“Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7).
Laurie and I have been working in Papua New Guinea for 13 years now, and during that time we have needed to renew our work permit and visas four times. And always there seems to be something that changes or delays the process. This year our visas were expiring on the first of May in the midst of the worldwide pandemic crisis. Government travel restrictions prohibited us from returning to the capital city to submit our passports for the new visas. With no roads through the jungles between us and the capital city, we rely on air travel to get us back and forth. I tried in vain to send our passports, but all regular commercial flights were closed. Our agent in the capital city kept asking for our passports. “They need your passports to grant your visas.” I pulled out my passport and scanned the full-page visa, which was my permission for being in this country. Reading the expiration date, I mused, I have one more week of being legal in this country, then what will happen? I have never lived anywhere illegally before, and yet it seemed inevitable that would be our lot as there was nothing else we could do except pray. And we had been praying constantly. I had spoken with our parliament member by phone several times over the past few days asking him for help in sending our passports to Port Moresby. He finally suggested I try to get help from the American embassy, but they only referred us back to the commercial airlines.
With three days left, our agent suggested that I write an email to the immigrations officer. I prayed and wrote, asking the officer to grant our visas without our passports. The day before our visas expired, I received an email back from the officer. “Your case is exempted. When flights resume or there is an opportunity, please send in the passport for extension.” Praise God!