To Palau with No Passport

It all depends on whose authority you have!

The weeks before leaving for a year of mission work can get a little bit chaotic trying to get everything ready, especially if you just worked an entire summer at camp. No matter how prepared you try to be, you will still have things to do right before you leave. The night before her plane left, Ashton Miller enjoyed an evening filled with laughter and joy with her family and friends she had not seen all summer while working at camp. As the evening died down and the guests headed home, Ashton and her mother headed up to her room to begin the process of packing. From 9 p.m. to midnight, they visited while they packed everything Ashton would need for her year as a missionary elementary physical education teacher in Palau. Ashton knew she needed to retrieve her passport from the drawer of her bedside table before she left for her flight. As they packed, she kept mentally reminding herself to grab it. It was her first trip outside of the United States, so traveling with her passport was not the first thing on her mind.

Morning came early at 3 a.m. to catch her plane to Hawaii. Ashton settled back in her seat anxious to get to her training in Hawaii for her next year of adventure. Everything was going smoothly.  Training lasted for five days in Hawaii before the group would head on to Palau through Guam. She knew she had her passport in her backpack, and in only a few more plane rides, she would finally reach her new home in Palau for the next year. Ashton arrived at the airport in Hawaii only to discover that her passport was not in her backpack. She frantically threw open all of her luggage to search for where else she may have placed her passport. No luck. No passport anywhere. A flood of emotions washed over her. She felt scared, worried, and embarrassed. How did she forget her passport? She knew she needed it! Despite feeling completely overwhelmed, Ashton remained composed and calmed on the outside as she discussed a solution to this problem with her principal for the coming year. Ashton notified her parents to mail her passport to Guam as quickly as possible. Since Guam is a U.S. Territory, Ashton was able to fly with her group from Hawaii to Guam using a passport card she carried with her. Ashton and her principal planned on her staying a few extra days in Guam until her passport arrived, then she would fly to Palau to join the rest of the group. When they landed in Guam, they asked at the airport if there was absolutely anyway to get Ashton in to Palau, but there was no way to enter Palau without a passport. Ashton would be staying in Guam until her passport arrived.

The rest of her mission group and principal headed to the airport to fly to Palau. Accepting she would need to miss the first few days in Palau, Ashton decided to do her best to enjoy the situation and explore Guam.  While exploring the mall, Ashton received an urgent phone call from her principal at the airport. She was told to get to a place with Wi-Fi because they found a way to get her in to Palau without a passport. While the rest of the missionaries heading to Palau were waiting to board, Ashton’s principal was upgraded to first class to a seat right next to a man from Palau. They started visiting, and Ashton’s principal told the man about Ashton’s situation. The man told the principal that he could get Ashton in to Palau no problem. He was the president of Palau and offered to write an email giving his consent for her to enter the country. Ashton could not believe it. She got everything together and headed to the airport. She was going to get to join the group right away after all. What a relief!

Arriving in Palau, Ashton approached the immigration counter. The officer asked her for her passport. They looked at her a little baffled and annoyed when she said she did not have her passport, but the officers quickly let her through when she pulled out a letter giving her permission to enter the country with the president’s authority.

We have no right to enter the Kingdom of Heaven on our own merits, but thankfully, we have Jesus whose blood covers us and gives us full permission to enter through the gates. God provides for His children, just as He did for Ashton!


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