Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Balancing sovereignty and stupidity

Tomorrow we leave Brazil for the US. I said the same thing last Saturday. We have planned a four month furlough for a while and preparations have been made. I saw the Evelyn's Brazilian passport needed to be renewed a couple months ago and picked it up last week so we could travel on Sunday. Things went smoothly as we arrived at the airport three hours early just to be sure and to be able to sit together.

As we went straight to the line I pulled out my folder with all of our important documents. There are several passports in there as I had left a couple expired in there as well as Evelyn having one Brazilian and one American. As I looked at the dates I saw Evelyn's American passport had an expiration date of March 2015. I knew it right away and evidently my face showed it after frantically looking at all the others. Sarah knew something was wrong and I told her about the problem. She handled it well and positively as she thought there might still be a chance with her having another passport and both guardians with her. My stomach did circus loops as we waited a while before confirming what I knew was the inevitable. There was no way we could travel without a valid US Passport.

Defeated they sent us away to take a copy of it and said they felt bad. There we were in the airport on a Sunday night with a Monday Brazilian holiday looming for the next day, without much money in our Brazilian account and without our car that had driven away an hour earlier. Fortunately we have great colleagues and friends around us. I picked out my phone and called Dan Cook, our colleague who would surely be at church at that hour. But I didn't have enough credit on my phone. Fortunately Carlos, the Brazilian missionary that works with us has the same phone company as us and had left his phone on during church which he never does. He went to the airport right away to pick us up and our exhausted selves made it to the Cooks house where we have been resolving everything since.

Tuesday morning our appointment at the consulate went quickly as they were friendly and gracious in issuing an emergency passport. We were gone before nine in the morning. I then went to the airport and picked up Anna Claire's permanent Visa (which she had, just not the permanent card). When we arrived back at the house it took us until six at night to book the best price option with the soonest option. We leave Thursday at 3 in the afternoon and will arrive Friday around noon in Chattanooga via Miami and Atlanta.

During this whole process people constantly said God is in control. A popular phrase among everyone in this state is "if God wants" or wills. A definite true statement. But in all honesty it was my fault for not checking the passports in advance. So do we really need to place the blame on God for our stupidity? Can I pray for God's will and walk across a busy street in New York City hoping for the best?

God is certainly sovereign and can allow or prevent whatever He wants, but we also have responsibility for our actions in life. We must stay focused, be organized and follow God's will for us in the Scriptures. We must use our brain and exercise it as well. Planning is important as well as including God in the planning. Praise God when plans are successful. Then when they do not, you may want to check your own limitations as well as understand it may not be God's will. I try not to blame God for never making it in any professional sports (that was a joke). We live in a day where issues are polarized; try to focus on balance in life. God is Sovereign and we have responsibility (which sometimes reveals are stupidity).

*as an asterisk to this article; I am not too down on myself for this whole event. It certainly was entirely my fault, but mistakes do happen. I am not depressed or anything, but I am a little disappointed about my mistake. Our family has grown closer through this. Evelyn made a book for me Monday that's title was "I still love you," despite being very disappointed Sunday night.

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