Jerald and Jade
It’s amazing how God has perfect timing! Time and time again, He has proved this to our family. It has seriously tested our faith. But looking back at everything that has happened to our family, He knew exactly what we needed, when we needed it.
We’ve been on quite a journey since arriving in New Zealand. Even coming to NZ was not in our immediate plans. Jerald had quite a good job in Shanghai, and we were very comfortable. But Isia was also nearing the age when she would have to start school. As you know, Isia is diagnosed with Autism, and, during that time, it was extremely hard to find a school that not only taught in English, but would have the resources and facilities for someone with special needs. Then God opened the opportunity to come to New Zealand. NZ was never in our plans, but Jerald got a call from a headhunter in New Zealand asking if he would like to work there. God’s timing was perfect.
Jerald came here first as I was pregnant at the time. But just getting visas became a challenge. As Isia had only just been diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay (usually the first stage, before being diagnosed with Autism), the doctor who assessed us for the visa medical documents, required us to have Isia undergo quite a number of psychological, intellectual, and developmental tests. That was when she was formally diagnosed with Autism. And this also meant that our visa application would take months to process, with the medical assessor doing an in-depth review of our application. Then right when we thought we were not going to be able to join Jerald here, the visa officer approved our application. God’s timing was perfect.
Many things happened after that, which proved God’s thoughts were higher than our thoughts; most of these were shared during Jerald’s testimony (God’s favour in his job after a bewildering start. The opportunity for him to move to a different company with better pay and job, but God telling him to stay and then their company being bought by Apple). God showed us continuously that He knew what was best for us, we just needed to trust in Him.
Then on our first visa application for Residency, our application took more than a year due to all the evaluations, reassessments, doctors assessments, therapist assessments and medical reviews that they required because Isia had special needs. We were even told that Jerald, myself and baby Angela would be approved right away, as long as we dropped Isia from the application. This was not an option for us, thus our application was denied.
We were very discouraged and our faith took a blow as we were sure that God had led us to NZ for a reason. Often we would wonder why God would lead us here to just uproot us again. We would wonder if we should just stop struggling and leave. But we praise God for the spiritual support and comfort we received from everybody here. It is our firm belief that God has led us here and has wonderful plans for our family. We appealed the decision of immigration, and praise God, a few months later, the Courts answered and overruled the decision! So that meant that they would return our application to immigration, and it would be given to a new case officer.
However, the new application would be taken from scratch. We had to redo all the medical assessments, teachers’ assessments, therapist assessments, and all the other requirements. This took another year of reports upon reports being asked from us. And while all this was happening, they would only grant Isia short term student visas that would last just a few months. Each time it would expire, she would be put on an interim visa.
Finally, last December, (even if Isia was on another interim visa, that would mean if we left the country, she could not be allowed to re-enter with us), by faith, we booked tickets to go home to the Philippines for my sister in law’s wedding. We were to leave on December 26, and were planning to cancel mine and Isia’s tickets by December 5 if we still had no feedback on her visa. But when December 5 came, we decided not to cancel yet and give it a few more days. We kept feeling that God wanted us to wait a bit more. This trend kept going till December 15. During our life group, we asked for prayer from our friends. And Pastor declared that God has already shown favour and that our visas were approved. He told us not to worry and just to contact our immigration lawyer the next Monday and have them follow up. We did just that, and our lawyer told us that he was just waiting for the last decision from the case officer, and he would contact us as soon as he could. We kept praying about it and asking God what His plans were, then on Tuesday, I had a vivid dream that we all suddenly got our visas at the very last minute. I told Jerald about it the next day, and we prayed about it and asked God if this was His answer. Wednesday and Thursday came and went. We were getting a bit anxious because Friday would be the last working day of the year, and we were due to leave the following Tuesday. Then on Friday morning, Jerald meant to leave early to go to work, but he was delayed a bit. He suddenly got a call from our immigration lawyer, that the visa officer wanted him to go to their office at that moment, as they had approved the visa and would stamp it that morning. But he had to be there before 11am, after which their office would close. Thank God he was still at home, as they needed him to bring some extra documents that were there. If he had been at work already, he would not have made it to the visa office on time if he still had to stop by the house!
That very morning, at 11am, at the very last minute, on the very last working day of the year, and right before we had to fly out, we got all of our residence visas!
God has shown us time and time again that His thoughts, timing and decisions are perfect. The path towards them are sometimes long, winding, and even painful at times. But once we get there, it’s definitely worth the wait. Praise God!
He has made everything beautiful in its time.