One of those families, dear friends of ours, fly out from the capital city tomorrow.
For now, the new visa regulations state that the longest we can stay in the country is three months at a time. Then we would have to leave for three months, only to be allowed back in for another three months... and that is the best scenario. [And seriously, who could afford such a lifestyle... buying airline tickets every three months? In this case, it would certainly take some well thought-out planning with a second missionary family, trading back and forth to keep ministries on both sides of the country going.]
Another scenario dictates that we have 45 days in the country at a time (at a cost of $375 per person), pending more paperwork with the possibility to stay longer. However, this is paperwork we have tried unsuccessfully at getting in the past.
Our family has until March 2012 on our visa (4 more months), and then only the Lord knows what awaits. Three more Baptist missionaries, two from our region, will learn in the next few weeks if they will be able to stay. The Van Sants, whom we work with, have purchased tickets to fly to Germany for Thanksgiving to be with their son, who serves there in the US Military. However, if they leave, we learned yesterday that they will not be allowed to re-enter on their visa; therefore, they are going to stay and lose those airline tickets.
We were also making plans of flying to Germany in December for a Missionary Christmas Retreat, but we have already written the hosting pastor to let him know we cannot leave the country for fear of not being able to get back in.
There is a lot of uncertainty here among the missionaries... lots of phone calling between the brethren and many families down on their knees. Please, please pray with us. We are trusting the Lord, and doing all we can to ensure that our paperwork is in order so that we are still here for years to come, and we ask you to pray with us that His will would be done.
We don't want to leave.