"Una respuesta suave aparta manera ira." -Proverbios 15:1

All of the planning I had done was destroyed by eight words, "There is nothing we can do for you." They hurt more coming from the person I hoped had an understanding heart. However, he was right. There was nothing this passport agent could do for me.

I had been standing in line an hour before the passport office opened. There were others that had been there longer. We weren't in the building, but corralled in the garage. Orders were given to allow 40 people in without an appointment. Understandable, considering this was the busy travel season. The office had enough trouble handling the load of those with an appointment. We were only adding to the problem.

The morning started by being instructed by Officer X to stand in the line of people without appointments. I was probably number 120 of about 250. I had my powerbars. I had my movies. I mentally rehearsed my plea. Over and over, I repeated all the resaons why I should be granted entry into the building. And I continued to pray. The agent walked up with his passport officer (and possibly body guard). After listening to and accepting the first 40 urgent stories, his response never changed. People argued, complained and blamed. But the agent moved on and allowed the officer to handle the mob.

Knowing the obvious outcome, I still wanted to plead my case. I tried my best to seperate myself from the mob. As the agent came closer, I became more anxious. When asked, I calmly pleaded my case as rehearsed. I didn't embellish. I told him I was from Texas, my passport had not expired, but it would not allow me to travel. He gave me his routine eight words. I had two or three follow-up questions, but the response remained. As I finished, the mob ensued and I once again backed away. I did not wish to be associated with their complaints because this would not turn his heart.

I called Schylr, Skillman and left messages with James Smith in hopes that someone with power could intervene on my behalf. All my work was torn assunder by those eight words. I was at a loss, but Chuck had previously told me, "Keep the faith." Remembering this, I prayed again. I ate a power bar and began queuing up a movie. I figured, I had nothing better to do with my day but stay in line until the office closed. At this time, the bodyguard came up to me (for protection of the innocent, we will call him 'Officer F')
"Sir, they really are not letting anyone else in without an appointment."
"I understand, but I have someone working on another plan."
"Well, if you would like to come back tomorrow, maybe you will have some luck."
"I am afraid I don't have that option, sir. I am sure something will happen any minute. When it does, I want to be ready."
"Well, you can go across the street to get breakfast or there is a hotel you can cool off in."
"Officer, I appreciate it but, I think I will be fine right here. Thank you, sir."
"We are really trying to clear this area. People will only complain and no one will ever leave."
"Officer, I honestly have no place else to be and no place to go. I promise I will not bother anyone or cause any trouble. I will just keep to myself."
With that, Officer F walked away. After 45 minutes, I was the only one in the garage. I was awaiting a call from Dallas or DC. I hoped for some suit to step off the elevator and say, "I am here to see Mr. Brandon Hepburn."

As I waited, another group started to form. There were 20 of us now. Then a new officer appeared. Suddenly, everyone rose and formed another line. The officer said this was a line to possibly see a supervisor. I got in line and happened to be at the end, again.

I was in line for five minutes when Officer X reappeared. He walked straight to me and said, "You already spoke with the agent this morning. Come with me, sir." A mix of anxiety and excitement came over me. I hoped I hadn't done anything wrong. We stepped onto the elevator. "So you are from out of state?"
"Yes, sir. Texas. I am actually supposed to be on a mission trip in Honduras, but my passport is not valid enough to allow travel." With that we, were off the elevator and at the guarded entrance to the passport office. Another officer cracked the door and said, "Who is this young man?"
"F said he wanted to see him." Suddenly Office F reappeared. As he placed something in my hand and said, "Turn off your cell phone before you go through the metal detector because you can't use it in there. When you get inside go to the line for appointments. Don't say anything because I could get in a lot of trouble for this. Just know, that I am doing this because you actually listened to what was going on. You did not complain and you acknowledged everything you were told respectfully." I looked in my hand at the fittingly pink post-it. On it was written today's date, 8am and an appointment confirmation number. I was puzzled and surprised. I wanted to hug him and bless him a million times. I struggled to keep my composure as I walked through the line.

Nothing but the grace of God could have caused Officer F to act on my behalf. I thank God for him. For allowing him to see that I was here on God's business and I was very serious about it. God's authority is far more potent than that of man. He has agents in places everywhere. Only He can make the impossible come to fruition. I am greatful for those that helped me keep the faith.

After going through the application line, I sat in the pool of people. Soon, a lady and her daughter sat in front of me.
"I saw you outside. I thought you weren't going to make it in.", she said.
"I felt the same way. By the grace of God, an appointment materialized."
"Hmm. For a minute, I looked over and thought, 'Is he praying?"
"Oh, I was. It looks like he came through. I just had to wait."

"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." -Matthew 19:26


aisha said...

wow, what an experience! hope everything works out...

Jada's Thoughts said...

Nephew.......this is great