In this letter I want to begin by thanking all who have prayed for our citizenship. We entered Ireland knowing that laws had changed and that we would be limited, by law, to staying in the country for up to three years, but that a fourth year could be granted as an “exceptional measure.” When this policy first began, some missionaries were thrust out of the country at short notice, which created a stir and fear among those who have worked here for years without problems. It prompted veteran missionaries to quickly apply for citizenship, since they easily fulfilled the government’s five-year requirement. A college teacher, Bro. Doug Kalaap, once pointed out to me, “Go forward for God. If He doesn’t want you somewhere, He’s big enough to stop you.” So we moved here completely by faith.
As each year passed, we faced our yearly meeting at the Garda (police) Station with immigration. These meetings have never been without trepidation, because one word could send us packing back to the States. As the first three years passed, new immigration laws were passed. They made it so that those who entered the country after 2011 were allowed to petition for another year by submitting information directly to the Dublin office on a yearly basis. They would there make the final judgment, and send a letter of approval or rejection. Finally the day came when we were approved for our fifth year! When I read the law, it stated that you have to be in the country for five, 365-day periods, with no gaps in your immigration stamps. This meant that to complete the five-year requirement, we had to be approved for a sixth year. It was a bit discouraging, but God had let us minister in Ireland thus far…
The sixth year we mailed our paperwork in as scheduled, but the deadline to have our passports stamped came and went—with no response. We went to the Garda and were able to get a three-month tourist stamp on our passports so that we could still be legal. Finally, a month late, our permission letter arrived; we were approved for a sixth year. I then began collecting the items needed to apply for citizenship. This included photocopies of every page of our passports, bank statements for three months for all accounts, etc., much of it needing notarization. By July I had finally finished; all was complete, so we mailed it in. We then received a letter—stating only that it was received and could take six months or more for us to receive an answer. The waiting began. I daily watched for a brown envelope with an Irish harp to come through the mail slot. Would we be allowed to stay?
I am writing now to let you know that we both received letters at the beginning of November. The letters were approval from the Irish government to become citizens; we can now have dual citizenship! All that needs to be done is that we each must send them 950 euro, our immigration cards, passport photos, and U.S. passports. Then we will be given a date for our swearing-in ceremony. This is a tremendous answer to prayer and verification that we are in God’s will. We may now live permanently in Ireland as we continue to serve the Lord. Thank you for your prayers and faithful support. Praise God for answered prayer!
Over these last two months, our theme “Understanding God” has brought out new visitors. One older Irish couple arrived about 10 minutes late as I preached on “Understanding the Grace of God.” I preached what the Bible teaches that we, as sinners, have offended God, but He has grace, which is gift purchased by Jesus Christ on the cross. They left quickly but got to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel. Please pray that conviction might draw them to Christ so that they would be saved.
Kendrick had his third birthday at the end of September. We then had visitors from the U.S., and at the end of October, we headed down to Cork for “Light the Night,” a family activity they hold every year on October 31. It is always a joyous time. In the next coming months, we will conclude our “Understanding God” theme and begin “The Miracle of Christmas” in December. Please pray that we have visitors—people who are hungry to know the Word of God and who will be faithful.
Please continue praying for these needs:
1. Our support level has maintained at 90% of what we need; please pray it might increase.
2. We need €1900 (US$2400) for our citizenship to be completed.
3. Furlough plane tickets
Also, I want to thank all of the individuals and churches who faithfully pray for us, those who faithfully support us, and those who sent packages and letters.
Battling for Irish souls,
Keith W. Hamilton