The Scouting Trip Pt. 2

Luggage

It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole month now since our trip to Mendoza. The confirmation of the move is still very clear in our minds.

The photo is all the luggage we took: 4 suitcases plus 2 carry-ons plus 2 guitars! Thankfully we had to pay only minimal extra bag fees.

I wanted to say something about the people we met there. Three months ago we didn’t know a single person in Mendoza. Then we started meeting people online, and in this trip we finally got to meet them face to face.

Millers

I can’t say enough good things about our hosts who I already mentioned, Debbie and Bill Miller, pictured above. The fact that they opened up their house to us and fed us without even knowing us was amazing. They are great people and we felt an instant bond in the Spirit.

Some of the other people we met were: a Baptist pastor from Chicago, Adrian Ferrari who just planted a church in one of the Mendoza suburbs. He had us over for dinner and we were also able to meet his wife Krystal and his 5 kids (including a newborn baby!). They have been in Mendoza for less than a year.

Ferraris

Another pastor we met was Cristian Mikkan who is from Mendoza but lived for a time in the US. He started a modern Hillsong type church in an auditorium right in the downtown area less than 3 years ago and they are growing and doing great!  (Sorry the picture is so fuzzy.)

Cristian

We also spent time with the daughter and son in law of the Millers who we were staying with. He is also a Mendoza native and an architect. And finally Daniel, another man from Mendoza who used to live in Nashville. We actually ended up praying together and I he was very encouraged by our time with him.

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Anyway, all these new friends were all extremely encouraging and said they would support us in any way they could. I think after each encounter we were more convinced that this is the right thing. There were also a few other contacts we had that we didn’t have time to meet with. And I later found out I have a high school classmate who lives in Mendoza. We got in touch later through Facebook.

All these connections – God is so amazing!

We spent quite a bit of time driving around the neighborhoods and got a feel of where the safe and unsafe places are to live are, as well as getting familiar with the main avenues and the public transportation (which is very good – buses and trams). We did realize that, because of how bad the economy is, things in general are very expensive. Like gas: $6 a gallon!

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So we came back with a love for the city of Mendoza and its people. We also got some invaluable advice regarding the specifics of the move. One of the main things is we realized we can rent a container and ship our household items, because things like furniture and appliances are very expensive down there. Still we’d come out way ahead, as compared to selling everything here at yard sale prices and buying it all again down there, which was our original plan. We will probably ship a car as well because used cars cost way more than they do here.

To end, in summary, we can hardly wait to go back! We are so ready. I think these next eight months will go by very fast!

The Scouting Trip – Pt. I

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Thanks to the generosity of our own church and the two churches from the Argentina Partnership (Vineyard), this past May we were able to go on a scouting trip to see what Mendoza was like and get a feel for the place. I had never been there before, and Karina had been there once as a little girl. We flew out on May 22  and after an overnight flight we landed in Santiago, Chile at 6:00 in the morning. We had set up an 8:00 clock meeting with Roger Cunningham, who pastors the largest Vineyard church there, as well as being one of the founding pastors of the movement in Chile.  We spent a couple of hours chatting with him and he was very encouraging, promising his support and praying a blessing over us. We felt very encouraged by this and by him taking the time to meet with us.

Andes

We then flew over the Andes mountains to Mendoza, which is less than an hour flight. When our feet were finally on the ground we prayed a prayer claiming the city for Jesus and his kingdom. (It was a very powerful moment.) We were met at the airport by Debbie Miller, whose husband co-pastors a large Evangelical church in Mendoza. They are friends of the parents of a family at our church. When we met her through Facebook, she insisted we stay with them, even though they didn’t even know us personally!

They were great hosts and were able to explain to us a lot of the basics of living there, plus she drove us around the first day to help us get familiar with the city.

We were there for most of 4 days, and were able to meet some key people and get to know some of the neighborhoods that we might want to live in. Mendoza itself is small, about 250 thousand people and you can drive from one and of the city to the other in about 20 minutes. It has the feel of a big city but it’s not crowded at all. It is very beautiful with tree lined streets and lots of plazas. Even the airport was tiny, but clean and modern.

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This trip was such a confirmation and we now are very much confident we are doing the right thing. We felt right at home and completely love the city.

Part II to follow.