It was time for our visa renewal but we knew if we crossed the border, we might not be able to come back.
We had been in Poipet, Cambodia for almost a month on an entry visa but we wanted to stay for another month of ministry. Getting another entry visa is normally easy. You can cross the border into Thailand, then come back and get a new one. However, the Thai officials were becoming annoyed at people doing this, and if you did it too much, they could ban you from entry.
My co-leader Christine and I both prayed about whether to cross the border or not. We both had peace about going and felt we should do it. We felt God saying there would be no complications.
We got the team together and crossed over into Thailand in the morning. Our plan was to enjoy a day off after a busy week, then come back in the evening. Things were going according to plan when, all of a sudden, we realized we didn’t have our pictures! Passport sized pictures were required for the entry visa into Cambodia – without them, we could easily be denied.
We tried to find a place to print pictures but could find nothing. Christine had a sense we should continue with our day as planned and not worry. So we did. And we enjoyed our day off together as a team.
Later, as we headed back to the border, we knew it would be up to the border guards whether we could get back in without the pictures that were normally required. The guards almost always expect to be paid more than just the basic fee for crossing. So as our taxi took us through the bustling Thai streets toward the border, we prayed and asked God for wisdom to know what to do. I felt like God said we would pay the normal thirty dollar fee and no more.
When we got to the border, we filled out our paperwork. One of the officers came in and said, “Are you guys with YWAM?” We said yes, we were, and asked him if he knew Uriah, the YWAM base leader in Poipet. “Oh yeah, yeah we know Uriah!” He said.
Then the moment came to confront our fears. We told him that we actually did not have the pictures we needed to cross the border. He looked at us, then said, “Hold on one second” and disappeared into the back. When he returned, he said, “I talked to them and you don’t have to pay for that. Just pay the thirty dollars and you’re fine to go.”
They stamped our passports with new entry visas and, just like that, we were free to leave. As we walked out the door and into Cambodia, once again we were amazed, saying to each other, “What just happened?”
When we arrived back at the base, Uriah told us that he had been to the border earlier that day, and reprimanded the guards for expecting extra money from people at the border. When we showed up, YWAM, Uriah, and his words to them were fresh in their minds.
God’s words to us guided us faithfully and we crossed the border with no complications or extra fees!
DTS Cambodia Outreach Co-Leader
YWAM Ships Kona