We have begun the final week before the students of LXP 2011 arrive, and already we have received calls and text messages from most of our international students requesting prayer intervention for the process of obtaining the necessary entry visas that will enable their stay in South Africa. The journey of making your way to a training program in another country is not at all for the faint-hearted; for most of the students the test of true leadership begins just with their preparations to come to South Africa.
There are so many financial and logistical challenges to surmount right within their home countries, not to mention the numerous other internal and external obstacles many of them must overcome. This reality tests the students’ resolve and determination, planning and execution abilities. In light of this, many LXP candidates—despite their strong desire to join LXP—have often fallen out along the way of preparation. This year alone, four potential students have been victim, withdrawing from their pursuit of LXP due to one or more challenges that have felt too big for them.
Most of the participants who join LXP come from very humble circumstances and so it is often difficult to acquire the financial resources necessary just to get to South Africa (not to mention the resources necessary to pay their tuition fees once here). Their preparation expenses include passport and visa acquisition—which requires many costly pre-requites such as a medical check-up, a police clearance, certain immunisations, and the ability to produce a return ticket from South Africa or the equivalent amount of money which will be held by the Embassy until their return home. To follow through with each of these things, the candidates must find a way to pay the public transportation fees to get from place to place.
For those in very rural settings, they often have to travel hours to their country’s capital city, where their success or lack of it at the South African Embassy may mean staying several days in the city or even making another trip entirely depending upon the feedback they receive in the visa application process. To find a way to source these funds and then even think of acquiring their tuition fees can be quite an overwhelming mountain to climb if a candidate is not strongly determined and able to creatively make a plan when the situation simply looks too hard.
Understanding the above, we know the candidates have come a long way when they reach the point of actually submitting everything necessary for their visa applications. It tells us a lot about their process of preparation thus far and gives us great reason to thank the Father for His grace, strength and provision that has brought them to this point. Now we need to pray them through the actual visa acquisition process.
Just because they have succeeded in doing everything necessary to get to this point, it is not guaranteed that they will find favour with the immigration authorities at the Embassy. And so we are asking for people to join us right now in further prayer intervention. I am so glad to share that all of our current candidates are in the actual visa application submission stage as we speak. Will you please join us in praying for the following visa-related requests:
• Our 2 candidates from Ghana were not allowed to even enter the South African Embassy the day they initially tried because of the huge numbers of other people seeking to obtain South African visas. Please pray they will not only be allowed in on their next attempt, but that they will be served well and find favour with the official(s) they will see.
• 4 Zambians have submitted their applications and are waiting for feedback this week. Pray the response is in their favour.
• 2 potential students from Swaziland, 2 from Nigeria, and 1 from Tanzania are also in the application and waiting process. Please intercede for them and keep them in your prayers.
In addition to praying for the visa-related needs of the students mentioned above, please pray for the final travel preparations for the 2 young ladies coming from Zimbabwe, along with the tuition fees that must still come through for all of the students, including for our 5 potential students coming right from within South Africa. It is often at this “final hour,” so to speak, that we have candidates who fall away. Pray that the Lord will hand-pick and make the path straight for exactly the team of young people He has chosen for this year’s LXP program. We are excited for what is in store as we watch Him transform the lives of another year’s group of LXP participants!
Thank you so much for being a part of this journey with us. We look forward to updating you as we receive answers to prayer!