As you hopefully already know, before I left for Italy, my religious visa was denied. I came as a “tourist” which allows me to stay in Italy for 90 days. It was our hope that I could somehow get my visa extended so I could stay for a year. A few different contacts have been helping me try to get my visa changed, but to no avail. I recently called the American Consulate in Milan to see if they had any advice. Their only “advice” was “Go back to America. You can’t stay here longer than 90 days!” Ok … that’s pretty clear. So I am coming back to California on December 14th. I think I will be home through the end of January.

Right now, I am looking into a language school in Venice that would give me more hours, in hopes that I will then qualify to apply for a student visa. I am excited about this other language school, because I think it will help me to better learn Italian. The classes meet 4 hours a day Monday through Friday (although my brain feels fried just thinking about that!).

As of right now, I still do not know exactly what the future holds and what the Lord is doing. This process has definitely been a stretching one for me. I like to plan ahead and know what’s happening. Obviously, the Lord does not want me to do that right now. He wants me to follow Him step by step, trusting Him all along the way as He shows me a little of the path at a time. I had a firm belief in the sovereignty of God before this, but this whole visa/moving to another country process has really made me realize how I could not live my life apart from knowing God is in absolute control of everything. If I did not believe that, I would be an absolute mess! I do not understand exactly what the Lord is doing in my life. But I do know that He is sanctifying me through it all. And it’s my hope that He’ll be more glorified through my life because of the refining process He is taking me through. Who knows … maybe this is all happening because He is going to allow me to witness to a person on the plane on December 14th? I am thankful that my God is infinitely wise, infinitely good, infinitely powerful, and infinitely loving.

And I must admit, I am very excited that I will be home for Christmas!  I cannot wait to see my family and friends! For those of you in Southern CA, I am hoping and praying that I’ll be able to come down there and visit y’all! I would like to come for Truth and Life Conference, before the semester gets into full swing. Oh man, there are so many things I’d like to do and people I’d like to see … all in such a short time! So we’ll see what the Lord allows. Can someone tell me when Truth and Life is and who’s speaking at it this year?

Thanks for all of your prayers and encouraging e-mails. I would still appreciate your prayers for my visa and future. That reminds me, some of you were maybe going to mail me something … I believe a letter takes about a week to get here. So if you want to mail me a letter, don’t mail it any later than the first week of December. Otherwise, wait and save your 85 cents (I think that’s what the postage is) and hand it to me or talk to me in person. J