Last week we were notified by immigration that I had been granted permission for a work permit and I should go down, collect the notice, pay some fees and fill out some forms to get the permit process going. I meet the man (James) that the Baptist Mission employs for immigration needs down at Nyayo House (the building that houses all the immigration offices). We climbed to the fifth floor, waited for the lady we needed to see to return from lunch, only to find they had held the notice long enough and then put it in the mail a few days earlier. (It never ceases to amaze me that anyone can find a record of anything in these offices.)
Sure enough, the notice arrived here on Saturday. I picked it up on Monday. When I opened it the form read that I had been granted permission for a Class A permit, we could get two years at once. The only problem is that a Class A permit for two years costs a little over $4200!!! I need a class E (for missionaries) permit. Two years for a class E is about $65.
Dorcas (our secretary) went to Nyayo House on my behalf today. She met James there. No, it wasn't a mistake. Care of Creation Kenya (CCK) is registered as an NGO (non-governmental organization, similar to what we call a non-profit) so I need an NGO Class A permit. Craig and Tracy had researched this when they were going through the process to register the CCK. They were assured that they could still get a Class E permit, even as an NGO. And that is what the NGO board of Kenya recommended for us in their letter to immigration.
Anyway, it's a big problem. I would appreciate your prayer. Tracy went into bulldog mode when she heard about it. Even though she and Craig are in Nairobi today taking the kids to the doctors and so on, she has made several calls including to the NGO board and will no doubt fight it all to the very end. In the meantime, I need to get my third three-month tourist visa in a row as my current visa runs out a week from Saturday. I must go on the day or the day before, no earlier or later.
Please pray about this. I know enough about the culture here to realize that 'fighting' something can result in additional trouble. One must be very careful how things are approached so as not to demand things or upset anyone's pride in what they do. There is also the opportunity for corruption to make its way in through such a process. No doubt we will have more help from James. We need to think creatively how to pitch the need for this position I fill to be a 'missionary position'. We may need to go back to the lawyer that helped us register... I do not know what all it will entail. I just know it will take a lot of prayer.
Thank you for standing with me in this, Jan