3rd Thursdays and 3G Cell phones

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I’d like to start off by thanking those of you who have been praying for us to get things done this week because I cannot imagine how the week would have gone if you had not been praying 🙂  My last blog left off on Wednesday with us having plans to get done our passport validation, starting our visa process, bank account, Guatemala survival training and cell phone transfer all on Thursday.  It took until Friday evening but we were actually able to accomplish 2 of those 5 things…Praise the Lord!!!

We spent about an hour Wednesday evening going over detailed directions with fellow missionaries, Lee and Stacy Jarvis, on how to get to the embassy to validate our passports because we cannot start our visa process or set up a bank account until that is finished.  After spending this time we decided to check the embassy website just to be sure of their hours because we had to leave at 5 a.m. to get through Guatemala rush hour traffic and be there when the embassy opened.  On the website we saw they actually open an hour earlier than what we thought so we were delighted, that is until Dylan saw the little asterisk next to the Thursday hours.  This asterisk led us to the part of the website which tells that the embassy is open for emergencies only the third Thursday of every month and of course this past Thursday was the third Thursday of the month.  This was a bit disheartening as we know we need someone to drive us and translate for us when we go to do this and after Friday we would be in Antigua by ourselves with no transportation or translator.  We were later told that we could rent a taxi and translator from our language school to take us and help us with this and then another day we can rent a taxi and meet up with one of the missionaries from New Life Children’s Home (NLCH) who will help us establish our bank accounts.  Not the most ideal situation as we had transportation and people to help translate available to us Thursday BUT we are thankful that we are still able to get it done, it’ll just cost extra.  We also were praising God that we DID check the website and didn’t end up driving all the way to the embassy (about a 2 hour trip with traffic) only to find out they were closed.

So on Thursday one of the missionaries at NLCH, Kendon, took us to get our cell phones transfered to the Guatemala network and do some “how to live safely in Guatemala” instruction.  We spent about 1 1/2 hours at the Tigo cell phone store getting all the paperwork together.  We had to print out our statement to make sure we had enough money to cover the monthly plan (because we are foreigners) and finagling some things to “show” that we live in Guatemala now.  Essentially, Kendon somehow added us to the NLCH electricity bill (we have to be sure he remembers to take us off because that’s one BIG bill…lol) and they accepted that as proof of residency.  After taking care of all this and printing these things out we then went back to the store, finished our paperwork, and were told they would call us later that day to let us know it was approved.  In the mean time we had lunch with Kendon and went over some “Guatemala safety things” and went to visit a possible community for us to live in after language school.  This is a community Kendon is familiar with and that he feels has very good security which he emphasized is very important.  After all this we still had not received a call from Tigo so we went back to NLCH and did some other things.  Later that night after dinner we still hadn’t heard from them so Kendon and Dylan decided to take our phones and just drive over to see if they were ready to do the transfer.  They didn’t call because there is no number to call that specific store only the main customer service and Kendon felt it would be quicker just to drive there.  They arrived at the store only to find out that the account had not been approved because they were trying to put it in Dylan’s name and the credit card we used didn’t have Dylan listed on it.  Kendon asked them “so why didn’t you call us” and their response was “because your account was rejected”…AHHHHHH we all were thinking isn’t that MORE reason to call us.  So they came back and got me so we could go back and redo all the paperwork in my name.  They then told us they would let us know the next day, Friday, if our account was approved.  This posed a challenge as we were leaving for Antigua the next day and there are no Tigo stores in Antigua.

We ended up going to Antigua with the team on Friday and then heading back to NLCH after lunch with Lee and Staci who escorted our group to Antigua.  We still had not received a call on Lee’s phone from Tigo to tell us our phones had been approved so Lee just took us there again to see what was going on.  Thankfully, when we got there they told us the account had been approved but they just forgot to call us.  We were SO happy BUT we weren’t finished yet.  The lady who was assisting us brought out 2 phones and started explaining them to us even though we had explained to BOTH people who helped us the day before that we wanted new SIM cards for our unlocked iPhones not new phones.  She told us that the account had only been approved for the SIM card for the new phones and that there was a different SIM card required for the iPhones and we might need to try to be approved for those SIM cards but she would check with her manager.  By this point I wanted to cry at the thought of having to come back again the next day.  Thankfully, after waiting for awhile she came back and told us that she worked it out and we were approved for the SIM cards for our iPhones.  She switched everything around and FINALLY we were hooked up to the Guatemala cell service!!  I was so thankful I almost started crying because if we didn’t have a way to communicate it would make everything else we have to still accomplish such a challenge.  So although it was quite the ordeal we are thankful and praising the Lord that our cell phones are hooked up AND that unlocking our current phones worked so that we did not have to buy new ones here in Guatemala.

It was such an exhausting experience that we were both in bed VERY early last night.  I keep thinking “if this is what we went through for cell phones (something that is normally very simple) I can only imagine what we are going to go through with our passport validation, visas, and bank account set up.  I’m definitely going to start praying about that NOW!!  I told Dylan last night “this whole week I’ve felt like I’m swimming in slow motion against a powerful current.”

Thank you all again for your prayers and please continue because they are working (we’re making some progress) and they are definitely needed!!

4 Responses so far.

  1. David Voncannon says:

    why do you need the bank account? I have been here 10 years and have never had a need for one. (though I do have one, I hardly ever use it). ATMs are all over the country so having access to money is not an issue…. also, when did passports have to be validated? I have never heard of that one before…..

    • Missy says:

      Hey David! We are getting bank accounts so that we don’t have to keep paying ATM fees and so that we don’t have to carry a bunch of money around. After Dylan researched all our options we decided this was the easiest way that works for us. As far as the passport validation that is something relatively new from what we have heard. Where in Guatemala do you live?

  2. Patricia McLucas says:

    Wow – what “red tape” you’ve encountered! Keep me posted on the visas and bank accounts.

    May you be blessed with God’s peace and protection in Antigua.

    Patricia

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