Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Hola family, friends, and all prayer warriors!!!
  We have an urgent prayer request. We humbly ask that you all fervently pray for our visa situation. We have been diligently trying to receive our special purpose visas for almost 2 months now. This is a special visa which Bolivia requires for those who are going to be staying longer than 90 days in country. We must have this special visa to enter the country on March 31 (our flight leaves the 30th, we arrive in Bolivia the 31st). After we arrive in Bolivia we begin the process of applying for our one year visa (which is the first step....after one year we apply for a three year visa). Because there is not a Bolivian Consulate in Houston, we are having to do everything via mail, phone, and email with the Consulate in Washington D.C.  We can not even begin to explain to you how frustrating and challenging this whole process has been. After doing all we {thought} we needed to do and sending our applications in along with our passports and all required paperwork and fees, we received it all back within 6 days or so with NO visas, no explanation as to why there were no visas, and the money orders had been taken. This is just a small example of how communication has been with them all along. And, we are guessing, just a tiny foreshadowing of things to come :o) After numerous phone calls to the Consulate, Lowell received some clarity on what the issue was. We apparently needed to send more paperwork that was not included. These are papers that were not listed on the requirements list that we were checking off and that no other people had mentioned that we needed. So, for almost another week now we have been working on getting these other papers in order. Lowell made an emergency trip to Austin last night to take these papers to the Secretary of State to be authenticated so we could save time on mailing. He will fly to D.C. tomorrow to take the papers to the U.S. Dept. of State to be authenticated and then personally hand deliver our applications, passports, and all paperwork needed to the Bolivian Consulate. Praise God for a wonderful friend who is donating his frequent flier miles to Lowell and for another wonderful friend he can stay with in D.C.!!
  Ok....here's the clencher. Here's where some major prayer needs come in. Even though Lowell will be hand delivering these papers, he apparently can still not receive the visas while he is there. The consulate in D.C. has to fax our paperwork to the Bolivian office IN Bolivia to be approved for the visa. They are saying this could take up to two weeks!!!!! Our flight leaves exactly two weeks from tomorrow. However, we are leaving town two weeks from TODAY to stay in a hotel by the airport so that we do not have to get up very early on the morning of our flight and drive there. We need to have these visas in hand in less than two weeks. We need to have them by Monday, March 28 so that we can leave as planned on the 29th and fly out the morning of the 30th!!!! Please, please, pray very hard that we will indeed have these visas in hand by the 28th! Please pray for travel safety for Lowell, that he could get the paper authenticated in a very timely manner at the U.S. Dept. of State (like within a day!), and that he would find total favor at the Bolivian Consulate in D.C. - that they will understand our urgency and take care of our time constraints. Lowell has been communicating with a wonderfully helpful Bolivian man at the consulate. Please pray that he will be able to talk to him personally and that he will realize our situation and take it upon himself personally to see that we get our visas VERY very quickly. I believe this is just a great opportunity for God to show himself very real - to us, to all of you, and to many who are helping us along the way that need to know HIM. We did purchase trip insurance when we booked our flight, however Lowell discovered yesterday that it does not cover having to change flight times due to visa delays! If we had to change our flight time, it would cost us nearly $1,000. So, again... pray that we will not have to change our flight, and that we will indeed have our visas in hand by the 28th (if not before!). To top it all off, I (Shay) have been very sick with sinusitis/upper respiratory infection. Bad timing to say the least. Lowell is truly carrying the load here. Pray for supernatural strength and energy for him, too please. We love you all and just can't wait to share how God works through all of this craziness!! One day soon we will indeed be in Bolivia, doing the work that God has willed for us to do...and the enemy will be defeated!! Glory to God!!

Believing with you in prayer -