Pursuing a Permanent Residency

Ones of my greatest frustrations on the mission field comes from the fact that I don’t have a permanent residency visa in Australia.  This setback not only hurts me financially since I am not able to use national health care, but reapplying for my temporary visa every two years is a very frustrating experience filled with fifty page applications, and months of waiting.  The current immigration laws have become very strict about not giving PR visas to immigrants who don’t have money to pay their bills (which is a good thing) and ask for the first years salary upfront which I didn’t have when arriving in 2007.  It’s possible to receive this visa, but only by working through a lawyer and fitting within the demands of Australia’s immigration department.

In April I sat in the office of a solicitor (lawyer) as he spoke with a new missionary who had come for a field survey trip, and was planning to return with his family in February 2012.  The solicitor gave my friend the good news that all the paperwork had been filled out properly, and unless a serious problem arose their permanent residency visa applications would bee accepted.  Sitting at that table I had conflicting emotions in my heart, happiness that this family with three small children would be cared for, and heartbreak about the fact that there was no way I could possibly receive that visa.The real problem with my application is the fact that I am about $400 below the line that Immigration asks someone to have financially in order to be accepted, which in today’s economy would be extremely hard.

After that meeting I sort of gave up on that permanent residency dream, not in a spirit of anger or depression, but because logically there was no way to achieve that goal while on the field.  Its true that God could provide new support and supply for my financial needs but in most cases support is raised while on furlough in the states.  But recently through conversations with other missionaries and prayer the Lord has challenged me to begin pursuing that dream of a PR visa.  Not by going around asking everyone I know for money, but focusing every decision on the goal of raising $400 of new support by July 2015 (this includes a one year furlough beginning in July 2014).  This way my energy, time, and actions are based on taking me one step closer to the Goal that God has placed upon my heart.

With all my heart I believe that the Lord desires for me to pursue permanent residency for the Baptist Mid Missions Australia organization, and so I can reach the lost of Melbourne effectively.  Please pray for me as I begin evaluating my lifestyle and decisions with the question, “will this help me fulfill the goal of God for my life?”  And more than that to obey by eliminating what holds me back and submitting to the Lords Will.

Because of Who He is,

John Wilburn

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John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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