If you want to make a foreigner here deflate before your very eyes, just say this one word: “Documents.” That one word conjures up a whole range of experiences, processes, memories of time spent in lines and offices related to many, many – ok, pretty much all! – aspects of life here.
Because you never want to be caught without formal documentation on your person, we made copies of our passports and existing temporary residence permits before handing the originals over to apply for the residence permit renewals.
“Never”? – are we being hyper-cautious?! Well… Although we haven’t heard of this in a good while, it has happened in the past that foreigners here were stopped by the police – it’s permissible to stop a person without specific cause – they were asked to show their documents, and when they answered that the documents in question were being registered, let’s just say that their next 24 hours were unexpectedly ‘interesting’!
So we have a healthy respect for having everything properly in hand, as well as for doing things by the given deadline, and which is why we asked you to pray about the renewal of our residence permits. We’ve done some extraordinary things in the past in order to make the deadlines for certain things; it’s really that serious.
So how did it turn out? Yesterday was the deadline and I kind of wondered all day what the answer to that question was. Mark had submitted some more things the day before, following the counsel of the man who is submitting the paperwork. He was proceeding as if it was going to happen and we were following his lead.
In calling him yesterday afternoon, we got a firm, ‘It looks like the process is going ahead’ (irony intended 🙂. He and we translated that to mean that they have not closed the door on the renewal and are processing them anyway. So… we think we have renewed temporary residence permits! Thank you for praying with us. When we have them in our hands, we’ll let you know, but for now, we are very thankful for the Lord’s kindness to us.
Lord willing, soon those copies won’t be necessary!