Thank you so much for all of your prayers for our family. We are so thankful for all of you who are praying for us. This is far from an emergency but we want to give you an update on an ongoing prayer request. The container that we shipped which has our car, a bed, a crib for Samantha (she has been sleeping in a suitcase), diapers, and all of our winter clothes in it has arrived in Albania. That’s the good news.
We are having a few problems though. First, it arrived in the port city of Durres weighing 3,000 less pounds than when it left America according to the shipping documents. Which means either (a) stuff is missing or (b) there is an error in the shipping documents or (3) the port authority mis-weighed our stuff. As of right now, we think there was just an error in the shipping documents. According to our contacts on the American side, the weight isn’t usually important and so it is often rushed through. If it is the documents, that leads to our next problem:
Problem number 2: the Albanian port authority is already threatening to charge us between $500 – $2,000 if the documents changed from the ones originally given to us. But that is only part of it because:
Problem number 3: the customs agent in Tirana is going to fine us or worse when we show up with 3,000 lbs less than what the documents said we shipped. This is also only part of the problem we face with the customs agent in Tirana because:
Problem number 4: we just found out yesterday that we will have to pay a customs charge on all of our belongings if we don’t go get certain documents. This is a big bummer. The customs charges in Albania are very high. If we don’t have what they want then they will charge us for all of our clothes, bed, etc. as if they are brand new and we are selling them in a store. As of right now, we don’t even know if we are capable of getting all the documents if we had all the time in the world. Which leads to the last problem:
Problem number 5: if we don’t have everything done in the upcoming week, the port authority will start charging us hefty fines every day for “storing” our stuff.
If you are following along, that is three potentially rather large fines that we face. If we had 10 or 15 thousand dollars to throw around, all of these problems would magically go away, but for now we are trying to navigate all of this without paying all of the “fines.” Welcome to Albania. None of this was “our fault” or in our hands, but in Albania there seems to always be “problems” until you pay the expected bribes and then they go away. This has been a lot of work and fairly frustrating so far.
Please pray that we would be able to get our car and especially the winter stuff without paying the large fees. Please pray that we would be able to get our things soon. Please pray that we would have Christ honoring attitudes as we work our way through this. Please pray that we would be able to get wise help through the rest of this process (the shipping company in Albania that we paid is about as helpful as a bottle of sand in the desert).
Thank you so much for your prayers. We love you all. Blessings!