Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The solution (as it appears now)

Background: They passed the new Russian visa law in October 2007. At first I thought they weren’t going to enforce it, but I started doing research right away to find out how it would affect me. I thought that if I was subjected to the 90-day rule under my charity visa, then I would go for a work visa, rather than a study visa.

I didn’t look in a lot of places for jobs. I didn’t want to commit and then find out that the law didn’t apply. I also thought that maybe certain employers wouldn’t understand that I still have a commitment to the orphans, although there are some local businesses that try to help non-profit causes.

Time was of the essence...

It was one of those open-ended prayer requests that I skimmed over daily, wondering if I should be more proactive about seeking an answer.

I had a certain time-frame in which I wanted to have my plans set. In May I was busy planning my Africa trip. In July I would be busy at camp and getting ready to leave for the States. So I was hoping to make a decision by the end of June. That didn’t leave a lot of time, especially if there were interviews or paperwork involved.

By the beginning of June, having returned from Africa, I was still uncertain. I had a few options, and it seemed logical to just go with the "best" fit, even if it wasn't ideal. But I still couldn't bring myself to make a commitment. It was already seeming too late to start applying for a work visa for the fall, but I still wanted to have some defined plans, even if the timeframe wasn't what I had planned on.

An idea...

Then one day I was praying about something else entirely and God suddenly impressed it on my heart to check out another option one more time. It was an option that I had given up on after trying unsuccessfully to obtain the contact information of a woman that runs an ESL center here. A mutual acquaintance had promised to give her my contact information, but I never heard from her, and assumed that they weren't looking for teachers. But I knew that another missionary was getting a visa from there, so I asked her and she said she definitely recommended this language school. So I sent an email to the address she gave me.

Was it the right idea?

I waited for an answer to the email, and it didn't come. I looked up the company online and emailed them and they didn't answer. Finally I looked up the director of the school and found her home phone number and called her. She recognized my name and said that she had emailed me offering me a job a few months prior, and never heard from me. Now the connection had finally been made.


The language school sounds like it was what I was looking for, and I agreed to work there. I will still come on the charity visa in the fall for a maximum of 90 days, while the work permit is being processed, and then I will transition into teaching. I will have to teach 15-20 hours, and I'm hoping that I will still be able to visit the orphanages in the afternoons, but not if it conflicts with the teaching quota. I'm sure it will all become much clearer in the fall.

On the same day that I reached the director of the language school, I learned that my charity visa will indeed be under the 90-day rule, so I definitely need the work visa to be able to stay here full-time. I sent off my paperwork just in time to leave for camp.


  1. Hey, Elizabeth...we tried contacting an ESL school too through a Lisa C....a contact from St. Peter got it from an Elizabeth H...that might or might not be you. Do you know if they need any more ESL teachers? We were told they would in Oct/Nov?
    Can you email me at jnkbull@gmail.com if you have any info? Thanks! I am so glad you found a way to stay! We come the beginning of Sept...til November if possible longer:)

  2. Well, that worked out well! I'm so glad!

  3. And, I should say - if you ever hear of a language school that would want a pair of full-time teachers, and could offer a salary that would accomodate 2 parents and 4-5 children - let me know! We are prepared to live simply and "small", like Russians, but we do have to live!

  4. I'm wondering how it's going to work in terms of "demand and supply." Since the working visa is more complicated to get, language schools may be more eager to hire foreigners since it's a more serious commitment. I'm not sure how that will affect the numbers of students they get. I also wonder how many foreigners are actually trying to find work in Russia and how many are just paying to a get a visa "in name only." I will definitely keep my eyes open for opportunities.


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