I have crossed paths with Pastor Kevin Sanders in the Philippines before we moved to the United States in 2015. He was a missionary and worked with youth and students in Manila and in Pampanga. He has lived in the Philippines for a total of 11 years! He can also understand and speak Tagalog.
In this interview, Kuya Kevin and I talk about many things:
his experience as an American missionary in the Philippines;
how he met his wife in the Philippines, got married, and moved back to the US;
what he has learned after being married to a Filipina;
what it is like becoming a father, and raising a biracial kid; and
some nuances and corrections about perceptions on American family culture, as well as some challenges he has seen among families of overseas Filipinos.
Almost a year ago, I sat down virtually with Pastor Melvin Guerrero, who moved to the USA a year before I did. We talked about the challenges of adjusting to a new life in the US, raising kids, fitness, and how they dealt with two miscarriages.
Watch our full conversation below on YouTube. If you prefer the audio version, continue scrolling down and listen via SoundCloud.com.
I have known Pastor Melvin Guerrero back in the Philippines because we both belong to the United Methodist Church. He moved to Jacksonville, FL in the USA in 2014 with his wife and kids. He also came on an R1 visa before becoming a permanent resident.
I planned to post a few interviews with fathers sometime in 2020. But, as with many things lately, life happened! My schedule had severely changed with the coming of our third son, the pandemic, and working from home. A number of personal projects needed to take a backseat. Oh, and I have many stories about managing family life with my wife Cha! Having three young boys is a handful!But those stories need to wait. Thankfully, I found some time recently and now I am posting the first in a series of posts about fatherhood with this interview with Pastor Caloy Diño.
Who is Kuya Caloy Dino?
Kuya Caloy Dino served with several Christian organizations in the Philippines: Far Eastern Broadcasting Company (FEBC), Global Filipino Movement, and at the Center for Community Transformation. Prior to entering full-time ministry, he was a marketing consultant and worked with some of the top companies in the Philippines. He is married and has three kids.
He and I worked together on projects several years ago for Christian radio station FEBC and with other initiatives and social media training for churches and Christian organizations in the Philippines. We also got together regularly with other like-minded folks, sharing stories and ideas on how to make the world a better place.
In this video, we talk about fatherhood and the challenges of raising kids, juggling time for work, ministry, and family. Enjoy!
In March 2015, I received my US R-1 Visa, which allowed me to accept a job offer in the Philippines. If you’re not familiar, R-1 is the visa granted for religious workers to work legally in the USA. Although I am not a pastor, I moved to the USA to take on a job with a religious organization, which is tre church I belong to–The United Methodist Church.
Based on conversations with our organization’s lawyer, and based on my reading of the requirements, I need to wait until I have completed two (2) years of service with my current organization before I could apply for a Green Card.
My official first day of work was May 1, 2015. That meant that the earliest time I could apply for a Green Card is May 1, 2017.
Just to make sure that I would not be a out-of-status in the US, my employer applied for an extension of my R-1 visa. The initial R-1 visa is good for two and a half years, renewable for another 2.5 years for a total of 5 years.
We got the extension but I didn’t apply right away. I got occupied by my responsibilities at work, which is why it took me another year to apply.
The process to apply for a Green Card of Permanent Residence in the US can be complicated and expensive. But if you are willing to read a lot of documents, and carefully fill out the application forms, you can choose not to use a lawyer’s services.
Disclaimer: This is not a legal advice on immigration. I am just sharing my experience for educational purposes.
Here are 7 tips to help you apply for a US Green Card without a lawyer.
Our son Malcolm was a few months short of two years when we started planning for our move to the USA.
We decided to start talking to him mainly in English to help him prepare for the transition since he will be surrounded by English-speaking Americans.
Nope, that is not how it turned out. We were wrong.
Teach Filipino first!
Looking back, the same reasoning would have helped our son acquire Filipino as a mother-tongue first. Since he’s surrounded by English-speaking people–in church, at school, and in our neighborhood he could easily pick the language up.
Back in October 2018, we applied for Permanent Residence (Green Card) in the USA. We initially did not include the medical examination (Form I-693). The form said that we can submit it at a later time, which, I thought, made sense.
So in June 2019, I sent our Forms I-693 to the USCIS. It had a cover letter and included the receipt numbers for our application, as well as our A numbers.