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November 2, 2011

Delegates from some of the Central Conferences face the difficulties involved of travelling from sometimes remote villages, to the closest airport in their country, then on to the U.S.  If they are a citizen of a country upon which the U.S.A. has imposed strict visa requirements to obtain an entry permit, sometimes that challenge can result in never being able to gain governmental approval to fulfill their responsibility to serve as a General Conference delegate.  Multiple trips to a U.S. embassy or consulate, frequently at a great distance from their residence, are not uncommon.  It the delegate is never able to obtain a visa, in the best case scenario that is known so that a reserve delegate from that annual conference who can obtain a visa is able to obtain travel documents and attends.  In a few cases, entire delegations have been unable to obtain a visa, leaving the delegation without any representation at General Conference.  We are a global church, but governmental authorities deal with our delegates as citizens of another country seeking to travel for a period of time to the U.S.

-Steve Zekoff

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