If you’re just joining us, well, where ya been? I’m kidding. But here’s an introduction to this series of posts, where I’ve been sharing about how God has been encouraging us through this monumental transcontinental transition.

So. HH’s folks came to visit for a couple of weeks in late May/early June. We had a wonderful time together, and this visit was even more special because Auntie Lyn came down from Jozi for a few days, too! While Lyn was here we decided to adventure to a little lunchy spot (HH most certainly took photos for you, which I will share next Travellin’ Tues!) for a nice family outing with the Bear and the Tank in tow.

Leaving Doubtful Behind

Along the way, we stopped for diesel and the Hubs scooted to the ATM to draw some cash. Unfortunately, Mr. ATM didn’t want to cooperate. “Account access denied” or some other equally cryptic message was all Mr. ATM had to offer us. Whereas Mr. T would’ve at least said, “I pity the fool.” Alas.

After our lunchy outing we returned home to get to the bottom of the matter. After a conversation or three with my bank back in the States, we could only uncover the explanation that my debit card had been “compromised” and so they’d cancelled the card. It seemed a little odd; we hadn’t used it to purchase anything online recently, and the examples they gave of reasons why this hypothetically could happen brought less and less clarity as to why it did happen.

I need to digress with some backstoryage to bring all this together. Our ministry is made possible, as many of you are aware, by a number of generous partners in different parts of the world, but predominantly in the US. Most of our paycheck gets paid to us in an American bank account, and thanks to a global ATM alliance between a particular group of banks, we withdraw funds as needed to cover our expenses here in South Africa, free of charge.

That lil’ debit card is the pretty important puzzle piece that connects paycheck over ‘dere (as the Bear would say) with groceries over here. And just a few weeks before this compromise we’d noticed that it was going to expire in July — my Mom actually noticed because the new card came in the mail to my permanent address in the US.

We were umming and ahhing about whether to send the new card in the mail — which felt a little risky 1) because it’s a debit card and 2) because sometimes the South African postal service makes us a little nervous and 3) it could get lost and then we wouldn’t have one and who knows how long it would take for them to send another and this is how we get to eat! We were waiting to find out if my brother would be coming to visit in July, because my Mom could send it to him, and then he could bring it along, but we don’t know for sure if he’s going to be able to visit.

Okay, so where were we? Oh yeah. We were on the phone with the bank, trying to explain the predicament we were in with our debit card being “compromised” and then cancelled without warning. They spoke to me as if I’d been out of the States for just a few months and somebody lectured me about the importance of carrying travellers cheques. I decided to just smile and agree.

You’re right! I’m a cotton-headed ninnymuggins.

We followed a rabbit trail of phone calls which included speaking to someone whom I think was speaking English, but the accent was so confusing even I couldn’t understand it. {I’ve spent a lot of time with a lot of non-native speakers of English, so that was kind of surprising.} Eventually a gal with a broad and happy yankee voice was at the other end of the line and I was greeted with such delightfully warm service I was proud to be an American.

She transferred me to a department that could help in such situations but stayed on the line with me while the problem was resolved, and resolved it was. Eventually the travellers cheques guy and the yankee decided to Fed Ex a replacement card to us international priority, and they were able to open up the old card for an hour for the hubs to go out and make a withdrawal before they closed it again. And, they gave us a number to call if we needed the old card temporarily opened again!

The most amazing part was that they didn’t charge us to send the new card to us — and we recently discovered that Fed Exing something international priority is about $100 to $150 worth of priceyness. Our soon-to-expire debit card dilemma was solved, and, once again, I can’t think of a way it could’ve worked out better.

Unless they deposited an extra 500 bucks before sending it.

Or mailed it with a jar of Nutella.

And some Oreos, and a Macbook Air, just as a goodwill gesture.

It was a beautiful reminder that God is intimately acquainted even with the small details of our lives — there is no mountain to high, or too low, to bring to Him.


P.S. Although I haven’t written tomorrow’s post yet, I’m pretty sure the story’s not finished! {True Story. Here’s Part Five.}