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“The governor has refused to sign your documents for your visa,”  the message read.

For reasons unknown to us, and not communicated by the government we were at risk of losing our visas. We submitted out paper work one month before expiration, that’s two weeks in advance of the required submission of documents. We hadn’t heard any word on the status of our paperwork for weeks and started to get concerned because it was taking such a long time. Our papers sat on the governor’s desk until just a week before our visa was to expire. We finally put in an inquiry, and that’s when we got the message the recent newly appointed governor of our province was refusing to sign our papers. In desperation and not sure what to do, we reached out and explained our situation to the immigration office and they allowed us to file for an extension, which would buy us 90 days to figure out what we could do to renew our visa.

Feeling like we were in the clear, and with some of the pressure off we were able to connect to an office that could help us. It looked like everything was going to work out. In truth, we’ve faced a lot of situations where it has been a tightrope walk of engagement with authorities in Thailand. We’ve experienced several occasions where the Thai government gave us headaches requiring things that don’t even exist! The same day we met with the office that could help, we got a call from immigration saying that they were voiding our extension and we had to be out of the country in two weeks’ time, which would be December 20th. There was no way we could get things in order and flights to leave in just 14 days, and what about Christmas? We prayed, sought counsel, and made a risky plan to cross the border into Laos and come back on a tourist visa exemption, which would give us 30 days and hopefully that would be enough to get flights and get everything in order before we had to leave.

Miraculously, our border run in Laos went smooth and because of the generosity of a supporting church we were able to buy last minute tickets for our family of six. 

We left Thailand January 16 with the intent of treating the departure like an early furlough and sort out our visas stateside. Of course, here we are with the whole world shut down because of COVID-19. We made our way down to Pensacola from Virginia last month, and are currently sheltering in place. We have temporary housing with a family who generously opened their home to us. All our plans are on hold.

Our home in Thailand has never felt so far away, and the future so unknown. We are at an impasse. And God has so clearly told us to wait. Do you feel like you are in a waiting season? Isn’t the whole world? Waiting to see how we are going to come out of this unprecedented time and move forward? God has a plan, and we are putting our faith and trust in Him. He has always been faithful, and He will remain faithful. 

We need your prayers, friends. 

How can you pray?

  • We are seeking God for vision, clarity, and about our steps forward. Pray for our hearts to be open and for us to have ears to hear what God is saying; to make wise decisions.
  • We aren’t sure how long the borders are going to be shut down or if we can secure a visa to return. We are hoping to find a home for our family that we can stay in that wouldn’t require us to commit to a long-term lease. Pray for a place to have as a sanctuary for our girls.
  • We still are paying rent, and other monthly expenses in Thailand, but we were able to pay in full our taxes and village fees upfront for the year before we left. Pray our hearts would trust God for our provision.
  • It has been a whirlwind of unexpected events, one after another, and we are feeling a bit tired, and the ache for home. Pray for strength and rest for our family.

With all that is going on in the world, how can we be praying for you? Hit that reply button, we’d love to hear from you! 

It means so much to have you as part of our team. Your prayers, encouraging words, and financial support are appreciated beyond what we could put into words, especially during these difficult times. We count it great joy to be in partnership with you! 

Chris & Whitney Lawson
Thailand
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Christopher and Whitney Lawson
Globe International
PO Box 3040
Pensacola, FL 32506

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