As most of you know, Clinton and I moved to Calgary last summer for his Family Medicine Residency. Technically I am here as a visitor while awaiting my Permanent Residency in Canada. To those who have immigrated, you can truly sympathize with me in the time, money, stress and down-right annoyance this process entails. To make a VERY long story short, suffice it to say I have legitimately experienced a miracle in my life this week.
When immigrating to Canada you have to first meet with a border officer who will say yea or nay to your entering the country. If you are given the yea they will typically issue you a 6-month visitor document. As your 6-month period draws to a close, and if you'd like to stay longer, you have to pay a fee and submit a very lengthy application on a very unuser-friendly website, if there are any errors you are refused your request and asked to leave the country or apply for a restoration of your document, at a 250% cost increase of your original application.
How do I know this? Because this is what happened to me.
We found out on Christmas Eve that my application was refused (my passport was not uploaded properly) and I either needed to leave the country immediately or reapply for restoration of my visitor status (Merry Christmas, right?). Well, Clinton (bless his sweet heart) reapplied for me on January 1st (Happy New Year), paid the fee and we wished for the best. It looked like it was going to take about 45 days to process.
***When I first found out that we were moving to Calgary I cried and cried. I didn't want to move to a cold place again. Clinton promised that we would go on a warm winter vacation to break up the cold and we planned our trip for the middle of February. I have been looking forward to it.
***Now, when your restoration application is in process you aren't supposed to leave the country. Our trip was coming close and I wanted to make sure I could go, so on the 31st of January I checked the immigration website and it was processing applications submitted after January 1st. I called the immigration office and they said that since my application was for restoration I needed to expect to wait at least 16 WEEKS! What?
Devastated, I decided to do the only thing I could do--Fast and Pray. I turned to the Lord and pleaded for a miracle. We'd been trying our best to do things properly and were still having setbacks. I begged the Lord to have mercy and to help make things right. I told him that, in the grand scheme of things, I knew this was so insignificant, but it was a big deal to me now. I told him that I had done all that I could and knew the only way this could possibly work out was through a miracle.
To make things scarier, the next day (Monday) we found out that the fee we had paid online wasn't the right amount. We had the choices of leaving it as is and hoping for our miracle, withdrawing our application and restarting the waiting process, or going to the border and pleading with a border agent to let me back into Canada (if I was refused I'd have to stay in the states while Clinton went back to Canada).
After fretting and stewing over it for a couple days, I finally broke down and realized I had to turn my stress, worries and problem totally over to God. It was all too much and I was really in a dismal slump. If anyone could fix our problem, God could. I had to totally let go and trust Him to take care of things. So I decided to trust the Lord, we let the application go as is and continued to pray for a miracle. Tuesday morning we still didn't have answers so I prayed all day that a decision would be made and that a positive decision would be made today or tomorrow (Wednesday). I went to bed with no communication from immigration and truly believed I'd have an answer in the morning.
Wednesday morning I woke up, opened my email and as I was looking at my messages the email we'd been praying for came from immigration. Not only did we receive an approval of my application, but also an honest to goodness MIRACLE from God. Despite the fact that the fee we paid was less than required and my application had only been received 5 weeks earlier--my application was approved!
I am publicly (as public as my blog can be) acknowledging the hand of God in my life. I feel like one of those lucky people in the scriptures who witnessed a miracle! Like one of those who were thrown into a Lion's Den or a fire--I came out untouched. I feel truly blessed, protected and miracle-ized. What an emotionally stressful, but spiritually rewarding experience this has been.
Thank you to my ward Relief Society sisters for their prayers; the prayers of my friends (esp. Jess, Nari, Christine and Shihara); and the continuous prayers of my family members for my immigration process in general. Also, Clinton you have been so wonderful through this whole ordeal. Thank you for being so forgiving and patient, and for loving me even when I'm crazy and emotional. People, miracles DO exist.
A few days ago I went grocery shopping and noticed they were having a sale on Pepsi products (4/$3.50). Ever excited for a deal, I put four 2-liters in my cart, snap a pic of the deal (never know when you're going to get questioned at the register, so I've made a habit of taking pictures of special prices to save me a trip back to the product with a store manager just to prove I'm right).
Anyway, as per usual, I end up in the slowest lane ever. By the time it's my turn I totally forget to look at the price I was charged before bagging my groceries and heading out the door. When I got home I realized I had been overcharged, by like $4! I called the store back and they said I had to come back the same day in order to receive credit. So, I bagged my sodas back up and drove the 12-minute drive back to the store.
When I got to customer service I proudly whipped out my receipt and my camera to show the difference in price and awaited their apology, along with the sound of the till opening to give me my $4 back.
"Uh, ma'am? The picture you took is of the price for 12-packs. You paid what you were supposed to pay. This special is four 12-packs for $3.50/each. This is for 12-packs, not 2-liters."
Me: (Looking again at the photo) "Oh crap. I guess you're right."
At least I was able to laugh about it right away.