The next morning I got a call from one of my references at 10:30am to tell me that they have just been referenced checked. Then I got another message shortly after from another reference saying they have been contacted. So by noon all of my references had been contacted.
I finally got a call from Brent at 4:30pm and he was making small talk. LOL! In my head I’m thinking… HURRY UP!!! Then he proceeds to thank me for coming in blah, blah, blah. Then he starts talking about how I scored during the interview etc. It went something like this:
Brent: So I want to talk to you about your interview with us yesterday
Brent: Again, thank you for taking the time to come in and meet the team…
Me: It was my pleasure.
Brent: As I mentioned we narrowed it down to you and another candidate and the reason we asked you to complete the EI test is that you both scored so closely in your answers.
Brent: You did phenomenal on the test!
Me: Thank you!
Brent: Also, given your visa situation we knew ahead of time that if we did decided to go ahead with offering you this position that there would be a cost to us not only to pay the visa fees but also pay a fee to the recruitment agency.
Me: Yes, my understanding (from the interview) was that it was a possibility.
Brent: Yes, that case had to be presented to the board and they would sign off on it. Obviously we are a small non-profit and those costs aren’t small ones…
Me: In my head (yup, I’m not getting the job)
Brent: So I hope you understand that our decision was thought over very carefully…
Me: In my head (so what country should I move to next… clearly this one isn’t going to end in my favour)
Brent: and when I presented the case to the board they told me they trust my judgment to place the best person in the role.
Me: Of course.
Brent: So that being said, I would like to formally offer you the position with us here at Living Positive Victoria with full sponsorship.
Seriously. LOL! Needless to say I had to sit down after he said that. What does this all mean? In short, I’m staying in the country, legally. LOL! They are paying a lot of money do all the paperwork and keep me for the next 2 years. It feels so surreal. The thing that Brent kept saying is that I was the right person for the role. That goes beyond having a certain skill set which is humbling to hear. I know the competition was stiff. He made that clear too! Haha! Although I had some moments of doubt along the way, I knew, I knew, I knew that this was my job back in December.
I’m looking back over the past few months and I’m just floored how God pulled this all together. I have been unemployed for more than six months barely made it into the country again back in December and have ALWAYS had a place to live and food to eat. I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world and without any money of my own my needs have always been met. I think people sometimes think that I was living off of money I had in Canada or something. I’m not exaggerating when I say I had NO money. None. Not a dime to my name. In the midst of all of that I had people tell me (even people who I am close with) that I should just come home, that clearly things aren’t working out so staying is pointless. It’s so easy to get caught up in what people are saying and the enemy will use anyone (even well-meaning people) to get you distracted.
I’m reminded of the story of Peter walking on the water (Matthew 14:25-32)
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
Peter took is focus of Christ and that was it. He started to sink. As a Christian, I don’t base my decisions purely on my circumstances but from what I hear God telling me and he speaks to me in different ways. I could very easily have come home back in September when my first visa ran out, in November when things were getting really tough or I could have been sent back home by immigration in December. We have a choice to listen and keep our focus on Christ or get distracted by people and circumstances and end up doing ourselves more harm. Sometimes I still feel a bit silly when I doubted what God what doing but I’m learning to be gentle with myself as I’m learning more and more about God’s nature.
So what’s my experience in this sector… well I have none. LOL! No background in HIV or the health sector or working with such a diverse group of people (men, women, families, gay, lesbian, transgender) because HIV sure doesn’t discriminate. Other issues that are commonly tied to HIV include drug use, mental health issues, different sexually transmitted diseases and policy and laws regarding HIV. This is all on my radar now and I LOVE how God takes the least qualified (which is how I feel most of the time) and sets the situation up for his glory. I think I’m catching on and learning at a good pace but it’s a lot of new information. It’s amazing because my heart is so rooted in this organisation after such a short time. Hearing people’s stories about living with HIV and how that has impacted every aspect of their life and to see people now thriving in the midst of that is pretty amazing. I want to continue to advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves and I’m privileged to be an ally in this sector.
The last eight weeks have been organizing paperwork. The organisation had to fist be set up to be able to sponsor an employee and then I had to submit all my paperwork. That was really tedious because I had to get documentation from past jobs back in Canada and an 18 hour time difference madd it challenging. My paper work finally submitted to immigration on March 17 (two days before my visa expired… CRAZY!) so now I’m on a bridging visa which gives me the same rights I had on my previous visa which means I still don’t have working rights and I’ll have to wait another four to eight weeks to get the final approval. It has now been eight months since I’ve had an income and I’m still here… seriously, praise God!
Until then I’m casually volunteering to keep myself busy and not walk into a war zone when I finally start. My role is (pending approval on paperwork from immigration) Senior Officer – Communications, Media and Promotion at Living Positive Victoria. 😀 😀 😀
It’s a bit overwhelming at times. I’d be lying if I said otherwise however, God placed me here. He did it. I cannot even take credit for what has transpired. I know being here is bigger than just going in and doing my job. That excites me even more 🙂 I can’t wait for the stories that come out of working here!