Just a personal update: after over 18 months of a rigorous visa process, and conversations with elders from a church in Ohio, we will be moving there for me to be part of a Ministry Apprenticeship Programme.
In March of 2017, I was copied onto an email and introduced to a pastor who was part of a church that was considering training young dudes who wanted to get into vocational ministry by my brother TK. With my desire to plant a church, TK had mentioned me to them and we kept in communication until the church eventually introduced the program and I was officially asked to apply, was accepted and the immigration proceedings commenced.
We received legal advice, and in April 2018, we filed a petition. We waited nine months before getting the first approval for our petition and paid some fees. After that, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which is a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) transfered our case to the National Visa Centre where we had to submit more documents.
After this, we then filed an Immigrant Visa application, got our documents approved, and the case was transfered to the US Embassy in Harare. On June 10, we got a date for a Visa Interview appointment in Harare and it is here were I was recently approved.
The cost of the process and also the legal fees were all graciously covered by the church we will be going to. They have been super kind to us in ways that only those transformed by the gospel can be. We are grateful. We are also grateful to friends and family who have been privy to this process happening in the background and have prayed for us, cried with us when impatience and lack of clarity concerning tomorrow hit us hard, and also those who have supported us financially.
Honestly, this has been one of the most trying processes I have been a part of, and indeed we have been a part of as a couple. Months upon months of uncertainty concerning our future led us to closely cling to the Lord Jesus, and to each other.
It was not an approval that we longed for more than anything - it was clarity concerning where we were going and what we would be doing. My wife demonstrated great faith and strength, while I honestly was skeptical as I have issues with how the process is conducted. But God proved faithfully, and I am thankful Brittany and I went through these last 18 months of "limbo" for the glory of God, and for our joy.
We have enjoyed the work we have done at Grace Chapel, and are so sad to be saying gospel goodbyes to our friends - who are really family. It has been a wonderful time and a season of great growth for the both of us.
So, that is it folks. Keep us in your prayers. We will be moving to Texas for two months, and then to Ohio.
Because we are completely leaving everything here and starting a whole new life from scratch, we are raising some funds for both our air tickets, and also to sustain ourselves before we start working (in January), we have opened a GoFundMe page here and a PayPal Pool page here where we are open to any donations, and we also have a registry on Amazon and on Wayfare here for some things we need to get going. You can always contact us if you prefer any other means to help us. Any kind of help is appreciated.
Grace and peace,
Bruce Itai and Brittany Louise Chimani