Hesitating to sound mercenary .... but here goes....
For the past few years, our church has been building a relationship with Music Mission Kiev, an outstanding ministry that reaches out to widows and orphans in Kiev -- but it also reaches out to musicians. Part of the outreach arm of this ministry is the Kiev Symphony Orchestra and Chorus -- they tour the US about every other year or so, and this year, our congregation is priviledged to host them for two concerts in October (see more on our concert below).
Sadly I received yesterday an email to Music Mission Kiev supporters telling us that their Visa application is being challenged. I have reproduced below the contents of that email.
We need your help in writing letters to the immigration service.
We have received a notice from the INS that they are challenging our VISA applications for our musicians. Even though this is our eighth tour to the US and we have always been accepted without challenge, they are choosing to do so at this late date.
As an organization we are not panicking over this situation, but are concerned. We have sent in all the additional information they have requested, but it would be increasingly helpful if they heard from you.
The important issue at hand is proving that we are "culturally unique." Not just a group that performs great music, but that we provide a program that is culturally unique of Ukrainian culture to share with American's. This is where the challenge lies.
If you have seen a performance in the US, I ask that you would help us by writing a letter sharing what you experienced at a concert. It is important that the INS hears first hand of how American have responded to attending one of our concerts.
Please note in the letter that you attended a concert on a previous tour and any credentials about yourself that might be helpful.
Time is critical, so if you could send a letter to our immigration attorney by fax: 813-224-0121 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have contacts within the federal government, we would greatly appreciate their help in this process. The processing is being held-up in the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in Laguna Nigiel, CA. Visa Receipt #WAC0621750101.
We are prayerful that we will get approved this week, and trust in the Lord on yet another hurdle to overcome to bring the Glory of the Lord to the US through our concerts.
Please pray for us as we wait upon the decision from the government.
Freinds, I'm writing to ask for your help -- first in prayer. Second that you might contact anyone you might know in the federal government (I've gone through our local representitive, Jean Schmidt -- her office has been very helpful). This is a significant ministry and they are quite deserving of travel visas to the US.
Third, if you know of people in and around the Cincinnati area, please let them know about our concerts: Saturday October 28 at 7pm; Sunday October 29 at 4pm. The cost for a ticket is $15 ($10 for seniors) -- it's a thrilling evening of Christ centered entertainment (both classical music and Ukrainian folk music), and you get to learn a little more about the great work of the mission. This would even be a great weekend away for some of you within a day's driving distance from Cincinnati (with the added bonus that you could worship with us at Covenant-First Pres on Sunday). The church office is 513-621-4144 if you're interested.
Thanks for any help you can offer on any or all of these points.
Soli Deo Gloria