Mine is a very long story with a happy ending. Let me start by thanking God for always being faithful even when I was not. I want to share my story and hopefully it will help someone who is in a tough situation.
I came to USA from Kenya in 2007. Before then I was very scared to come here. I went to an Australian campus in Malaysia for my first year of college since I was not sure I could handle being in USA. Later when I left for my holiday, my parents convinced to pursue studies in USA or Australia.
I started the application process and told God the first response will be His will for me. I got accepted to MC, I took the I20 to embassy for visa application. I told God unless He is coming with me to the USA, I do not want a visa. Getting a US visa is a tough process for many with numerous attempts but for me at my first attempt I got the visa. Glory to God, I knew no matter what I face in a foreign country, in the city of New York where I knew no one, He will always be by side. That’s all I needed.
My journey started on August 25, 2007. I was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. It was tough but I witnessed His faithfulness throughout. I will fast forward to where I received my master’s degree and got an internship with an appliance company. At the time I had a work visa that allowed me to work. The first one was for 1 year and then I had to extend it for another 18 months.
Thank God for my wonderful employer who took it upon himself to make sure I stayed legal. He had to enroll in a program with DoL and file a lot of paperwork just keep me legal! The HR personnel had to undergo training and train annually thereafter… all to keep me legal! I thank God for the wonderful people He put in my life. I had angels to guide me along the way.
My 18 months were to expire on July 2014, and I only had three choices to remain legal:
- go back to school
- get married
- file for H1B Visa with my employer
Option 1 was very depressing since I owed so much in student loans, and I really did not want to go back to school.
The second option was even more depressing since I had to fake a marriage to remain legal and I was so resentful to the system for making things so hard. The third option was not really an option because it will involve lawyers, huge expenses, it was not guaranteed, and I needed my employer on board. He had so much for me and I didn’t want to ask for more assistance. I felt stuck and I finally decided I had to get off my high horse and do what most people do… get married.
So, the question was, to whom?? It had to be someone I can trust and who will not take advantage of me and not make ungodly demands…tough characteristics especially because people lie all the time! I finally narrowed down to my best friend‘s boyfriend. We moved in together (the 3 of us) and started the whole process.
This was in January 2014. I only had a couple of months left. (I will call my prospective husband Dave) Things were moving smoothly until Dave told me after we had gone to the registrar that he has a medical condition, and he has to take medication daily. His doctor said he may lose his coverage if he marries and that meant I had to pay approximately USD 2,000 monthly for the next 5-6 years. In addition to that I was paying him since it’s a business marriage.
Dave was also on welfare, and he was afraid marrying he would lose his income. Oh, and Dave was unemployed at the time. This made things really hard. I was not sure I could be able to handle the expenses. I felt stuck and had to start looking for another prospective husband. Technically, I could not go to the registrar with a different man in such a short span it would seem suspicious.
Nevertheless, I approached 3 guys asking them to help me out, nothing came out of it…one actually thought I was interested in them, and the other was not comfortable. I did not blame them I was terrified with the entire process, but I felt I had no choice. I had sleepless nights; my dad was jobless at the time.
I am one of five siblings and I had to stick it out for the sake of my family. I had to be strong. My boyfriend was in Kenya so there wasn’t much he could do other than support me though he was also going through so much himself. My time was running out and I was so scared. I felt so helpless.
The H1B visa process through an employer was not guaranteed. Each year, only 82,000 visas are allocated. In 2013, there were 121,000 applicants so they had to do a lottery and I was afraid this will be case. Marriage was at least guaranteed if I found the right person. They both included a lot of expenses.
Money that I didn’t have since I had to send money home to loan monthly payments otherwise, we would lose some properties. I felt stuck, I wondered where God is, why are things so hard. I wondered why He won’t give me a sign that things will get better.
One day, while taking the train to work the Lord spoke to my heart through a song, I had heard time and again: pray by Carrie Underwood. I decided to stop controlling the situation and let God take control. After all, He promised to walk with me every step of the way before I came to this foreign land. I PROMISED GOD IF HE FIGHTS, I WILL MAKE SURE TO TESTIFY TO HIS FAITHFULNESS.
Shortly, my employer called me and told me that He is willing to do whatever it takes to help me stay in the USA. He asked if I had a lawyer and I recommended the lawyer I had consulted for ‘my arranged marriage’. He consulted with some friends, and he found another lawyer and he scheduled an appointment.
The lawyer scheduled a conference call while I was there so that my employer is aware of all the steps involved. After the lawyer visit, it was decided that he will not only help file for H1B visa but he will petition the DOL for a green card…THAT WAS MY FAITHFUL GOD AT WORK. And my employer covered all the expenses!!!!
On April 1st, my application for H1B visa was submitted. In 2014, 181,000 people applied and a lottery was necessary. There is a waiting period but at an additional fee, you can get an expedited response. My employer paid the fee, and we were told that I was selected!!!!! MY GOD IS SO FAITHFUL.
Long story short, God granted me a H1B visa that allows me to work for 6 years. Meanwhile the lawyer is working towards my residency. I am very thankful to God for being there for me. For fighting my battles, He is a faithful God, and it does not matter what you are going through.
Sometimes we focus on how big our problems are and not HOW GREAT AND WONDERFUL OUR MIGHTY GOD IS. We try and control things and do things our way… all we have to do is surrender fully. Let Him be GLORIFIED IN each and every situation. He is a faithful God even when we are not. Stay blessed.