Yesterday morning Sam, I and the girls as well as some friends of ours from the States and their son were able to share in an English class in the public university here in Monterrey. We’ve taken TIME Ministries groups there in the past and we want to keep active the connection even when we have no college groups. We go to help expose them to native English speakers and allow them to practice listening and speaking. But our goal is that we can keep going, get to know the students and introduce them to a true relationship with Christ. Although this is something we love to share about and hope you will join us in praying for this project that is #morethanmissions and we hope will continue next semester, this blog really isn’t about that ministry.

The connection is that our topic yesterday was on being an expat, what it’s been like to move to another country, learn a new language, and adapt to a new culture. Of how some things that should be not too difficult become much harder than expected but are necessities of living and serving in another country. A section of our presentation was some funny anecdotes of our wins and fails as expat missionaries. Today we experienced a morning full of wins and fails that would have been perfect to share. I hope you can read my attempt at tongue in cheek humor of our rather frustrating morning.

Our children have the blessing of being able to have dual citizenship. The paperwork, lines, and time spent to get those documents is not so much a blessing for their parents. When our youngest (currently 3 months old) was about 5 weeks old we went to the US consulate to apply for her a birth abroad birth certificate that grants her US citizenship and get her US passport. The application includes needing to list all the time we as the parents have spent in the US. Unfortunately, I didn’t know 10 years ago when I moved to Mexico I would need to remember the dates of every quick day trip up to the border. But thankfully this time I didn’t also need to include every date and location that I was outside the US like I did with our oldest daughter. At the consulate, after a relatively short wait we turned in paperwork at one window, paid at another, registered and paid for the messenger service that would deliver her documents at another window, another short wait, a quick interview, another visit to the payment window and the messenger service window, back through security and we were on our way a record hour after arriving. A surprising 10 days later we had her documents, with our oldest the process at the consulate was about 2 and ½ hours and the wait for her documents close to 6 weeks.

I’ll leave out the details of the process of getting the Mexican birth certificate. Something we thankfully could do at the hospital before being discharged but includes needed to have a copy of Sam’s birth certificate that is less than 6 months old. (A common request for documents here although I don’t think I will ever understand why a birth certificate has to be recent. Usually the dates and information surrounding a birth don’t change as time goes by, but maybe I’m wrong. J)

Today was the appointment to get the Mexican passport. The process includes filling out an application online, having the child’s birth certificate, CURP (like a social security number), a recent letter from the pediatrician, and ID from the parents. We had all the documents, had made the payment and were out the door by 7:40am with both little girls (one of who usually doesn’t wake up till 8), made it into the city and arrived 10 minutes early to our appointment thanks to an abnormal experience of flowing morning traffic. Win. After turning in all the documents and required two copies we waited while they confirmed the documents online. There we discovered that although we had the physical official copy of her birth certificate and the paper with her CURP someone hadn’t entered them into an official computer database so they couldn’t verify them and therefore we couldn’t finish the process of her passport. We needed to go to another government building across town and got someone to enter her information into the system. Fail.

So off we go, frustrated mom and dad and thankfully cooperative toddler and infant (win!). By the time we got to the other building the infant was no longer feeling so cooperative but baby carrier for the win and she went back to sleep once she was strapped next to mom’s heart. Once inside we surprisingly found no lines. Win! This place is notorious for taking up to 3+ hours of your day to get one procedure done. After speaking to two rather grumpy and not very helpful government workers we found a more approachable worker who couldn’t tell us why our daughter’s information wasn’t in the system even though just a few weeks earlier Sam had spent an hour and a half there with our toddler getting the CURP for our youngest because it wasn’t online. But he did tell us they will supposedly put it in the system within the next 10 working days. The exact number of days the passport place granted us a pass to be able to go back and get her passport. Fail.

There was one more win for the morning. We did all that and got tacos (the screaming infant demanded we stop and all have breakfast J) and made it home in about 3 hours. Unheard of for a trip into town considering it takes 40-45 minutes one way and without traffic to get to the places we needed to go. Hopefully the next time we go will be just as quick and that that time we’ll come home with a passport.

Jessica Olmedo – Site Director, Mexico



{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}

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