by Bro. Gani Urriza
Last August 15 to 28, 2007, I went to Beijing, China and attended the “Workshop on Farmland Development and Management”. The workshop was a success and I learned a lot worth sharing to my colleagues at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM). However, what I am going to share here are not the technical aspect of the workshop but the way God helped me and provided me His mighty hand of assistance.
I had been to several ASEAN countries, part of my work as an Agriculturist/Environmentalist at the BSWM. As a Technical Person, I have the chance to visit other ASEAN countries to attend workshop, trainings, present technical papers among others. I have visited Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hongkong, Singapore, and Japan. I also have the chance to visit Iran and Australia. In all these travels, one thing that best describe my travel on these different countries is “enough preparation”.
In all my travel abroad, I would say, I have enough time to prepare. When I say prepare, I mean to prepare my technical country presentations and most important, to secure the necessary travel documents (Records of Service, Certificate of No Pending Administrative Case, Travel Authority, Revalidation of passport, VISA and Travel Tax Exemption). Preparation of all these thing would normally require two weeks or more; taking into consideration the time needed in the preparation of Country Paper.
Every time I present a country paper, I see to it that everything is well prepared and emphasis are given on key points highlighting the beauty of the Philippines. I always believe that every Filipino people given the chance to showcase the Philippines should always take the opportunity to be proud of our country. So with all these consideration, I would say that a week preparation is necessary, especially when you deal with the technical aspect of the report.
Going back to my experience in Beijing, China, I received the invitation through our Legal Officer to attend the workshop on September 8, 2007. The workshop will start on September 15; that means I only have about six days to prepare everything. Six days is very short, but that is not the only problem. When I looked at the invitation, the deadline of submission of the participants is September 7. That means, I’m one-day late of the deadline. Another thing September 8 is Wednesday, that means, I have another two days which are holiday which means I cannot process my documents, mathematically, I have only about four days to process my papers (travel authority, passport and everything).
Given the condition, I started the preparation. First, after I was informed, we sent my nomination. Then, I prepared a draft of my travel authority and the necessary attachments. Time is very short. That night me and my wife (Glo) prayed a lot. We prayed that God bless me (indeed) and that God provide me His hand of order and that God take charge of everything. Based from my previous experiences, the travel seems to be impossible because for one, I am one day late of the submission of entry. Second, the very short time to process the documents.
God is so good, the next day (Friday), I received a confirmation to my attendance to the workshop and tickets (back and forth) going to Beijing, China. I am so blessed, I know God is working. I went to the office of our Director to request him to sign my Travel Authority, another surprise, our Director is in General Santos attending official matters. The next day is Saturday, I have to process my papers on Monday. In my mind, the thought that I cannot go to China keeps haunting my mind, but I know, being an Elder in the Church, I really know God that God is working in His own mysterious way.
That Friday night, together with my brother and Sisters-in-Christ during our Prayer meeting, we prayed to the Almighty Lord, we asked Him to bless me and to provide me His hand that I can go to China. When me and my wife went home, I’m sure God will make a way. I trusted in His words that “If we asked Him, He will answer; If we seek, we can find”. That night, I slept soundly trusting the Lord that He will do the impossible. Sunday, during the Sunday worship, my family again prayed for it. I know God has all the authority to do it for me.
Monday morning, our director is in the office, he signed my documents. I brought the document to our mother Agency (Department of Agriculture) for the other necessary signatures. Then, one more hitch, when the time for the Under Secretary to sign it, he has on-going executive meeting. The meeting will last for a half day. Temporarily, it stopped my processing. Middle of the day, during lunch break, my papers were signed, I went to the office of the Secretary for his signature but… again the Chief of Staff was not around to counter sign my paper. From the information I received, the Chief of Staff will come back Tuesday morning. That moment, I almost give up. imagine after the Secretary has signed it, I have to bring my paper to the Department of Foreign Affairs for revalidation of the passport, it will take two days, then the VISA, then tax exemption. I phone my wife and told her that may be God closes the door for me going to China for He is preparing something great for me. For the nth time, my wife told me “Let’s Pray”.
Then at about 2:00 pm, our office phone rang. On the other side of the telephone line, I over heared the voice “Is this Dr. Urriza?” and I said “Yes”. “Your Travel authority was signed”. I went to the DA an get my documents, went straight to the DFA and submitted the documents. Then, I saw the noticed, processing of passport re-validation is two days. That means, I can only get my passport by the time I need to leave. Again, I asked God to intervene in the process. I approached the man in-charge in the revalidation, I requested if it can be done just for night and he said “Yes”. God is working really in a very mysterious way, in His own pace, in His own way. God is providing me his hand.
That night, we plan my movement for Tuesday. I still know that VISA is still a problem, from the information, in a normal process, it will be three days (with fee of 1500.00), to fast tract it (two days), you need 2500.00. The payment is not really a problem, I’m confident (throgh the years, God always provided us our needs). What hunts me is the two days time needed to process the VISA, I really need to re-book my travel tickets. Before sleeping, my family again went to pray.
Tuesday is judgment day (so to speak for my travel), after lunch, I went to DFA and got my passport. Alleluia, the Lord is good. I learned that for travels to China less than a month, I don’t need VISA. I got my tax exemption. That night, the family celebrated by praying. Once again, we confirmed that the prayer of Jabes (I Chro. 4: 9-11) is working. “God blessed us (indeed), God blessed us; enlarge our territory; Provided us His mighty hand; keep us away from any form of evil; and that we will not cause and experience any pain”.
Ending note… God granted the prayer of Jabes and also our prayer.
For more info and counseling, Please feel free to contact:
Ptr. Doods Agravante
GUMAOC CHURCH OF CHRIST,
Bgy. East Gumaoc,SJDM City, Bulacan
Bro. Gani Urriza
CellPhone No. 09195265848