It’s after weekends like this past one that I cannot doubt my faith, my belief, my God. #itaewonleadershipretreat2013 #yesIjustbloggedhashtagged #ohdear
Not that I didn’t believe before. Especially after this past season of my life… and for myself, I realized I need to timeline it out. Write it down. Remember. I need to remember.
Spring of 2013
I accepted a position at a Canadian school in Seoul, teaching Kindergarten. It would be my fourth job and fifth year living in Korea. God is a fan of uprooting me.
I gathered all my paperwork and started applying for a British Columbia teaching certificate, a requirement from my new- very Canadian- job. Now, when I say I gathered all of my paperwork I mean that Canada wanted everything but the actual limbs on my body.
I sent my fingerprints to the FBI in the States for the background check I needed in order to change the work visa in my passport.
Back in Michigan for the summer, I received a rejection letter from the FBI. They explained that sometimes this happened and I would need to send in another set of prints. I have successfully gotten my background check three times, so I was a little confused… but not worried.
I was more worried about getting all the paperwork I needed for my BC teaching certificate, which required documents from every teaching position I have ever held… documents those schools needed to fill out.
Yearly coffee date with my friend Gina. Sitting outside of Starbucks enjoying the beautiful summer weather in Michigan, I sipped my chai tea latte while Gina told me that she had been praying for me all day. The one thing that God told her was, Melody’s visa will work out. Gina didn’t know I had to send in my fingerprints again, and that in order to get my visa to work in Korea, I had to have a background check completed. I felt relief. My visa would work out.
Back in Korea, I get a text while I am half sleeping on the floor of my new apartment. Before I fell asleep my mom’s text read, “We got your background check!” I fell asleep in a state of joy, knowing I would still have enough time to get the rest of the process done before work started. I woke up the next morning to a text from my mom saying she opened the letter and it was actually another rejection. I cried.
I rally myself together and have my parents fedex me the rejected prints. I fill out two fingerprinting cards, though I wanted the CSI to do five sets. They refused. I send in the third set of prints on August 6.
I wasn’t able to fully unpack, my boxes still available in case I had to move back home… to America.
I called the FBI once or twice a week during the first few weeks of August. They kept telling me I had to wait a minimum of five weeks before I could get any answers. At the very beginning of the fifth week I called again. I talk to Monica, explaining that I am checking on my FBI background check, to see if my prints cleared. She looks something up on the computer and says, way too casually, “Aaahhh, yep. Looks like they were rejected.”
I calmed myself down enough to explain my situation, that this is my third time sending in prints, and if I get rejected again I lose my job. After those words flew out of my mouth I started to cry (like the ugly cry). Then, something amazing happened. Monica was empathetic. She put a flag on my file and e-mailed some special division asking them to take a look at my prints again.
Up until this moment I had been trying to hold onto the word Gina gave me back in the summer, that my visa would work out. But it was hard. I had no faith for it, not yet. As soon as I got off the phone with Monica my faith soared (that is after I called my dad and started crying again). I realized that it had to happen now because it was actually impossible, and God makes the impossible, possible!
I threw away all of my boxes.
No word back from Monica. So, I call the FBI again. Michael tells me to call back. After I get a hold of Monica she tells me that regrettably she had not heard back yet and they may have already destroyed my prints. Destroyed fingerprints? No big deal God’s got this.
On the phone with Monica for the third day in a row, and while I talked to her she received an e-mail from the special division, saying they would look into my situation.
Woke up to and e-mail stating, “This e-mail is being sent on behalf of Monica. Your prints have been processed. Your results were sent in the mail. -FBI communications department.”
I pumped my fist in the air and thought, “Go God!”
I receive my background check via fedex from my daddy.
My school drops off my paperwork at immigration. Except. My former job never sent in a release letter. In the Korean system I was still working for someone else.
I contacted them old job, they send letter over to immigration. I planned to head to Japan with the visa number on October 2nd.
On Monday, I asked my work to contact immigration to make sure I would get my visa number before I headed to Japan on Wednesday. They explained that they had not started processing my paperwork yet (which normally takes a week) because my old school sent in an incomplete letter of release, something about a missing stamp…
Oh, and there was a news report talking negatively about my new school and other schools like it (all false statements), so immigration shut down the processing of visas for my school.
Immigration. Shut down. All visa processing.
My principal storms into my classroom (stressed about the negative news report I am sure) demanding to understand why the release letter wasn’t at immigration, because if it had been the processing of my visa number would have already started. I had no answers. But I did know that even if immigration only decided to process one visa within the next 24 hours, it would be mine. Because God’s got my back. But… I couldn’t exactly tell that to my boss. I prayed instead.
Immigration started the process for my visa.
I walked out of the Korean consulate in Fukuoka, Japan with tears in my eyes. I looked down at the visa in my passport and can’t believe that I finally have it.
Long story short, I may have no fingerprints… but I God. He is all I need.
A week after I got my visa one of my pastors preached a message at a prayer meeting. During her sermon she gave me a shout out, briefly explained my situation, and told me exactly why I am still here, in Korea. And I agree. I completely agree.
Listen to Pastor Erin’s message here. Seriously. It is really good.