thank you to all those who have prayed for, and financially supported our trip to honduras coming up in may!
one of the challenges we have faced is the that of getting all of the boys their passports. i think i have mentioned it in past blogs, but its been a long and difficult process.
in poverty such as this, its not uncommon for people to not even own a birth certificate. in some cases, the dad is nowhere to be found. in other cases, mistakes were made on birth certificates or citizenship cards (spelling, etc). it has been months of hard work just to get to the point where we could take the trip to immigration and apply for the passports.
people donated money, we rented a bus, prepared food, and got all the papers in order. we left buena vista with all the boys and their parents at 4:30AM.
after 3 hours waiting in line, the doors opened. one after another, our applications were denied. small errors on birth certificates and on our power of attorney documents were the primary reason.
we tried to fight on their behalf, but no one was budging. they wouldn't let us in the doors to allow us to help the families explain their side of things. the parents of our boys were overwhelmed and intimidated... unaware of their own rights, and therefor unable to defend them.
after hours in the hot sun, we had only 4 passports. i texted kerrie to be praying, that things weren't looking good. i'm sure others were already praying.
that's when a little miracle happened. we found ourselves (based on a tip from a guy who worked inside who heard about our situation) down the street in the immigration central offices. we explained our situation to the secretary, and asked for someone in charge.
about 20 minutes later, he came out of his office. obviously short on time, he said "i'm in a meeting, but tell me what's up." we shared our story... explained what we do at the academy, the upcoming tournament in honduras, and all we had done to get to this point. from the window we were standing in front of, we could see our entire group - about 80 people - a block away in the parking lot. i pointed to them and said, "thats our boys and their families, right there."
he responded "i'll be over there after my meeting, and i'll take care of it."
"wait... what do you mean?", i asked. he smiled and said, "dont worry, i run this place, i'll take care of it."
a couple hours later, we were all inside (me, paul, and mynor), helping all of our boys' families get through their paperwork to get their passports processed. our new friend, who we later found out is the director of immigration, was there to push through almost all of the files that had been declined.
after an insanely long day, we walked out with 21 passports out of the 27 boys we had arrived with!
we have specific instructions in order to complete the remaining 6 needed, and we're confident we'll get them done.
we consider what happened today to be a miracle. we've done enough paperwork in guatemala to know that it doesn't normally (ever!) work out this way. we believe God is with us as we do our best to defend the rights of the poor. to protect those who are underprivileged and overlooked. to advocate for those whose voices are not being heard.
here's a final thought:
today was a groundbreaking.
its safe to assume that in the history of our village of buena vista, no one has ever owned a passport. most had probably never even heard of one.
today, 21 boys from BV received their government issued guatemala passport, good for the next 5 years.
while i may not know everything that means or implies... i do know that its exciting!
i also know that in a little over a month, these same boys are going to cross the border into honduras. i know we'll play in a big soccer tournament, and i know we'll see the honduran coastline and splash in the carribean waters.
...but i have this strange feeling that there's so much more i don't know that God has in store for us on that trip.