One day the whole world will be united in God’s perfect kingdom. Until that time we have immigration laws, visas and residence permits. After over 3 years Laura finally received her UK citizenship back in April, which means that she is now British and can come and go from the UK whenever she likes! Interestingly, she could choose to play football for England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland with her British passport, whereas I only qualify for England having been born in England. But that’s not something we’re worrying about too much at the moment…
Now it’s my turn to start the immigration process. Back in January we started applying for my immigrant visa for the US, which would allow us to live and work there for a while. Our plan is to be in the US for a year or so, studying and raising support for our work with Wycliffe, with the hope of moving to Tanzania potentially sometime in 2012.
After months of filling in forms and collecting documents I had my visa interview at the US Embassy in London last Thursday. After getting through the intense security (which is even stricter than that at airports…) the interview went pretty well. Most of our documents were accepted, although we were asked to provide one further document from the US before the visa could be granted. We have now had this scanned and sent to us, and it has been collected by a courier and sent along with my passport back to the embassy. So we’re hoping that the passport will be returned with a visa in the next week or so…! Please continue to pray with us for the granting of the visa, and for the safe return of the passport.
For now we’re living in Melksham, Wiltshire – a couple of miles down the road from where my parents are and where I grew up. We’re really enjoying spending more time with them and others here, and also getting to know people at our sending church better. At the same time we’re busy studying most days – Laura for her Psychology program and me working on my MA in Bible and Mission.
Our hope is that we will be able to fly to Oregon at the end of October, visa permitting. We’ll then have a busy few months of settling in to a new country and culture – although Laura is from the US she has never lived in Oregon, and has adapted in many ways to life in the UK over the last few years. We’ll be going through the joys of applying for permanent residency for me, setting up a bank account, applying for Oregon drivers licenses, working out where we fit into the tax system etc, as well as keeping busy with our studies and raising support for the work that we’re doing.
Although we’re sad to leave the UK, especially our family and the friends we’ve made over the past few years, we’re looking forward to this new stage in our lives. It will be interesting for me to be the one adapting to a strange culture, and for us both to understand more of the cultural differences between us and our countries. We’re really looking forward to spending time with Laura’s family, who we have only seen for short visits since we’ve been married, and to making new friends in Oregon.
For now we’re busy trying to finish everything that needs to be done before we leave, as well as making the most of our time visiting family and friends. Today we have a surprise birthday party for my Mum… let’s hope she enjoys the surprise and isn’t overwhelmed by all her children and children-in-law arriving all at once! (Don’t worry, she’s out between now and then, so I think the secret is safe…)
The beautiful, but cold, Westbury White Horse
Danny – the nice dog of our lovely landlady
…with a beautiful lady