Last week our family took a trip to the Big City for fingerprinting at the immigration office. Not exactly my first choice for a family outing, but hey, we take what we can get.
Numerous times over the years, our family has waited in government offices, patiently trying to keep entertained as we fill out forms in triplicate, pose for yet another round of red-background photos, and offer up our fingerprints for documentation. All the while fielding questions …
From the kids: Why do we have to do this? Why can’t I wear shorts? How much longer?
From others in the waiting room: Why so many kids? What are you here for? Can I take your picture?
This particular visit was the first time all the kids could sign their own names. And the fingerprint technology has greatly improved over the years––no more smudgy black thumbs.
We were in and out in thirty minutes, which had to be a record for us. We have Barendz, the Indonesian MAF worker who handles all our paperwork, to thank for the quick turnaround. David and I noticed the immigration office staff joking with him, calling him “Kak” (older brother) and treating him like an old friend. Relationships are so important in this country, and having Indonesians like “Kak” Barendz on our side helping us is crucial.
Jumping through government paperwork hoops––which at times seem endless––is part of life overseas. I doubt we’ll sit around with the kids one day and reminisce about the good times spent at “Kantor Imigrasi,” but we will no doubt remember why we did it––to be able to serve the Lord in this remote corner of the world.