Yay!!! We have finally made some forward movement in this whole process. We just paid for the first year of school and for two years of Overseas Health Coverage. So now, we wait to get Brandon's CoE (Code of Enrollment) back from HILC and then we can apply for our visa!!! We are still working on his RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning - explained at length in previous post) for the first year, but they said we could go ahead and pay for the first year and they could apply the paid fees to his second year when all the RPL is said and done.
So now we need you guys to PLEASE pray for us in a couple of areas:
1) Visa Process: Brandon has a flag on his name with airport security as a possible terrorist. Apparently there is a person on the "terror watch list" with his same name (Charles Brandon Griffin - go figure!). Every single time he flies we get searched to the max and have all kinds of issues, so he constantly has to prove he is an American citizen ("my name is Khan and I am not a terrorist" - sorry, very few will actually get that joke!:).
We are currently working with TSA to prove that he is not whoever this other Charles Brandon Griffin is. Our concern is that if this doesn't get resolved quick enough that it will flag him in trying to get a visa and enter another country. Please pray for God's favor in this area and that this matter would get resolved quickly. And just the whole visa process in general. I do not know why I have so much trepidation about this, but I do.
2) Finances: Just to quickly fill you guys in on the last year or so of our life, we have sold our house and moved in with my (Julie's) parents. We have sold all our belongings and will sell the last of it (cars and what we use now for daily living) closer to the time of leaving. All we will have left is personal belongings that will fit in two bags each and B's music gear that he will be taking (and a few sentimental items stored at my parents).
This has been really hard for us at times, as most people our age (early thirties) are digging in their roots and really settling down, and here we are completely starting over. But we know that just like all our beautiful examples of faith that walked before us in the Bible, it will all be worth it in the end. So we move forward grateful and having to run to Him many times in the midst of all the trials, but each time find ourselves getting up from our knees deeper in love with our Saviour and more in awe of the goodness and faithfulness of our God.
Presently, I have been working about 35-40 hrs a week as a waitress and B repairs iphones, does handy man jobs here and there, and is about to start a job with the census, all while we keep the kids home and home school!!! What a challenge this season has been for us, and my parents have been AWESOME (just a quick shout out to them)!!! Only by the grace of God in our life has any of this been possible.
In accordance with our student visas we can only work a maximum of 20 hrs a week while school is in session and unlimited time during the breaks. This poses a bit of a hardship for us as it is hard to maintain a family of four on part time work, and I will still be home schooling the kids. Of course this is all on top Brandon attending school and serving at Hillsong Church (requirement for schooling, and the whole point we are going!), but I have faith that His grace will provide all that we need.
We have separated our expenses into two categories. 1) College Expenses: Tuition for two years, RPL fees for one year, visa fees, plane tickets for the family there and back, purchase of a car, health coverage for two years (required to get your visa), and a deposit for renting a home (basically everything to get us there, get B through two years of school, and get us started when we get there). 2) Living Expenses: groceries, gas, cellphone, internet, school costs (for kids), clothes for kids as they grow, weekly rent ( just daily living expenses for a family of four). I am very pleased to report that we are at about 75% of our College Expenses financial goal!!!
And so we are asking you, our family and friends, to prayerfully consider financially supporting us in any possible way. We have truly sought to be diligent in our finances and prepare as much as possible, whatever that has required of us. Please be in prayer about the Lord possibly leading you to help support our family, either with a one time gift, or a continual commitment of support throughout our time there, or maybe somewhere in between :).
We are in the process of getting set up and sponsored with a non profit ministry so that all support given would be made tax deductible to the giver. We will let you know that information as soon as it is solidified, which will be within the next 2-3 weeks. Thank you so much and God bless you all!