Why I Became a U.S. Citizen
By, Maricel Bates
I am from the Philippines, and I came to the U.S. in 2002 to escape economic hardship and physical abuse. I was forced to leave my six children behind. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made, but now, years later, I can see God was preparing the way for all of us to come to this incredible land of freedom.
All along, the Lord had an amazing plan for my life, even when I couldn’t see it. I was lonely when I first arrived here, but God provided many wonderful friends for me. I also met a wonderful American man who loves and serves the Lord with all his heart, and we were able to get married in 2008. I praise and thank God for my future, and for His plans for me.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God prepared every step of the way for me. I have learned and seen the power of prayer and how to rely on Jesus for everything I need. He is the ultimate Provider. He has given me an opportunity to serve at a local homeless shelter and also to teach His Word. I am also honored to be the Prayer Coordinator for Her Life Speaks.
The one thing missing in my life is my children, and my heart longs to have them in the U.S. with me. In 2010, we began the process of petitioning to get them here. The paperwork takes a long time, and although we have waited 12 long years, God has provided at every step; the petitions for my children are starting to move now, so I knew and prayed that it was time for me to become an official U.S. citizen. God is so good!
Where do you see God preparing a way and providing for you?
A Citizenship Journey
By, Liz Lodriguez
I am from the Dominican Republic. It took me ten years to become a U.S. citizen, and although I faced many challenges, they helped me trust Jesus even more.
When I was in my mid-20s, I decided that I wanted to one day become a U.S. citizen. I still remember when I was introduced to my attorney with my “American Mother,” and he said the following words, "First, we will get you a student visa, then workers/religious visa, then a green card, and if you are not married by then to a U.S. citizen, we will help you become a U.S. citizen."
When the attorney was explaining this, I was wondering how I would be able to afford all the fees. Yes, I had my doubts, and I was frustrated because I wanted this process to be fast and easy. But God knew what was going to happen.
Mathew 6:8 says, “For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
My family and my church were my biggest supporters. God knew I would need an army to face this journey, so He provided one for me. When I started the journey toward my citizenship, my first visa, known as a student visa, was denied while visiting my family in the Dominican, which did not allow me to return to the U.S.
I was distraught, feeling hopeless, and almost depressed. But God had the church praying for me, and the second time that I applied for my student visa, I was approved. Through my church, I was able to obtain a religious visa and years later, I met my husband and received a green card through marriage. Yes, I got married! Jesus gave me a husband, and I became a U.S. citizen! Every step of the way, God was there.
Due to my experiences obtaining my citizenship, God has equipped me to help others. Just this year alone, I was able to help 10 individuals become U.S. Citizens! The best part of my story is how Jesus was with me every step of the way.
What journey does the Lord have you on that you are trusting him with each step?
Her Life Speaks is all about Her testimony, Her life, and who God is in Her story. Here we write our stories in hopes of helping other women find their relationship with Jesus Christ.