This afternoon we had a Zoom meeting with the owner of a language school in Medan. This school was utilized by the Woods when they deployed to Medan a couple of years ago and comes well-recommended.
The owner outlined the process we’ll go through to be admitted to Indonesia on a short-term basis. Visitor visas are the only new visas being granted right now, and are good for 60 days. The school applies for the visitor visas on our behalf – we can’t just show up at the airport in Jakarta and ask for one! His staff will walk us through the process in terms of the paperwork they need from us. Once they have all the necessary documentation from us it should take about two weeks for processing before our visitor visas are granted.
Indonesia is allowing visitor visas to vaccinated visitors but still requires (at least right now) a 3-day quarantine in Jakarta, the capitol city on the island of Java to the south and east of Sumatra and Medan. While Medan hopes to be given permission by the Indonesian government to have people quarantine there, right now everyone must quarantine in Jakarta. Once we’ve completed our quarantine and tested negative for Covid we’ll be allowed to fly to Medan.
There, the school will assist us in locating suitable housing, and they offer a nine-month course of study divided into six units that should lead us to effective fluency in Bahasa Indonesia. We’re really excited that this looks like it’s actually going to happen! Once we’ve arrived and started classes, the school will assist us in applying for student visas. Student visas are good for up to a year, which would provide greater stability than trying to renew our visitor visas (which might require leaving and re-entering the country, something not exactly simple these days!).
Since we’re doing all of this a bit differently than the Woods initially did, we’re also logging all the details and steps of the process so Office of International Mission knows the current process for entering Indonesia in case any other workers are assigned there. Although we still hope to live in Medan long-term, we know Covid has definitely altered the world in many ways we can’t assess fully yet. Starting out as visitors and then students is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about this beautiful country we hope to call home for years to come!
Thank you for your prayers, and please continue to pray the Holy Spirit’s guidance and protection over this process. There are concerns there might be a spike in Covid cases in the next few weeks because of the holidays and people traveling home. Please pray this is not the case and we’re able to plan for arrival in early January!