Thursday, June 30, 2011

23 Days

I cannot believe that I am going to say this - but I kind of miss having to keep my house totally in order.  There are signs of packing and sorting in every room of my house and I miss the order and calmness that was here before.  Tomorrow is the packing part.... remember everyone is invited..... so tonight I will clean house.  I definitely cannot work in chaos any longer.

Hope to see you tomorrow.  Come for as short or as long of a time as you have.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

24 Days....

I took the night off last night.  I sat in my big blue comfy chair (which by the way is for sale) with a laptop and did nothing!  I was exhausted.  We had a friend come by to go "shopping" in the camping supplies and Scott and he handled that task.  Then Scott sorted and packed clothes (winter clothes are staying here for someone to ship to us later).  Then Hannah and Alex came home from working with our Burmese friends and Hannah worked on her summer reading assignments.  Finally Scott worked on reading for his seminary class and I went to bed. 

Why am I telling you this?  Because I want you to know two things:  1)  I am blessed by a husband who kept on working and understood that it is crunch time at work right now due to VBS being less than 2 weeks away and I was exhausted but he was willing to keep on working and not be irritated by my doing absolutely nothing and 2) I am totally human.  It may look on the outside like I just keep going and going - but know the truth - I crash just like everyone else.

Praise:  Another new partner yesterday - we are at nearly 72% of our support.  There are only 39 more provinces available on the partnership map - will you take a province today?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

25 Days....Time for a Packing Party

If I could figure out how to spell the sound effects from the movie Jaws that is probably what I would have put after the countdown.  I sure do have a lot to do in the next 25 days - time to get serious and quit avoiding the work!

The appraiser comes today (we are still waiting on the inspection report) so we are inching closer.  The window repairman is coming this morning to fix a broken window we know we need to replace.  Two couches are leaving the house this morning and probably a table tonight.  Hannah's bed leaves on Thursday and Scott's chair and Zach's bed is leaving on Saturday.  It is really beginning to look like we are moving!

If you are reading this and live locally you are invited to come over and help on Friday, July 1.  At 9:00 the seriousness begins!  We are going to pull everything out of cabinets, closets, drawers, etc and prepare it for the garage sale, pack it in a box, take it to Goodwill, or list on the computer for sale.  All help will be appreciated, plus it will just make it a lot more fun.  I'll provide lunch.  I have an appointment at 4:00 so we won't work past 3.  Just let me know you are coming so I know how many to prepare lunch for.  If you can't come at 9 - just come when you can.  It will be a fun day!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Suitcases and VBS

Hannah and I spoke at Lake Dale Baptist Church in Wauchula, Florida back in May.  It is a tiny country church in the middle of nowhere.  It is surrounded by farm land and citrus groves.  The majority of the members have lived in the area their entire lives and many have attended the same church for their whole life as well.  My grandfather was the preacher there when my mom was a teenager.  In fact, my parents were married there.  We were invited to the church because my aunt still lives in Wauchula and still attends Lake Dale.  I do not think she has ever been a member anywhere else since her late teen years (I'll have to check on that).

They adopted our family for their VBS mission project.  They set up a suitcase with pictures of the family and Spain and set a goal of raising enough money for 1 1/2 suitcases of freight to go to Spain (about $225).  This morning I got a skype message from my aunt - they collected $600!  Yes, that is right - $600.  It is their largest VBS offering ever.  Not only did they collect that much, they prayed for us all week and many continue to pray for as well.  They collected enough for 4 suitcases of freight!

Thank you Lake Dale Baptist Church - not only for generous hearts but also for deep felt prayers!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

That's a LOT of Money

I have been at camp all week with children and youth from our church.  I have met a lot of people who I have gotten to share with about our journey to Spain.  When it has come to partnership, I have gotten the same reaction quite often... "That's a LOT of money!"  Yep, you are right.  We do have to raise quite a bit of money for our support, but when you begin to see where it goes it doesn't quite seem so much.

Our support is $9781 per month.  Here is where it goes...

  • Housing - we are given a housing allowance - a 1200 square foot unfurnished apartment will be between $1200 and $1500 per month.  Nothing fancy - 3 bedrooms, a bath, a living area, and a kitchen.  If we choose living arrangements that cost most than the allowance it comes out of our salary.
  • Insurance - we will pay for our entire health insurance - no employer helping with those costs, although we are part of a group plan that will help lower the costs.  This is approximately $1000 per month.
  • Salary - we will receiving a modest salary - this will cover all of our personal expenses except housing - these include utilities, food, entertainment, clothing, personal transportation, tithes, field trips, cell phones, Internet, .... - this salary will allow us to live a modest life style - we will not be poor, but we will have to be very wise with our spending to make it stretch each month
  • Education - there is an education allowance included in our support.  This does not pay for our kids to go to college - we will be doing that the old fashioned way - financial aid (if we qualify), scholarships, loans, savings, and work studies.  This allowance covers educational needs through 12th grade.  For Hannah, this allowance will allow her to do her senior year in an English speaking missionary school.  (By the way, because SEND has missionary teachers at the school her tuition is reduced)  For Alex this will allow him to go to Spanish public schools and have a tutor to help him stay caught up with academics until he masters enough Spanish to succeed in school.   There is no education allowance for Zach (and there is actually no support allowance for him in any category)
  • Taxes - the US Government will consider us self employed so we will have to pay self employment tax as well as Social Security (I don't understand this whole category - just know about how much we will have to pay).  The Spanish government will also take it's share of taxes.
  • Retirement - because of our age (makes us sound real old) SEND requires us to put a certain amount of money into retirement each month.  They want to be sure we have something saved when we retire from the field.  However, if we are depending on this amount to live off when we retire we are in trouble.  We will have to continue to save personally for retirement as well.
  • Ministry- all of our ministry expenses will be funded through our support - this includes materials, transportation, crafts, etc. 
  • Administration - and yes, a small portion of our monthly support is used for administrative support from SEND.  This support includes the handling of our funds making them tax deductible, security support when needed, communication, training, and even checking in on Zach as needed (he will be here in the states).
Spain is expensive and the exchange rate is not very good right now.  Every US Dollar is only worth 70 cents today.  Gas was $8/gallon (they buy it in liters, but this is the conversion to gallons) when we were there in January.   One web site said that the average grocery bill for a family of four was between 400 and 500 Euros/month (that is $550 to $700/month).  A combo meal at McDonald's is nearly $9.  Needless to say we will not be eating out very often.  A gallon of milk is nearly $5.

We know we are asking for a lot of people to partner at a very high cost.  We had our own "you got to be kidding" reaction when SEND gave us the amount, but after it was broken down for us we realize it is a very reasonable number.  This number takes into account our term is 5 years and what the expected inflation rate and exchange rates will be.  This allows us to not have to raise new support each year. 

If you still have questions, please do not hesitate to ask.  We would love to clarify anything or give more detail if needed. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wide Open Fields

I am at camp with 83 children and youth.  I know, it sounds crazy, and yes, it is crazy - but it is fun too! 

This morning at breakfast I sat with a group of rising high schoolers and their counselor.  We got to talking about Spain and our move.  The counselors first response was "why Spain?"  Do they need missionaries?  Of course I proceeded to answer that question with more information than he probably wanted, but at the end he said "Wow... I wish more people knew how big the need was."

Then I had to make a run to Wal-mart - long story but my camera found the river yesterday - and was listening to the radio.  There was a little blurb about missions in the United States and the following statistic was shared:  41% of all pregnancies in New York City end in abortion.  I had a hard time even breathing after hearing that statistic.  Imagine - nearly half all pregnancies are ended in abortion in one city.

The fields are wide open.  There are needs everywhere for all kinds of people.  Lesson I learned today - open my eyes - the needs are great!

Monday, June 20, 2011

32 Days and...

... the to do list stops.  I am leaving for a fun filled week of camp with 13 elementary aged children this morning.  I know the week is going to be great and can't wait to see what God will do in each of these children's lives. 

Yet, I am also leaving behind a to do list that is becoming overwhelming and will officially come to a stop until I return.  Yes, Scott will keep doing a little, but he also has seminary projects that are due in the midst of all of this and he will use this week of my being gone to get ahead on some of those assignments. 

Pray that this week I am able to focus on the task at hand - camp and will be able to leave these to do list behind.  I am not so good at that kind of thing.

On a side note, please pray for a friend of ours who will be applying for his VISA at 11:20 EST this morning.  He has been seperated from his family for 90 days due to VISA issues and will be allowed to visit for 90 days beginning in July but will have to return to the states if his VISA has not been granted before then.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Virtual Yard Sale

I started a new blog toay...
keep watching the items on the blog will
grow daily, if not hourly.

Make it 34 days now

So yesterday I stuck my head in the sand and pretended I had no urgent task ahead of me - I played instead.  Took Alex and Ethan (a good friend of Alex's) to the pool and to the movies.  (Side note, Mr. Popper's Penguins is a fantastic family movie).  We then drove by our new home (which by the way is only 2 miles from Alex's friend's house - we presently live 25 minutes apart), picked up some boxes for packing, then came home and crashed.

Today reality must return, although in the middle of the day we get to go meet friends for lunch and share about Spain... guess I'll "ease" into reality.

Where do I start? 

Cindy's List:
  • Task #1:  Gather everything in the house that has been borrowed for staging the house to sell and set aside before it gets packed up, sold, given away, or worse yet - thrown away.
  • Task #2:  Bonus Room - it has the least amount of stuff in it, so it should be the easiest to do... although the closet in the bonus room is full of boxes of pictures - anybody wanna tell me what to do with them?  I don't scrapbook, I don't even do well at sorting pictures, so they are all just in big boxes.  Don't want to throw away, but can't store them in my parent's attic.  Ideas?
  • Task #3:  Pampered Chef Closet - I used to sell Pampered Chef and I have a closet where I used to store all my extra product and paperwork - believe it or not, there is still a little stuff in there - although no stoneware before you start asking
Scott's list:
  • Task #1:  Finish his term paper due for his seminary class - I just proofed and formatted it, so he is close.
  • Task #2:  The shed - oh my!  That task is big enough to take the whole day I am afraid.

At this pace, we may need 340 days, instead of 34.... did I happen to mention that I am at camp beginning on countdown day 32 and don't return until the afternoon of countdown day number 27?  Sure hope if you are reading this you are also praying!

Friday, June 17, 2011

No Longer Homeless

My mind will never be able to fathom the things or the ways of the Lord.  He is bigger and greater and more awesome than my words can ever express.

Just this morning we began to think and ponder towards a place to live once we have to move out of this house.  We knew we really wanted something near our works, furnished, and reasonable.  God has already answered!  He answered with all three desires of our heart.

Again, we are singing and dancing with praises to the Lord - not just because He provided shelter, but because He loves us enough to care for those things. 

God is very good!

35 Days

I just counted days on the calendar.  I just had my first "I can't do this" feeling.  Yes, we have 35 days to be out of our house.  I've moved in two weeks before so 35 days should sound like a luxury, but wait - this is not an ordinary move.  We have 35 days to sell, move, discard, or pack everything in our house.  At the end of 35 days the only things we wish to still have in our possession are the things going to Spain - a total of about 12 - 15 suitcases worth of stuff.  Anyone ready to have melt down with me now?

God has been faithful to this point so we have no reason to doubt God will be faithful in everything ahead as well - including the fact that we have 35 days, no wait - I leave for camp on Monday for 6 days, so we really only have 29 days - to deal with all the "junk" in our house, shed, garage, and storage building.

One of the biggest questions and decisions we have ahead of us is where are we going come July 22?  Since we would like to deal with all our "material" goods from this house we know that wherever it is needs to be furnished.  Also, since we know that there will still be a lot of details regarding a move to Spain that needs to be done, we would like for me to be able to step down from my job sometime in August, so it needs to be cheap. Other than that, we don't have an answer.

Do you have an extra furnished house nearby?  Perhaps an apartment over a garage or a basement with a kitchen and bedrooms?  Do you have a friend or relative with a vacant furnished house?  We are praying that God is going to provide in a creative way.  We will not fret or worry. 

Who knows, maybe by the time we close on the house we'll have our VISAs and 100% of our support and we won't need temporary housing after all.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Yes, our house is sold!

We accepted an offer on the house this morning.  The buyers do not have a house to sell, so this is a flat out, ready to move offer.  We will close on July 29.  God gets all the credit and the praise for this offer working out.  To Him goes ALL glory and praise.

I know the next question is "where are you going?"  Well, the answer is we have no idea!  One step at a time.  Perhaps in the coming days I'll have more details, but for today I will sit in the joy and happiness in knowing that God answered our prayers!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hannah's Interview

Hannah was interviewed by a fellow blogger and her interview was today's featured post.  Visit A Sista's Journey to read her interview.  I am a proud mama.

Monday, June 13, 2011


We made it safely to Washington - it only took an extra hour due to traffic, but otherwise uneventful.  Along the way we got a call that our house was being shown this evening to a family who had already seen it once.  Keep praying. We would love for this to be the one!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Washington, DC

We leave this afternoon for Washington, DC so that we can be at the embassy first thing in the morning.  We have more paperwork than they have asked for but we are praying we have all the right paperwork. 

The embassy in DC does not make appointments (unlike the Chicago one where you can even go online to schedule an appointment) so we will be there first thing tomorrow morning.  We are praying for a short wait (as we'll all be nervous) and for the person we work with to be gentle with us.

And for those of you asking "when does this mean you will leave?" the answer is still "we do not know."  According to our paperwork we should have our VISAs within 3 months - but that is a very "fluid" number.  We are planning for a September move - but that will still be dependent on the sale of our house, being 100% supported, and the VISAs in hand.  Keep praying - it is a God size request.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dancing and Singing

When was the last time that you were so overwhelmed with God that you could not sit still or be quiet about it?  For me it was today.  I have been busting all morning to have time to sit down at the computer and blog cause I just wanted everyone else to be as blown away by God as I have been today.

And before you keep reading, no we have not sold the house, but I am still dancing with praise.

Morning started out great!  Had errands to do here in town and then was going to clean house until translator called (and was just praying she would actually call).  Headed out for errands and here is how the day continued to evolve...
  • Stopped at bank to get money orders for our VISA applications.  Was thrilled to find out they were free because of the type of account we had - praise God!  When I tell the teller who to make the money orders payable to she says "were you the one that came in here awhile back and was planning a move to Spain?"  I told her yes and gave her a prayer card.  She then pulled out her wallet and gave us $20 - said it was just a little something for coffee and muffins or lunch out - just a little blessing from God.  Oh my goodness!  Who does that?  And at a bank with a long line behind us?  Can only be the nudging of the Holy Spirit!
  • Left the bank to go to Wal-mart.  Before we pull in the parking lot my cell phone rings and it is the translator (this was 10:00 - documents weren't to be ready before 2:00) and said our documents were ready and could I come in and go over with them.  Oh my goodness!  I was praying and praising and Hannah was just looking at me.  If you need a translator - I highly recommend  Language Resources in Greensboro.
  • We flew through our errands in Wal-mart so I could get home and grab paperwork and drop Hannah off so I could go to the translators.  Before we even get home my cell phone rings again.  It is a gentleman we had shared the details of partnership with nearly a month ago and he was calling with some logistical questions and to let us know he and his wife have decided to partner.  Woo Hoo!
Now don't get me wrong - I am not just praising God for the things He did - I am praising God for the character of God that I saw displayed this morning.  He is compassionate.  He cares for our every need.  He equips and He provides.  He delights in His followers.  He is perfectly on time.  He is bigger than anything my mind can imagine.  He is truly God!

It's been a rough emotional week and I would rather stay on the mountain top a little longer, but what lesson did I learn today?  If it had been smooth sailing all week I would have missed the joy and excitement of today.  Made it all worth it.  Now back to singing and dancing His praises!

Last Day

Today is Alex's last day of public school in the states.  Gulp!

As I was laying in bed last night waiting to fall asleep that thought hit me.  We are targeting a departure date for Spain in September.  Schools here in North Carolina do not begin until August 25 so we will not enroll him in school in the fall.  We will "homeschool" him until we depart.

Add to the fact that last night I made all our reservations for our trip to Washington, DC to apply for our VISAs on Monday and reality has peeked it's little head back into my life.  We are truly going to Spain.

And a few other updates...
  • We still need approximately 35% of our monthly support.  If you have been praying about becoming a financial partner, would you pray about making that commitment now.  We would like to be at 75% early July and we need to be at 100% by end of August. 
  • We have some serious lookers for our house, but no offer.  We greatly desire to have this piece of the puzzle taken off the table as soon as possible.
  • We are going to Washington on Monday to apply for our VISAs.  The translator has the final paperwork and it is supposed to be ready today by 2 (pray for her today - her name is Kathleen).  Pray we have read all the rules accurately and that we have it all in order. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sheep or Wolves

It was a horrible day!  Wait - it was only a horrible morning!  I woke up discouraged, battling the world, and just carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I had a headache - one of those really bad ones - and life looked as gray as possible.

Why?  The morning began with one more check of the FedEx tracking website to see that no, our paperwork was not on its way.  It looked impossible to go apply for our VISAs on Monday.  Top that off, I couldn't talk to anyone to find out if it would really be coming or not.  Then shortly after that our friend in Washington emailed me to tell me that since he didn't have notarized permission he could not process Scott's birth certificate.  I knew I was behind at work and the laundry I started last night still sat on the floor of the living room.

I laid it all out before the Lord and just cried.  I told God I was quitting.  I was not going to Spain and I was sorry for mishearing His call.  I was sure I was walking the wrong journey.  No way did He want me in Spain.  As I continued to pray my pleads with the Lord changed to asking Him to just be present - be the comforter and the one in charge.

I left for work with the cell phone attached to my ear.  I called the US State Department and kept getting a different operator who gave me the same story - I'll connect you to the authentications department.  They'd connect me to a recording that didn't let you talk to a person.  Finally, right before arriving at work one operator, who I know I had talked to 3 or 4 times already this morning, connected me to a supervisor over the entire division.  He didn't answer, but I got to leave a message - and a desperate one I left that probably included tears!

I then called the FBI to see if we could get the reports done again and I'd make a quick trip to DC on Thursday/Friday to get the paperwork done again.  Once again, got a lady who would help - only catch had to have a FedEx account number.

So then I called a friend who let me route the paperwork through her office's account number.

I got to work and began to dig through the piles on my desk and to handle the details to make it all happen.  Scott ran over to my office to sign some paperwork and I was making it happen - stressed, head hurt, and tears sitting in the brim of my eyes - but I was going to do it!

Then in the midst of it, one of the secretaries said I had a phone call and did I want to take it.  No - I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but I knew I needed to take it.  So I took the phone in the secretary's office while she flipped through paperwork for me.  On the other end was a dear lady who wasn't even on my "partnership radar."

She shared how through circumstances over the past couple days she had asked her husband if they could support us and he had suggested $100/month.  She was calling me to tell me she wanted to partner with us.  I just cried as I talked to her.  God had heard my pleas!

Shortly after hanging up with her the supervisor at the state department was calling and he was going to do all he could do to get our paperwork going.  I agreed to email him some documents and he agreed I should hear from someone by the end of the day.

Five minutes later he had confirmed e-mail receipt and another 5 minutes later someone in the authentications department was calling me and looking for my documents.  Again, tears flowed - not because of stress, but because of getting another glimpse of God.

Later in the afternoon I got the call I have been waiting on - our documents were ready and would be in my hands tomorrow!

I then left work early to surprise Hannah with the presentation of her Girl Scout Gold Award.  I had time alone in the car and instead of the radio or cell phone, I called on God.  I spent time giving Him thanks for what He had done, but more importantly praising Him for who He was.  All that happened throughout the mroning was nothing that I was able to do.  God had done it all!  Then I had such a beautiful picture of God.

I had quit on God this morning.  I wanted to turn my back on it all.  God didn't reach out to me and push me away.  He didn't send me to the wolves.  He didn't punish me for being broken, tired, and discouraged.  Instead He was the Good Shepherd.  He reached out into the thistles and bushes I was snagged in and brought His sheep back to His side.  He cared for me and loved on me and stayed present.  He was God.  What a beautiful picture to a broken, tired heart.

Then tonight, as I continued to reflect on how God has been present throughout my day we received a call from the realtor.  Two families have put our house on the top of their list - it is their favorite.  It's not a sale - but once again God said "don't forget - I have you in the palm of my hands - the hands that were nailed to the cross for you - I didn't let you go when I was on the cross and I won't let you go today."

What about you?  Do you know what it is like to be encouraged directly from God?  Do you know the rest that comes in the midst of every possible trial when you realize that God won't throw you to the wolves, but will instead be the Good Shepherd?  If not, I'd love to share even more with you.  He is trustworthy.  He is loving.  He does care!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

VISA Prayer Update

We would like to go next Monday morning (June 13) to apply for our VISAs, but we need a few things to come together.  Please pray for the final details that are needed:
  • Scott's birth certificate -  a friend in Washington, DC is handling the Apostille certificate for us for Scott's birth certificate.  Hopefully he will be able to complete this in the morning and I will have it back in hand on Wednesday.
  • FBI Background Checks - they were sent to the US State Department 15 business days ago for Apostille certificates.  They should be on their way back to us by now, but so far the FedEx tracking does not show they are coming yet.
  • Once the certificates arrive they must be translated.  Language Resources is working with us and being flexible about the documents.  They say they can have it all to me on Friday if they have it all by lunch on Thursday.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

House Saga Continues

Are you tired of reading about the house that won't sell?  Well, I am tired of writing about it... but here goes one more post.

Had a showing today and open house tomorrow.  Lowered the price, again! 

Pray for endurance on our part and wisdom in how to proceed.  Pray for a buyer to come soon.  Don't pray for patience - that always gets me in trouble.

Valley of the VISA

Today started out great!  Woke up on time, was ready to head out the door on time and take Alex to school, no lines at the gas station and it even had my favorite Dunkin Donut flavor of doughnuts.  Hit no traffic between home and Raleigh, even traveling at 8:00.  Found my way to the Authentications Office and a parking deck with available spaces was only a block away.

I had gone to Raleigh today to have our medical letters authenticated.  I checked repeatedly that I had all the papers I needed and a check to cover the fee.  I had packed cards to write, book and magazine to read, computer to write a newsletter, and a few other odds and ends.  The perfect plan was to drop off the documents off by 9:30 and pick them back up by 3:30.

I walked in to the authentications office and first discovered that all four letters had been notarized wrong.  Pit in my stomach - but quickly put at ease because was told there was a Wachovia half a block down that could re-notarize the forms.  Walked in to the bank, no wait for notarizing, and back to the authentications office in less than 15 minutes.  Dropped off my papers, paid my $40, and was told to come back at 2:00 to pick them up.  Yeah!  Day was continuing to be good - documents would be ready 1 1/2 hours early.

There is a park beside the Secretary of State (which is beside the Capital), the weather was cool, and there was lots of shade - so I pulled out my book and read for awhile.  I then walked back and got the laptop and walked around downtown, did some window shopping, had a great lunch with free wi-fi, found another shady spot to finish my book, and headed back to pick up my documents at 2:15.  I was going to make it home before 5:00 traffic!  A great day!

When I asked for my documents I was told they were not ready, but would be ready by 3:00.  I had a funny feeling, but couldn't push it because it was just a hunch.  At 3:00 I was told they still weren't ready so I pushed for a time they would be ready.  She then told me the documents were lost - they had no idea where they were.  She suggested I get a new copy and come back (yes, she actually said that).  It had taken me 3 weeks to gather all the documents - no way was that an option.  I asked to speak to a supervisor - which I was told was on vacation today.  So I asked for the supervisor's supervisor.  Finally someone acting as department chair came and explained they had no idea where my documents were and they were doing their best to find them, but he couldn't promise they would.   So I asked for the next supervisor that was in the office.  Apparently that was the Deputy Secretary of State. 

Before she came down, the "acting supervisor" told everyone that they could not leave until the documents were found.  In addition, three more people had come in to get their documents and been told they were lost.  The employee who had handled our documents left work at noon and was almost in Charlotte by this time.  She had no recollection of ever handling the documents.  She was told to return to the office since she was the last to handle all of these documents.  Every envelope, folder, trashcan, etc was being gone through.  The Deputy Secretary of State, Haley Haynes, came down and began to oversee the search.

One employee finally made a comment about another task the employee who was driving back had been given to accomplish and wondered if perhaps these documents were mixed up in those papers.  They called the department where that had happened and you could tell immediately they had our documents.

Here's the hitch - it was on the other side of Raleigh.  We'd now have to wait on someone to drive them over in the Friday afternoon traffic and someone would have to wait with us to do the authenticating - because yes, they were lost before the work was even done. 

Finally, at 5:15 - 3 hours after I arrived to pick up  my documents - I was ready to head home.  Two hours later I was home and the day was over.  And good news about our VISA was on this side...
  • Our letters of invitation from Spain had arrived!
  • A dear friend who lives in Washington, DC had come to our rescue regarding Scott's birth certificate and he had emailed that he had received it and would handle the authentication on Monday morning.  Yeah!
Keep praying - we still have one more set of documents that we are waiting for.  The FBI checks were sent to the US State Department 15 business days ago and should be on their way back to us by Monday.  I sent a pre-paid FedEx envelope with them and it has not shown up in the system yet.  So the paperwork is still in Washington.  We need them in hand by Wednesday to get them translated by Friday so we can leave Sunday the 12th to apply for our VISAs.  Otherwise we will have to wait until the 27th to apply. 

Whew!  Never imagined the VISA process could be so complicated!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Road Trip

Heading to Raleigh today to get our medical letters authenticated for our VISA applications.  It is beginning to feel real!

Over the next couple days we are anxiously waiting some final paperwork to arrive.  Our goal is to travel to Washington, DC on Sunday, June 12 and apply for our VISAs on Monday, June 13.  But - we still need a few things to arrive.

  • US State Department has our FBI background checks to be authenticated.  According to the website they should be completed in 15 business days.  That is Monday.  I then sent an overnight envelope with the paperwork so we should have by Tuesday or Wednesday.  The authentications then need to be translated.  There is no way to check the status other than watching for the tracking number of the mailing envelope to become active.
  • Scott's birth certificate finally arrived.  It too has to be authenticated.  It was overnighted yesterday to a friend who lives in Washington who will take it Monday to the State Department and wait on it.  If we had known we would be doing this, we could have waited on the FBI letters at the same time.  Oh well.  The translator already has the birth certificate, but the authentication certificate will need translating.
  • Medical letters need to be authenticated at the NC State Department.  I am traveling to Raleigh today to have this done.  Drop off by 10 and pick up at 4:30.  And yes, when I get these they also need translating.
Lots of details I have no control over.  Continue to pray that God has paved the way, even with paperwork and I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blast from the Past

Here are some pictures from my "past"

My Elementary School - Lanier Elementary School, Tampa

Park where we rode bikes to - also the park where I knocked all four of my front teeth out

Used to be a 7-11 - We knew we had grown up when we were allowed to ride to the store alone and get an Icee.
The house I grew up in - we have come full circle - our apartment in Spain will be about the size of this house
And the 1988 car that I am now driving - big difference in this car and my 2006 Honda Pilot I sold