Last Saturday was special for me since it marked six-years since the first time I came to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on August 14, 2015. This picture of coffee on a motel rooms porch will always remind me that God opens, and closes doors of ministry.
Originally I came to the Country of Australia as a missionary, and served there for six years. At the end of that term I returned to the States in order to raise additional support, and begin the application for a permanent visa.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for missionaries to gain visas into Australia and other countries. This is understandable because some groups (not missionaries) come in under religious visas that are fairly easy to obtain. Upon arriving, they immediately took advantage of every Government benefit. Because of this, the Immigration department of Australia passed a law saying all immigrants must gain a permanent-residency visa through an immigration lawyer.
Part of this process was proving to the Government that you were filling a needed job that wasn’t currently filled by Australian workers.
During my application process, it became clear that gaining a full-time visa as a missionary would be very difficult.
- Because there were already missionaries inside the country
- And because missionaries weren’t necessarily viewed as important workers
As the process went on, the thought occurred to me that God may be closing the door of ministry to Australia. I refused to believe this though, and kept trying harder to get the visa process completed.
Finally after working on the visa for over a year with little results, I realised it wasn’t Gods Will for me to return. It was hard giving up something I worked so hard for (the return to Australia), but I knew it was the right thing to do
For a few months it was pretty difficult searching for the door that God had opened after closing the door to Australia, but everything fell through.
I began contacting friends in other fields to see if they needed short-term help. One of those was to a pastor friend in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He responded to my email by saying there had been a ministry opening, but that had been filled.
I sent him a follow up email a few weeks later asking to contact me if there was any openings. He responded by saying there was nothing at the time, but he’d be on the lookout.
About 2:00 that afternoon I checked my email, and noticed that he had sent another response. I opened it and read the words “something has just come up.”
A missionary in SVG had recently begun having heart problems (it beat too fast) and needed someone to fill in for six-months while he got surgery in the States. A few weeks later I was filling in for him! Upon his return, I worked alongside him, and continued the work up to this day.
That cup of coffee reminds me not to hold my dreams or plans too tightly
It was difficult giving up on a return to Australia because that was the dram and goal of my heart. But when I finally let go of that, and submitted to the Lords Will, He gave me something better.