Cooley Feb 2021 - Jamaica
“The Pressure is...OFF!”
Dear Ministry Partners,
After months of waiting for the Jamaican government to approve our work permit exemption, and then weeks of waiting for them to make it official with an approval letter, we finally got the news we’ve been waiting for last week, and we’ll be leaving for Jamaica very soon.
But even this last week was eventful. Brother Harmon contacted us on February 11th to inform us that he’d been called to come pick up our letter, but when he sent us a picture of the letter before physically sending it to us, I noticed that it was dated January 20th. If you’ve been following our progress reports, you know that’s a big problem, because that would have left us with just 8 days to get negative covid-19 tests, apply for authorization to travel, schedule a meeting in Miami, and get to Jamaica. Doing so would have been impossible, of course, because even though Brother Harmon sent the letter via DHL, it didn’t arrive for another week. As excited as we had been to hear that the letter was in hand, we were in a bit of a panic over the date, and Brother Harmon said that when he’d asked them about the date and the time limit, they simply told him we needed to get our appointment in Miami made and wouldn’t give him an answer about the very slim remaining window.
That being the case, even though we had already been unsuccessfully attempting to contact the Jamaican consulate by both phone and e-mail for months, we went into a full communication blitz. Finally, after days of not getting a response of any kind, a consulate staff member answered the phone and said that the lady who handled such issues would call us back. She did, and have things ever changed!
After much discussion, though she didn’t explain why, and we didn’t dare “look a gift horse in the mouth”, she said that rather than our doing an in-person interview in Miami, we could finish the process by mail and that there would be no time limit on our getting to Jamaica. We also discovered during the call that she too is Baptist and even attended a Jamaican church planted by now retired BBFI missionary Bill Amberg. Though we were a little less than comfortable with putting several original official personal documents in the mail, the Lord seems to have done just about everything possible to eliminate any doubt that our being in Jamaica is His will, so we got them off immediately and hope to receive our stamped Jamaica visas back pronto.
Our visas will just be valid for two years rather than the three they had promised, and we will have to cut our first term a little short to come home and renew our passports (The US Passport office is well behind), but the pressure is off and we expect to be in Jamaica in just a few weeks. Thank you for your continued prayers. You will very likely be receiving our next report from Jamaica and we’ll very gladly be back to reporting on events in both Burkina Faso and Jamaica rather than our government red-tape challenges.
John & Tammy Cooley