Thursday, February 09, 2006

Amy's Angel

I have gone through passport control or immigration or whatever it’s called in half a dozen countries—let’s see--Canada (many times), Mexico (twice), Poland, England, the UAE (twice), Kenya (twice) and Yemen (three times). If all goes well, you submit whatever documents are needed and they stamp your passport and off you go.

Far and away the worst place to do this is Yemen. They take your passport and refuse to tell you what they’re doing. "Go! Sit down!" they command, waving impatiently like you’re this huge irritating bother. "But…what’s going on?" you ask timidly, afraid to look the guy in the eye because Yemeni men take this as flirting. "Iss ok. Wait a little," he snaps, waving you off toward the chairs.

Screechy, animated Italians go through the line. So do big blond Germans. You keep waiting. Finally you venture to the window and try to tell them that your sister submitted some paperwork two days ago that’s supposed to expedite your visa. "Sit down! Wait a little!" commands the irritated immigration guy who no doubt didn’t have his qat today and is going nuts.

You have been up for something like 36 hours and are nearly in tears. You don’t dare go anywhere because they still have your passport. Important-looking American oil-company men go through the line and you are left for last. Finally after an hour of near-despair they yell angrily at each other, find the lost paperwork, summon you to the window and stamp your passport so you are free to go.

It is a horrible experience.

This week Amy flew from her current home in Oman to Yemen to visit my sister. I knew she had bought what she called Arab-proof sunglasses, dark enough so the men couldn’t see if she was looking at them or not, so I wasn’t worried about that. I told her to grow her fingernails long in case…well, just in case. But I was most worried about how she would get through passport control and there was nothing I could do about that.

Except pray, of course. Amy flew into Sanaa and went into the airport. A Yemeni woman came up to her and in perfect American English struck up a conversation. She had grown up in America but now lived in Yemen, she said. She ushered Amy to the front of the line, did the necessary negotiating and translating, and before she knew it Amy had her passport stamped and was on her way, one of the first ones through.

Amy thought this was cool but I think it is somewhere way, way, beyond cool—wonderful, reassuring, faith-affirming, and incredible. "The Lord hath sent his angel…"

Quote of the Day:
"But would an angel lie about growing up in America?"
--Emily. I don’t know either, but I would guess if an angel appears in human form he/she would have some sort of identity and "history."


  1. Dorcas,

    Do I detect a lack on nonresistance in suggesting long fingernails and chortling over revenge in a previous comment?

    Praise God for Amy's protection and helper. God can send humans to do His work too.


  2. Can humans be angels?
    That is wonderful, God does work....

  3. Wonderful! This gave me goosebumps! It also encouraged me to continue trusting because my young daughter is on the beaches of Florida this week, and though she needs other types of precautionary measures besides Arab-proof sunglasses, divine protection is number one!

  4. Hi Dorcas,

    This is Rhonda (Nisly) Slaubaugh, who you may remember from way back when at BOP at Poplar Hill! (My parents are Merle and Rita) I remember your beautiful newborn Matthew the first time we met (I think I was 11?) and then later meeting your sweet little Amy. Your kids were some of the ones that I remember making me want my own someday! Well, I have my own now – 4 in less than 4 years!  (Caitlyn, 5; Aimee and Sierra, 3; and Larissa, 1) We live in Madagascar now and you can check out our website at Be sure to sign the guestbook if you stop in! I have enjoyed your blog so much!

  5. If you have problems with Dorcas's supposed lack of nonresistance, the proper way would be to go to her and tell her privately, not blab it to the whole world.
    Personally, I do not believe that teaching your kids to protect themselves has anything to do with being nonresistant. I have heard young Mennonite guys say that if they saw a woman being raped that they would just stand by and pray, and say it is God's will. Thats a terrible attitude and very wrong! When Jesus saw evil happening, he went and did something about it. We live in an evil world, we cannot sit back and just tolerate it when we see it happening. I'm glad you are teaching her common sense, and how to act in a foreign contry where women are treated as disposable property. I've been praying for her everytime I read news articles from the Middle East. God has been truly with her.

  6. Rhonda--
    What a treat to have you stop by! I remember you and your sisters quite well. Thanks for babysitting them at various BOP/ADAPT functions. Nice to catch up with you again and all the best to you in Madagascar!