Pray BFF Letter #178
Friday, September 10, 2010
Dear Prayer Partners,
Praise God! We got the visa today for the Far East! 98% of the support has come in (or promised). I leave on Monday, Sept 13th and arrive Wednesday. We welcome your prayers!
Next Thursday, Sept 16th, the first 3-day seminar starts in the main city. If you want more of the story, read on.
What a shock!
I was trying to purchase travel insurance, but they don't sell it for this country. So I wanted to learn more of the country. So I found a US government travel website and discovered - by God's grace - that getting an entrance visa at the airport in This country was suddenly halted on Sept 1. I discovered this on Labor Day, Sept. 6th.
I began to think of the ramifications. What seemed obvious, and would be confirmed by a call to the embassy a day later, was that I would not be allowed on the flight to this country without the visa in hand. I can understand their situation. They had no way of even knowing I was coming. What puzzled me more is that when I searched for this visa change, only two little remote articles mentioned it. Even the travel blogs and websites had not updated the regulations! How misleading.
Shock finally became puzzlement. What was I going to do?
To be honest
My first thoughts were to postpone the trip. When some ministers found out about it, I had two nice invitations to hold training in India instead. The embassy, upon hearing of my situation, was so courteous, spoke with beautiful English, and provided me a possible way to process the visa. They were willing to send out the visa within one day if I could get the application to them right away.
I thought, if they were so kind to offer (was it just a polite offer? I couldn't tell), I decided to try it.
So I interrupted Linda's homeschool schedule for a haircut (needed a recent picture) and that morning in faith made some quality photos for a visa.
I said 'in faith' because there were two problems. The first was whether it could be processed in time (by the way they charged no extra fee!). The second was the fact that the application required six pages, asking some details about the ministry that those there were not comfortable in answering nor did they have time to process. This is why I chose to use the simple visa at the airport. Those pastors went into lots of prayer for this matter.
So without having all the information, I sent it in. The next day, I could send more information. In faith and hope, I worked getting it off that day so they would receive the application the next day. I was also preparing all sorts of items for the trip, not knowing whether the visa would ever be granted.
Learning about prayer
Last Sunday I preached a sermon on prayer from Nehemiah 1:4-11, Prayers That Change the World. I really felt that God was producing them, not only from me, but from all of you and those there.
My prayers started off rather inward. Lord help me to go. It would be so much easier, but then I began to more deeply understand the spiritual work needing to be done there and the situation of the pastors there. My prayers began to be world-changing prayers.
Some of the pastors would be coming from long distances. There was no way to tell them that the seminar was cancelled. They might not have money to get back home. I could see their predicament as well as how much God wanted to build them up in the Word.
In the end, I believe that this had much more to do with our need for more of the right kind of prayers from all of us and less to do with policy changes.
We thank the Lord for 98% of funds in hand!
I got a visa in a remarkably short time thanks to the embassy staff!
Allison was safely dropped off in Tennessee at Union University.
The lessons on faith and prayer are invaluable.
I got my new eyeglasses which help a lot.
Your prayers helped me not to be anxious but to take the steps needed in faith.
Thank the Lord for grace for teaching and preaching last Sunday.
Pray for great blessing on those coming to the seminars.
Seek God for the children to get into a good homeschool routine. It was a bit tough getting back into the schedule after a Labor Day holiday.
Paul needs to spiritually, mentally and physically prepare for the upcoming demanding overseas seminars.
Safety and health for those here at home as well as my travels. Some are not well. I have some allergy/cold problem myself.
Special anointing for the special meetings not part of the seminar (such as revival meetings at night).
Special grace to Linda when I leave. It is always hard for us to part.
Many thanks for your prayers and support,
Rev. Paul J. Bucknell, President and Instructor
Phone: (+01) 412-398-4559
3276 Bainton St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212 USA