Nearly two years ago I met my dear friends from Brazil, Zeca and Gabia Sales (and their amazing daughters). Their love for God and people far from Him left an indelible impression on me. Their desire to help Portuguese-speaking people far from God in Miami and the vision of The Pursuit was a perfect fit. So we began the process of getting an R-1 Visa for them to come to the States.
I didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.
Apparently there has been a ton of fraud by fly-by-night non-profits who only founded their ghost organizations as a front to bring people illegally to the U.S. The USCIS has been cracking down on this and the fact that we are a new church, and a non-denominational one at that, has actually hurt us. It makes sense. They can’t just call up our denominational headquarters to see if we are legit because there isn’t one. So here we are two years later and we still do not have an answer.
To be frank, I would have given up a year ago had God not kept showing how he was working while we were waiting:
- a Christ-follower in the Pembroke Pines area who knows of Zeca and Gabia has offered them a house to live in when they get here FOR FREE!
- generous Christian Churches in Florida (Tomoka in Ormond Beach and Northeast in Kissimmee) and Brazil have continued their faithful financial support for Zeca.
- we were connected with two fantastic immigration attorneys in Chicago who worked many pro-bono hours on our behalf.
- and most recently we were introduced to another immigration attorney (this one local) who has connections inside the USCIS and has begun pushing hard to get the case resolved.
Finally, we are getting somewhere. Last week, I was called by an immigration officer who said we would receive an answer within 30 Days.
I am asking everyone to pray for 30 days so that we can finally bring them to South Florida and that they will be rewarded for their patience and faithfulness. There is no question in my mind that they will be worth the wait!