As many of you know, the country in which we have lived since 2014 has been under lock-down since March 2020. What this means is that we have not been permitted to leave our district (unless we get permission from the police department) and that the international borders have been closed. With that said, the restrictions have been lifted and then re-enforced again with little to no warning. Also, foreigners can depart the country, but they are not allowed to re-enter unless they are given special permission.
During this past summer, our family was granted this permission with a 90-day time limit. Furthermore, the time-frame was even shorter for Pat as he is a part-time teacher at our children’s school. Also, he was required to do a 14-day hotel quarantine upon arrival cutting his brief time even shorter.
I am giving you this background information so that you can understand the many challenges that occurred in order for us to reunite with our loved ones and for us to contact our supporters as well. This summer was also extra busy with many exciting events including our son’s college graduation, as well as his marriage to our beautiful new daughter Natalie. In order to visit our loved ones, we had to travel to several states including Texas, Georgia, and Michigan. (Remember, we had not seen our adult children nor our parents since 2019). As a result, we have been on one emotional roller coaster after another. Not to mention the fact that Pat was still ultimately responsible for his various online ministries. During this entire period of time, we had been dealing with the stressful ordeal of adequately preparing for the long journey back. Waiting for four travel letters, four Negative Covid test results, and four permission letters proved to be exhausting. Yet, the Lord demonstrated His mercy and goodness time and time again. Furthermore, we remained healthy despite the fact that we traveled through several different airports and we saw countless amounts of people all during Covid times! What is even more special is the fact that the Lord gave us the strength to handle all these unusual challenges with His patience and love for others. Looking back, we can see His providence in every single detail, praise the Lord.
Once Pat and our youngest daughter arrived for their 14-day hotel quarantine in mid-July, they felt prepared to endure it, praise God. I was not able to depart until three weeks later due to prior commitments with our youngest son. Leading up to our departure, we also had to prepare for many things including checking for current travel restrictions, obtaining Negative Covid test results, packing for the 14-day hotel quarantine, and other necessities. During this time, I consistently prayed that the Lord would spare us from enduring the expensive hotel quarantine. I determined in my heart that I would request for a home quarantine instead.
Once we arrived at the Atlanta Airport for our departure on August 5th, we were surprisingly turned away! We had all the required documents, so we pushed hard against the check-in agent. I even called Pat asking him to speak to the agent to figure out why we were being turned away. Apparently, the agent misunderstood the Immigration requirements. He did not want us to be turned away once we arrived in our country because the airline would be held responsible. Thankfully, my kind sister and my oldest daughter had remained with us and they were able to take us back to my parent’s house for one additional week. We praise the Lord that He enabled us to use that time for His glory.
However, the setback did cause our son to be behind in his studies since he did not have the essential textbooks. He also had to do online school with the 12-hour time difference. We can now see the Hand of God at work. One week later, our country lifted the hotel quarantine for those who are fully vaccinated. We praise the Lord that we are now able to have a home quarantine. Had we traveled August 5th, we would have had to endure the expensive hotel quarantine. I hope this update encourages you to trust the Lord with all things (Prov 3:5-6). He is a detail-oriented Father who wants what is best for us. He is full of goodness and mercy. Let us all praise Him!
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God bless you!
Pat & Michelle and family