to trust Him, and wrapping me up in His presence.

So my prayer requests for this month mostly revolve around my forthcoming transitions. TWENTY-TWO DAYS from now, I will be on an airplane headed back to my heartland. Here are a few of the things that I am praying about in regards to returning to Rome:

  • Saying Goodbye See You Later – Pray that my last few weeks in the States are spent well, enjoying every moment I can with family and friends.
  • Safe Travels – Pray for uneventful flights and zero complications with layovers, luggage, etc.
  • Language Learning – Pray for easy transition back into using Italian everyday. I’m so looking forward to being immersed in this language again, but I’m sure that I am going to be a little rusty after being in the States for nearly a year and a half.
  • Apartment Hunting – Pray for the place that I will call home! I have been searching online for apartments and I can’t wait to check out listings in person once I arrive. I really want to find a place that is accessible that I can use in the ministry of hospitality.
  • New Roles – Pray for the new responsibilities I will take on as our Team’s English Outreach Coordinator and for the roles that I will have in helping our interns adjust well to life on the Rome City Team.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
– Psalm 103:1-5 (ESV)

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Peace in the Whirlwind

Deep breaths. *inhale* And let it out. *exhale* Ok, let’s begin.

Can I tell you how crazy the past few weeks have felt? If you know me very well at all, you will know that my Myers-Briggs type might as well be written with only one capital letter: inFp. I identify pretty clearly with most of the descriptors of this type, but more than any other aspect, I am absolutely a Feeler. I think with my heart, I am concerned about the way that my decisions will affect other people, I deeply desire harmony, and I process a LOT of emotions.

A few weeks ago, my team leaders told me that they wanted me to shoot to arrive in Rome at the beginning of September. Whoa! I am so excited to be getting back to life and ministry and all my dear people in Italy, but this was a sooner departure date than I had anticipated, and not going to lie, I freaked out a little bit.

I started mentally processing what transition back to Rome will look like, leaving my family and the dear community that I have formed here in my passport country. The States are home, but Rome is home too. Movement is such a strange feeling now, because I’m always going to people I love and leaving people I love at the same time.

We started getting things in order for this planned departure date of September 8th, and I started to calm down. By the first week of August, I had all my support necessary to fund my budget for two more years of serving on the Rome City Team! Cue all of the emotions about being fully funded! Then last Wednesday, I bought my plane ticket! Celebrations!

Then just this weekend, I was finally getting everything in hand to apply for my visa. But Sunday night when I went to set an appointment at the consulate, the whole month of August was red – NO APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE for the the rest of the month. I immediately prayed, “Lord, please present a solution. I don’t even know what to ask You to do, but please work something out!”

So here’s where we stand right now: Either the consulate will work with me somehow, I will be able to apply for my visa SOON, and I will continue with my plans to fly out on September 8th, OR I will go for a visa appointment on September 6th, I will pay the fee to change my flight, and I will depart toward the end of September. There is not a lot that I can do about it either way, and worrying is not going to help in the slightest.

So I am going to trust in the Lord’s timing. His peace that passes understanding has been SO comforting the last couple of days. Even when it feels like my emotions are riding a roller coaster, He will continue to be faithful.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
– Psalm 91:1-4 (ESV)

Visa Success!

God is so good! Thank you to everyone who prayed for my visa appointment on Monday. I arrived early and they let me right into my appointment anyway. I was questioned a little bit about my commissioning certificate, but nothing like last time. There were no problems at all. I was allowed to apply and we were back on the road before my appointment was even supposed to start. And guess what. This morning, not even 48 hours later, my visa arrived in the mail! The Lord truly prepared the way and made this process easier than I ever thought it would be!

Hooray! 27 days to departure!

Preparation and Prayer

Where did February go? It’s March already and time is marching on toward my departure date – April 1st. That’s right. 30 days.

Isn’t it wonderful how the Lord provides? And isn’t it funny how we’re continually surprised when He does? The last month and a half has been an incredible blessing, and it has been so encouraging to see Him work and fulfill my needs. Let me tell you a couple stories to illustrate…

First, please be praying for tomorrow, Monday, March 3rd as I go to Houston to apply for my visa. Over the past several weeks, I have been collaborating with my team leaders and leadership at EFCA headquarters to put together paperwork that I’ll be taking with me to my appointment at the Italian consulate. I finally have all my official documents in place and plan to submit my application tomorrow. This process last time was very difficult. I am praying that since I have been issued a religious worker visa in the past and have documented proof of living in Italy that my appointment will go more smoothly. Please be praying with me for this appointment tomorrow morning at 10:30 CST.

At the end of January, I was searching for an affordable option for airfare. Since I will be gone for a whole year and airfare cannot be purchased more than 11 months in advance, I could only search for one-way flights to Rome. I began to find that these are often even more expensive than round-trip tickets. Eventually, I found a travel agency that provides affordable airfare for missionaries, humanitarian aid, adoptive families, etc. I was able to get a great flight leaving on April 1st for less than what I had budgeted!

I also started thinking about needing a new place to live. Without talking to anyone, a couple of the girls who go to the church that I attend in Rome contacted me. They said they had heard that I will be needing a place to live when I get back and that they are looking for another roommate. After talking with my team leaders and Skyping with the girls about the details, I decided to live with them! This means my rent will be cheaper than what I had planned – another blessing for my budget! I am also really excited to know that I’ll be living in  community with other believers, not too far from the rest of my ReachGlobal teammates, and in a great area of the city for ministry.

My budget is almost completely funded and I have less than $1000 left to raise for the entire year! If you’re interested in giving, go to http://www.efca.org/give. Click “Give Now” and under Designation: Other, put my account number “Creamer – IMA #1488.” I am so blessed by all of the parters that the Lord has led to join in this ministry and I am confident that He will supply the remaining support.

The little things [and big things] are all coming together, and I know the next 30 days are going to pass by really quickly. Please be praying for me as I wrap up my time in the States and prepare to go back on the field for another year.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

-Isaiah 60:1