By Abdun Nur Ghalib Baten, Imam, Paraguay
I was the first Missionary for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community posted for a long-term stay in Paraguay. My wife and I arrived in November of 2016 with our luggage, little understanding of Spanish, and some documents that we had legalized at the Paraguayan Embassy in Canada, which were needed to apply for permanent residency in Paraguay.
As soon as we arrived, we began the arduous process of applying for residency. There were numerous visits to police stations, hospitals and legal offices – not to mention the immigration office. It took us nearly three months, paired with meticulous efforts to get everything in order so that we could submit our application. After several months, the immigration office told us that my file was on hold because it did not have a birth certificate that they officially recognize. I spoke to the clerks and then to their supervisors to no avail. All of them told us the same thing: ‘it’s impossible to get residency without a birth certificate.’
I wrote a letter to the Director of Immigration, with no success. So, my wife and I went back to the office to meet with the Vice Director. She was a senior lady who listened to my predicament but was not able to give me a solution. She asked me who I worked for, to which I replied, ‘I work for God’. Upon hearing this, she retorted ‘Well, let’s see how powerful your God is.’
We got up and left, and from her response I felt confident that Allah would show her His Power.
In developing countries, it’s customary that the staff will make it difficult to meet a Minister or a Director when you have a problem and need their help. They also expect bribes to be paid in order to get the problem solved or speed up the process.
The secretaries continued to deflect our request to speak with the Director of Immigration. They told me with certainty that the director would reject my application without a valid birth certificate and that there was simply no other way.
Regardless of the seemingly impossible situation, I knew I was there for Allah, so all I could do was to pray to Him and implore Him to open up a way for me. I also wrote many letters requesting prayers to the Worldwide Head and current Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba).
The Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba)
My wife and I decided that we would just go and sit at the immigration office until they gave us a meeting with the director. After a few days of us going and sitting in their waiting room, they finally grew tired of us and scheduled a meeting for us with the Director.
A week later, we arrived and waited a couple of hours, until the Director called us in to ask what our problem was. After hearing our request, he immediately – probably within a minute – called his Vice Director, who turned out to be the same lady who had proven profoundly unhelpful. He told her to override the birth certificate requisite and to make sure we received the residency that very same day.
As we left the office that day, the Vice Director herself told us that she has never seen anyone get the residency so quickly, let alone without the mandatory birth certificate!
She further admitted,
‘You have a very powerful saint helping you.’
Before leaving, I replied, ‘We do not believe in saints, we have One All-Powerful God.’
We received our residency cards without paying a single bribe.
Our God is the One Who makes the seemingly impossible a reality. He helps those who sincerely seek His help. He listens to those who sincerely call upon Him, so call upon Him with heart and soul and see for yourself.