At the end of December we received the news that the application for Peprah’s student visa was denied. Peprah had entered the United States in August on a visitor’s visa when he traveled here with the rest of his family for their 4 week visit. Since that time we had decided that our family could host Peprah as our next exchange student and tried to switch Peprah’s visitor’s visa to student visa status. To avoid the cost of flying him back home for Embassy appointments we had tried to do the switch on the United States side with the help of an immigrations laywer. However, the U.S. Embassy in Ghana did not allow this for Peprah and so he will have to start the process over in Ghana with face-to-face interviews at the Embassy. To make things more interesting SEVP (International Student and Exchange Visitor Program) is requiring that we go through a termination process of the first I-20 that was issued (an I-20 is the form issued by the school to start the student visa application – in Peprah’s case it was Des Moines Christian) before he can be issued a new I-20. So complicated. The down side is that none of this will be quick. The termination process itself takes some time, and we are very new at this so not exactly sure what all is involved.
Last week we had said goodbye to Sam on Monday evening. And then on Tuesday afternoon we said goodbye to Peprah as he boarded a flight back home to Ghana. With a visitor’s visa you can only be in the United States for 6 months. So, Peprah’s time on that visa would be up at the end of January which was why he had to return home for now. So, in a matter of two days our house had a completely different feel with the absence of Sam and Peprah. A friend texted me and said “no matter how big your family is, when even just one person is gone, you feel the emptiness”. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Last week the general routine of our days was so different. Everything felt strange and I felt so out of it. It’s going to take me some time to get used to 3 kids instead of 5.
As strange as everything felt last week I wasn’t fooled for a minute that this was some sort of coincidence that all this happened at once. I believe that one of the main ways God showcases His sovereignty is in the timing of events. I sure want to know what is coming next, but if I’ve learned anything over the past year it is that I can’t rush forward trying to stretch my glance to see what is ahead. I need to let God set the pace. All I can do is say “I trust you, Jesus. I give You my open mind and my open heart to infuse me with Your desires of what You want to do with my life. I am Yours. Lead me one step at a time as I learn to depend on You more and more.”