... and our reunion is NOT a joyful one.
Just as a refresher, the definition of a Chilean tramite can be found here.
The specific tramite we are commencing - this time on behalf of our sons Ian and Alec - is explained in detail here.
Literally for the entire year we were stateside, we pursued additional documentation for Ian and Alec, beginning with their re-adoption and Delaware birth certificates in January 2012 and ending with new certificates of citizenship in January 2013. While the paper trail was not especially enjoyable, it was infinitely simpler by virtue of most everything being done by mail.
That is not the case in Chile.
The Monday after we arrived in Iquique, Pedro and I took the little boys and snagged a number and waited our turn to speak with the Policia Internacional agent to register Ian and Alec's passports. However, once we were called to her desk we were politely informed that they do not handle our papers at this stage. She directed us to the office of Extranjeria, which basically oversees all the affairs of foreigners.
Unfortunately, one cannot simply approach the Extranjeria office to begin the necessary process. Instead, there is a phone number to be called between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. in order to request an initial interview and receive the proper paperwork. (Note: This is only because we live outside the capital. In Santiago, we could simply fill out the forms and do it by mail.)
Two days later, I have spent four hours dialing and redialing and redialing without ever having my call picked up. Can you say frustrating? I know this is part of life in Chile and I have to learn to live with it, and I even prayed before returning that God would give me patience with this reality. (I know someone is going to say that I'm just getting what I prayed for!)
But it's not easy.
So when you wonder what to pray for your missionaries - as many churches asked us during our year of furlough ministry - this would be one great prayer request. That God would go before them even in the day-to-day, time-consuming details that might seem totally unrelated to their ministry. That He would make their way smooth, and if He chooses to let them take the bumpy road that He would enable them with the patience and grace to ride it out with a good testimony.
I for one will certainly appreciate those prayers! :)