We just received news on Friday by email that my application for an OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) visa was not approved. This was disappointing and a bit disheartening. As I began the blog Alison and I were talking about how to communicate this. The verse that came to us is the one from 2 Corinthians about us being like clay jars. This picture is one I just took of a small cup-sized clay jar made by the Dalit of India, the lowest class in society. They make these cups for those with higher status to use much like we use disposable cups. (Originally they were used to serve tea to the “untouchables” so that they were broken afterwards so nobody else would drink from the same cup. Dalit Freedom Network) The encouragement for us in the verse is we may be thrown down, but we aren’t broken.
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. 2 Corinthians 4:7-8 The Message
My options at this point are to appeal the OCI decision or to apply for a PIO(Person of Indian Origin) visa. Hopefully, this type of visa is a little easier to get and it does afford similar benefits. Again, it’s based on my birth in India.
Currently I’m on Spring Break and have two weeks back in Sayward. Alison and I are meeting with Phil Barnes from MSC Canada this Tuesday in Nanaimo. Those of you who wish to support us financially can now do so through the MSC website. Information about this is on the new page titled “Giving” on our blog. Our names should be in the list of Christian Workers soon.
At the end of April we will be attending the BC Christian Home Educator’s Convention in Kelowna. We plan to connect with friends and colleagues at Heritage Christian Online School.
In May I’m planning a second trip to Rehoboth to work with the staff during the start-up of the school year June 2. During this past year I have been able to stay in touch through Skype and other social media. Going in May will mean taking three weeks off work, but essential for me to be effective working in the development of the school’s programs. The school is not going to formally offer Grade 9, rather students that want to continue, including the girls at the orphanage, will be supported in a class-setting doing Kerala State Open School or the National Institute of Open Schooling. This will mean that the issues faced with getting state-approval for operating the school can be avoided.
Please pray especially for our visa situation. We know that waiting for God’s timing is always best, even though we don’t see the reason for the delays at this point.