Well, the visa saga continues.
After we returned from Poland, we started the next step in the process of getting my visa here for Ukraine. We were told to go to the local OViR (Office of Registrations) to get the 45 day visa changed into a 1 year visa as required by law. First, we have to find this office. We began with the website to get the location and the times they are open. As usual, it was conveniently hidden away off the main road (why do they always do this?). But we found it. Only one problem—it is closed the day we come in spite of the fact that the website saying it is open. While there, Katya read a number of the posters and discovered that I also need a medical exam proof of residence, and their national insurance—all news to us!
So, we return home and I check with the Baptist Union. They say that they don’t know what documents are required so we should ask the local OViR Office because each one has different requirements (Now this at least sounds familiar!). So Katya calls the office and they say they don’t know what is needed and they don’t process those kind of visas. I need to go to the Central OViR Office instead of the local one. They don’t have the number or the address so Katya finds it on the internet and calls. They tell her they don’t know what I need unless they see my passport and current visa and letters of invitation. We can’t tell them over the phone—we have to bring all the documents to their office (of course, on the other end of town from the OViR).
So we go to OViR Central Office. By the way, this is also well-hidden, even more than the local OViR Office. Even when we ask for directions on the street, we are told to go through an alley, past a kindergarten and past some boxes and it will be there. As a few tries and asking some more people, we finally found the offices. I’m sure some Soviet planner decided in the 1940s that, if they were ever invaded by America, our forces would first find the OViR Offices and then America would have all the records of their people from kindergarten to the present. But we fooled them! Americans don’t even know what an OViR is so they would never look for it to begin with. But I digress …
We get to the Central OViR and (after the “compulsory wait”) the lady asked what kind of visa I have. We tell her and she says she won’t receive our documents—the inviting agency must bring the documents. She doesn’t want missionaries coming in to her office everyday with documents. We need to contact Dema at the Baptist Union and he will bring the documents to the office. “Dema who?” we ask. How should she know? she says, there are many Demas. SO we go to the Baptist Union and wait there. Eventually we run out of time. Now one of the Baptist Union men who helps missionaries with visas (not Dema) trying to figure out what documents we need. He said he was told that the Central Office does not want foreigners coming into the office. We are meeting this week to try to get this figured out. He said the process is complicated and expensive. We’ll see. Hopefully we will have some more information this week. Keep praying …
ESL Clubs have been going great. We have a number of students and we are working with them nearly every Sunday morning before church. Please pray for us as we prepare to teach and build relationships with these students.
Also, we continue to lead a small group Bible Study this year. It has been going great too. Most of those in the group know English so we have been having Bible Study in English. We have been looking at origins in Genesis and have had some very interesting discuyssions. Pray for us as we prepare and as we minister to those who are part of our small group.
I’m not working on Russian as much as I need or want. I really need to be but I have so much to do to get ready for my November classes.
This month I will be teaching two classes back to back. I will teach Church History (November 7-18) and World History (November 21-December 2). It will be a very busy month. Be praying that I can be clear in teaching and that the studies will help these students as they prepare for ministry.
Please continue to pray about our support levels. We are trying to add 11 people to our support team. Our support has been consistently more than a $1000 short each month since January and we are managing by using savings and reducing costs everywhere we can. But we would like to add more people to our support team. Right now, we have only 19 very generous people (about 10 give regularly). So we want to focus, on so much on the money that we need, but on adding more people to our team. This month we added one new person to our support team! I will be sending out some more letters this month to ask for their support. Please pray that God will put a burden on the hearts of some to become part of our support team and help with the work we do here in Ukraine!
Thank you again for your support and your prayers. It is because of you that we are able to minister here in Ukraine.