US visa interview preps

We are in Kinshasa for the next week or two to help the 8 CEUM delegates with their interviews for US visas next week.  The first round of visa interviews is next Tuesday, April 27.  We will go to the Embassy with the delegation and introduce them to the interviewer.  Then they will each be interviewed for 3 minutes during which they need to present themselves as credible candidates to visit the US and state clearly that they will return to Congo at the end of their visit.

Keith Gustafson visited the US Consul last week and received very good advice about how to conduct yourself during the interview and the kind of questions they may be asked.  We have gone over the questions and the kind of answers the interviewer will expect.  Over the next several days the delegates will rehearse their answers so that they can respond clearly, succinctly and demonstrate that they did not just memorize something, but actually know something about where they will be going in the US and what they will do there.

Of those who are going, four are leaders in different ministry and community development programs.  These folks will have a couple months of intensive English plus management training.  They will also attend the Community Health Evangelism training in mid-June.  The other five invited to the US are President Sanguma, his wife Sabuli and 3 year old son Precious, the VP of the church, Rev. Elenga Liwawa, and the head of women’s ministries, Rev. Lily Yakote.  The leaders will attend the Covenant Annual Meeting in St. Paul in June.  Lily will stay on and attend the Women Ministries Triennial in later July.

One area in which we’ve been able to help our colleagues get ready to visit the US is preparing them for international & US airport security, which is markedly different than what we had flying down from Gemena this past week.  There was no screening of any kind of anything that went on the plane.  We have set aside extra quart ziplock bags for each person.  And, we plan to introduce them to some of what to expect in American culture.  That is always shocking the first time for visitors.   Some examples:  dress for women and girls; informal dress for men, especially pastors; the informal way we address each other; abundance of sugary food; Americans preoccupation with their pets and more.

Though it’s a little exaggerated, this comic gives an idea of the stark difference between airport security from place to place:

Two different security systems

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