We had been working to figure out what we were going to have to do to get our marriage license authenticated so that Ubah will be able to stay here in Taiwan, and hopefully, we got our answer yesterday. At first when I called the Taiwan office, they said that we had to get our license authenticated in South Africa. I called the office in South Africa, and they said that they can not do it. They told me that we would have to get it done in Saudi Arabia. When I called the office in Saudi Arabia, the lady told me that I would have to have the Saudi Arabia ministry of foreign affairs authenticate it before the Taiwan office there would authenticate it. Crazy! We thought we could just mail it to the Taiwan office there and they would stamp it and send it back. Nope... That was quite the dilemma. So we went to the main office here in Taiwan yesterday to try to see if there was any way around that. After being there all day, we were told that they will accept the marriage license if I have a sworn affidavit that is notarized at the American consulate office there. God has again been faithful to us and helped us through a seemingly impossible situation!! All praise and glory to Him!! We are so grateful for the open doors and the guidance that God has given in our lives. Again, we thank all of you for your prayers and support! We truly serve a great and loving God!
We have been here for just over two weeks now. It is warm and humid, but it is nice to be in Taiwan!!
So... I guess I never really explained our complicated journey. Most of it revolved around my expiring debit card. April was the last month that it would work. My new one would be mailed to my aunt and uncle, and then they were very gracious to mail it here to Taiwan- which we are very thankful for! However... something went wrong earlier than that. Because my aunt was mailing it to my parents address, when it still wasn't showing up at my aunt's, they called the bank. Maybe the first one they sent had gotten lost or something, but they ended up sending a new one. That must have been around the day that we were leaving Ethiopia. Right before going to the airport, I was going to get cash, and also buy dinner on my card. Well, the restaurant said my card was declined, and the ATM declined as well. Luckily, the people we were with picked up dinner! God is good! I just assumed at the time that I had already taken out too much that morning so we would have to wait until the next day to get more. However, I decide to check my bank account from my phone on the way to the airport... It said I had an available balance of 44 dollars.... That was like a slap in the face. Last time I had checked, I think there was almost 2,000 in the account. We had bought our plane tickets from Addis to Bangkok, and also round trip tickets between Bangkok and Taiwan, but there still should have been plenty left in the account. So... If you can imagine, we are just about to fly to Thailand, and I am not sure if we even will have enough cash, plus, we might not have any backup. I emailed my parents right away to see if they could find out what was going on. The flight to Bangkok was fine. The airport was a little hectic (as was the taxi ride to the hotel) but God was with us and brought us through with no problems. Our hotel was already paid for the week we were there, so we didn't have to worry about try to pay that, so we knew we could at least have a place to sleep!
After we had settled into the hotel room, we connected again with our parents. They had called the bank and apparently when buying one of the tickets, they double charged them, but the money would be back after a couple of days. Seemed strange, but at least we were not victims of some kind of bank fraud! The next morning we were to head over to the Taiwan office to start the process for getting Ubah's visa. Our parents put some money into the bank account just so we had something within the couple of days before the airlines credited us back our money. We saw an ATM and figured we would get out more cash so that we could pay for the visa and have money for food. Then the ATM ate my card and said it was suspended.... Another slap in the face! Now we really don't have our card, and we didn't even have enough money for the Taiwan visa. We headed right back to the hotel to try to skype our parents. They ended up sending us some cash through Western Union Money Transfer. Again, the Lord provided for our needs! Another problem I saw coming was that I needed the debit card to show at the counter for the airline tickets. When the bank opened on Monday morning, I headed over there to try to beg for my card. They didn't want to give it to me, but after explaining to them how I would not be able to leave Thailand, or have any money because I now had no card, they allowed me to have it back- with some holes punched into the reader strip. They made copies of the card and my passport and I had to sign them all. Then I had to write down the reason for needing the card back. Again, God was gracious. We still were nervous about the airport though....
After jumping through the hoops for the Taiwan visa, Ubah was issued a 60 day visa! God is great! Then our time would be up in Thailand, and off to try to fly to Taiwan. At the counter, the lady first said that the card was no good because it expired in April, and it was already the 24th of April. I told her that when our cards expire in April, they are good until the end of the month. I think she also saw the holes and wasn't sure if it was good... But I asked why they had let me buy the tickets with that card knowing the expiration, and they said that the internet site doesn't pick up those things, or something crazy like that. She asked me for a back up card to ensure the payment. I didn't have one, and so she called her manager. We were praying non-stop! The manager didn't really seem to speak English and kept holding the card up to look through the holes... I was very nervous. I then explained that the new one would be mailed to Taiwan where our parents were living. They finally said ok, but when we went to the airport for the return ticket, we would have to show both of the cards so that they would know that they are good. HA! I could barely believe it! The money had not been taken out of the account yet for the tickets to Taiwan- only the Addis to Bangkok tickets had. I also knew that the card wasn't good anymore, so I wasn't sure if we were traveling on tickets that wouldn't be paid. We just planned to call China Air to get it figured out once the new card came.
So we made it on the plane and then to Taiwan. The arrival was a piece of cake. No troubles at all through immigration or customs. In fact, it was maybe the quickest I had ever gone through customs in an airport.
I did check my bank account the other day and saw that the money did actually go through, so that was a relief. I didn't want to have free tickets by way of basically sneaking onto an airplane. But yet again, God was faithful through it all! I also now have my new debit card and it works fine!
We are in a time of rest now. I have training for my job starting May 20th for a week. Then I will be busy again. A couple of things we ask prayers for though: The transition from visitors to getting our Alien Residence Cards. We will have to jump through some hoops because of me being from the US and Ubah being from Ethiopia. Also, we will be starting the process for Ubah's visa/ green card for the US! We know that God is in control and He will continue to guide us.
Thank you for your prayers and support!
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