Triple Citizenship?

This past weekend Mary and I were able to travel to Florence, Alabama and visit with the Florence Blvd Church of Christ. We met with their missions committee and I taught the high school/college age class. We had a wonderful weekend! Florence Blvd is home to our great aunt Judy and Uncle Quention Hogan, as well as the family of my second cousin Steve Hogan. We loved spending time with our relatives and learning about our roots.

I learned that Florence Blvd. supported my Grandfather and father in New Zealand and are continuing the work there. I explained to the missions committee that I was grateful for this involvement, because otherwise I would not have been meeting with them for two reasons: One, I would not have been born because my father met my mother in New Zealand. Two, that I would not have dual citizenship. This second point might seem obscure to mention. Of course, all of us in the Lord’s Church are dual citizens (Phil 1:27), so I must clarify – I have triple citizenship.

When I lived in Scotland in 2005 (a preacher intern for Cumbernauld church of Christ) I was invited to return, as some of our readers may be aware. At that time, it was not difficult to enter the mission field as an American citizen. Many missionaries to the UK would travel there on a visitor’s visa and leave the country every 6 months to renew said visa. A law has been passed recently prohibiting Americans from entering the mission field of Scotland with a visitor’s visa. As of right now, a business visa is not readily granted to most Americans. Unless one can prove that he or she is not taking a job from a Scot the business visa will not be permitted. This makes it almost impossible for an American missionary to come and help a struggling work.

This is where my triple citizenship is so vital. Being a citizen of the commonwealth of Britain, I have certain privileges to live in any commonwealth country. Scotland, however, is different. I must be a citizen of Great Britain or related to a citizen of Great Britain in order to reside there (on our survey trip a Canadian was deported from Scotland). My Grandfather (my mother’s father) was born in Kent, England. This allows me to acquire an Ancestry Visa, which is the equivalent of a 5 year work visa! Mary and I are awaiting the final document (an invitation from East Kilbride for the Consulate). Mary will be covered under this visa as well.

God has blessed us with these three citizenships. We are trying to make use of every blessing He has provided for us. Since we are able to go to the country of Scotland with a 5 year invitation, we feel the need – or better yet, the obligation – to go and share the Gospel message there! Paul said it best to the Corinthian brethren:

“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For NECESSITY IS LAID UPON ME. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel (1 Cor. 9:16)!”

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~ by harphouse on January 26, 2010.

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