Editor’s Note: Janee Angel serves as a CBF field personnel in Beligum, ministering to the international community alongside her husband, Hary. This piece was originally published on her blog, seasonedwithspice.wordpress.com
By Janee Angel
The last time I was on U.S. soil was around 5 years ago.
When our daughter, Phoebe, was 5 months old, I was able to get a travel visa for Hary to come with us and meet the rest of my family in the States. I loved having him “home” with me.
About a year later, Phoebe and I traveled back by ourselves for a visit because Hary’s travel visa ran out. We decided not to apply for a new one and wait until he got his Belgian nationality. It costs several hundred Euro for a visa (even if they don’t give you one) and Belgians and Americans have a deal where they can travel to each other’s countries for 90 days without a visa.
When Hary got his Belgian nationality last year, we were so happy. We immediately started making plans to travel to the States again and visit churches together. Then we went to the U.S. Embassy to register our youngest daughter, Maria-Grace, there. We decided to double check that Hary can travel to the States on his Belgian passport.
Just months before we were at the embassy, the U.S. had already passed a law that anyone born in the Middle East had to have a visa to travel to America even if they now hold a European passport. They said it shouldn’t be too hard for him to get since he doesn’t have a name like “Mohammed” that could easily be on our terrorist watch list.
They assured us that once he passed the screening that his tourist visa would be valid for 10 years. Again, all this would come at a cost.
Before the election we debated getting this done…understanding that difficult times for us would come if Donald Trump was elected. But other crises in Hary’s family took precedence and we didn’t get the visa. It was also an issue that Hary would need to take a day off work without pay just to get to the embassy appointment.
So this summer, we wanted to make the journey back to the States to visit churches…new and old…and talk to people about our work here in Belgium, but decisions made by the new administration have made that “family” journey impossible for us.
My Jesus loving – evangelist – husband won’t be allowed to come with us because he was born in Syria. He’s not an Arab…he’s Assyrian. He’s not a Muslim….he’s Christian. But because of his birthplace, his privilege to travel with his wife and two daughters is taken away.
The girls and I still want to make the trip. We want to come because we need to make contact with churches. We need to share the story. We have no idea what churches would even want us to visit but with those who do, we will get creative. Hary might not be able to come, but we’ll Skype him in or bring videos with us. We will carry him and his heart for this work wherever we go.
Having freedom might come with risks, but the general stripping away of freedom will always leave the innocent injured.
In our case, our family will be separated for a period of time. Hary may never be allowed to go back to see America.