To bring the lovely Shama Bhave to New Zealand to be married to our son Tim is proving to be a series of hurdle crossings (listed at the bottom of this post). We’ve crossed them all, one by one. The only thing left is to get a voucher for Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ).
But this last hurdle is proving to be a lottery, and a crazy lottery at that, where you also have to work hard for it. A voucher can come up in the system any time, day or night, ready to be snapped up by 1000s of passengers, not to speak of bots and third-party agencies.
The more difficult and costly it is to acquire an item, the more one treasures it. And may the Lord bring our precious Shama to Tim in His perfect time.
MIQ Allocation is a lottery, and I am reminded of the scripture that reads like this: “The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.”
For the Bhave family and for us, another passage that brings us great comfort is the account of Jesus at the pool of Bethesda. They say that you can see this pool even today in the Muslim quarter in Jerusalem. In Jesus’ day, many disabled people were left there, because it was believed that from time to time an angel stirred the water and the first person to get into the pool would be healed.
On this occasion, when Jesus was in the vicinity of the pool, one handicapped man explained his agony to Jesus saying, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Isn’t this exactly like what we feel as we keep vigil, perpetually waiting for our screens to yield a date, and how every time a date comes up and we click, we realise that we have missed out? Shama has been keeping at it for five weeks now. Her father Vishram and I have also taken turns at it, now and then. But the Bethesda-pool analogy is comforting, because it goes on to show how the Lord delivered the needy man, at the appointed time. Till Jesus comes to our Bethesda, we will wait. He is sovereign and knows exactly when to bring us relief.
We have to constantly remind ourselves of these scriptures, because it’s easy to get discouraged and it’s easy to get angry. I have often compared the MIQ-Allocation-Site feeling to the wretchedness of a large number of beggars in a Dickensian world scrambling over one another on a filthy pavement and all for a few coins that an evil bully teasingly tosses towards them one at at time. It feels demeaning and humiliating and wrong. We are so sorry that instead of welcoming Tim’s bride warmly to our home and to our country, we have given her this burden to bear. But the Lord has allowed it, and He does all things well even though so often His ways are counter intuitive.
The long list of hurdles, all crossed except the last one:
- Applying for a CAM visa with all the documentation that goes with it. (One month)
- Being granted the CAM visa. (Six months)
- Planning for the 18 Apr 2020 wedding
- Booking flights for the Bride and her family to arrive early April
- Sensing that Shama’s flight needs to be brought forward, in the light of the pandemic
- Booking Shama to fly into Auckland on 23 March 2020
- Border closes on 20 March 2020
- CAM visa expires 10 May 2020, and she had no travel status at all.
- A number of applications, each complicated, some get some traction before failing and others fail straightaway.
- Being granted CAM visa (June 2021)
- Being told that as Tim’s partner, she does not need to quarantine in Serbia, Moscow, etc
- Shama getting both her Covid jabs (28 July)
- Getting a voucher for the two-week stay at MIQ (on-going).