Just a quick update to let you know how things are going...
Friday I finally heard back from the SA Consulate (10 days turned into 5 weeks, but you know... it's SA time, not US time). They denied my visa. But honestly I kind of expected that. From what I've heard of other's journeys it seems to be their pattern to deny the first application request and make people either appeal or reapply for a visa. They sent me a couple of reasons for the denial (financial means and issues verifying the NPO I'll be working with) but those were really non-issues. So I immediately starting printing off the papers they would need to prove both of their complaints. The next day I Fed-Ex'd them with a rush to arrive yesterday (Monday) morning. The Consulate has received my papers and replied by email asking me to fill out an appeal form. I filled that out, scanned it, and emailed it back to them. So they now have everything they need to approve my appeal if they choose to. But the ball is in their court once again. If they choose to deny me again, it's okay. I can either fly back to NYC and apply again (with whatever changes they request), wait 10 business days and fly back to ask for my visa in person (seems to be the trend that gets the best results on the second attempt), or I can look into other options to get into SA legally that would require more renewals and expense throughout the year.
In any case, it's out of my control. If I've learned anything through this process it's this: I have no real control in life. And honestly, I'm beginning to really like that concept. The denial wasn't a surprise to the God who loves me so much. And it won't be a surprise to Him if they refuse my appeal, or deny the next visa request. It hasn't been easy following the call to Go so far, so why would I think it'd be smooth sailing now? LOL! The easy way is boring anyways! And I learn nothing from it. But the hard way constantly calls me back to the real purpose of my life - to know Him more and more so that I can make Him known to more and more people. I can still do that right here in Nashville, TN until the day He makes it a way for me to follow the pressing in my heart to go to Africa. So if that day comes soon and they approve my appeal - praise God! But if that day is delayed several weeks and I have to stay right where I am until He's ready - praise God! Either way, it's Him directing my path and it will be for His glory and my ultimate good every step of the way!
I'll keep you all in the loop as I know more about what's going on. Thank you all for your kindness, support, and prayers! My family and friends, and even people I've never met who read this blog, have been wonderful blessings to me through this all and I couldn't imagine this journey without you! Thank you!!