My passport fills up pretty fast. In fact, I ran out of room in the last one I had. Obtaining extra pages that would last until my passport expired entailed a trip to the American Embassy in Germany.
The stamps in my passport are reminders of where my husband and I have been to serve as missionaries throughout the globe. I am not aware of any stamp in my passports in the last ten years that had to do with vacation. The passport gives me entry into the country. It is usually stamped by the officials and then we are off to complete the assignment God has given us.
Since we are missionaries, our stay in each country gives us a fairly good view of what is going on. We seldom stay in a hotel. We stay where the people live, so we see all sorts of behavior, hear all kinds of sounds and learn to get around the way the locals do. We eat the same food they eat, ride the public transportation just like they do, spend the local currency. In many of the transactions we make, we must show our passport.
For various reasons, the officials may not stamp my passport upon entry and exit. Even when it is not stamped, though, it is absolutely essential that I have it with me at all times. Sometimes a religious visa is just as important. It must be protected as well.
Security in international travel has become a very high priority. Passports are issued for the protection of the individual as well as the security of the country to which they are traveling. I am sometimes questioned about the other stamps in my passport. Officials want to know why I travel so often.
I carry my passport with me at all times. I know that if something were to happen to me, it would link me to my family and my country. Without it, police or emergency personnel would have a difficult time providing aid for me or getting me home if I were to die abroad.
My passport has my picture, my name and my signature in it; however, I cannot issue a passport for myself. The U.S. Department of State does that. They issue all American passports and without their approval, my passport would not be valid. It would be a fake.
Occasionally, entering another country can be a little nerve-racking. I know of missionary friends who have been denied entry on a technicality even when they have their passports and visas. I am always more comfortable with the countries that allow both my husband and me to enter together. He then shows them both passports and we are good to go.
I treasure my passport and protect it because of what it represents: the ability to do what I need to do and then get back home again. I love our mission work and long to see my international brothers and sisters, but I am always ready to go home.
My deepest longing is not for my earthly home, but my heavenly one. There is a sense in which I feel like a foreigner on earth, for I know that my true home is in Heaven with Jesus. When my work on earth is done, I am going home. My entrance is assured. In a way, because Jesus is my Savior, He has already put His stamp on my passport.
I don’t have to be concerned about losing any documentation to enter the gates of heaven. I can’t lose what I don’t need. I cannot enter Heaven on my own. Jesus has already gone ahead of me and secured a place for me there. He is with me now, He has my entry day planned and He will walk me through. I will not go through the gates of heaven alone. Just as my husband can walk me through the entry ports of a country, Jesus, the Bridegroom, will be there for His bride.
“I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, you may be also…” (John 14:2-3). For our citizenship is in heaven, for which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20).