The Amazing House Story

Photo Feb 06, 6 14 03 PM (1)

Here I am, sitting in an empty house, waiting for our furniture to arrive. No refrigerator, no stove, sleeping on an air mattress on the floor. It’s been 6 days now, since the Lord provided this house for us, and it’s such a cool story I really needed to share it. So here goes…

Selling our house in Franklin was way more difficult than anyone expected and we ended up accepting an offer that was quite a bit less than we were hoping for. Which meant that here in Argentina we had less options than we would have had otherwise. But this house was the third one we looked at and when I tell you the story you’ll see that it was nothing short of miraculous!

The day we looked at the house, the realtor said there was another party attempting to buy it and their only hindrance was that their bank financing wasn’t coming through. He said if we offered cash the owner would take it. But although we loved the house, we didn’t want to make a rushed decision, and there were also a few other houses we wanted to see. The following day we were going to Cordoba for a week to visit our families, so we prayed and said to the Lord that if this was the house for us we trusted Him to save it for us.

One reason this house was a perfect option is that due to all the paperwork, closing on a house in Argentina usually takes 45 days or more. In this case most of the preliminary paperwork had already been done for this other buyer so it meant we could close in less that 30 days, which also meant we would have a place to put our furniture when it arrived!

The other reason was that so far all the other houses we had seen were a bit outside our price range and the seller would have had to come down quite a bit or we couldn’t do it. But this house was large, had a yard, and was the closest of all of them to the downtown area, besides being right in our price range.

 

Fridge

This is my fridge

So a week later we got back from Cordoba and the next day the realtor calls us and says the other party is coming to the house at 6:30 that evening to sign a contract because they received their financing, but that if we still wanted it we should make our offer first. Karina and I both felt bad for these other people, so we made the decision that if the Lord wanted us to have the house the owner would have to take the initiative, and that we would not force our way into the situation and steal it away from these other people.

Now if you have a hard time believing this next part, I understand, but that afternoon the owner was watching TV with his wife and was flipping channels when all of a sudden a guy on the TV said the word “Tennessee”. He turned to his wife and said “We need to sell the house to the people from Tennessee!And that is exactly what happened!

We have a big God!

One more story to show this really was from God, and one that regretfully I didn’t remember until afterwards: The day we first went to see the house we had the address wrong and thought it was 2 houses further down the street. But as we walked past this house I felt a voice inside me say – “this is the house”. It was like my heart sort of jumped. But as we continued to walk past I looked at it and said to myself “no way, this house is way too nice” so I dismissed it. You see, the Lord was telling me something, and if I had paid attention, it would have saved us days of heartache.

I know this is a long post, but let me tell you about the house. First it is an answer to prayer in that it is perfect for large groups of people – huge kitchen, dining room, and a living room that can easily fit 30 to 35 people, and the layout is open, so you could realistically fit more than 50! Second, it has 2 guest rooms for the many guests we are expecting, plus an office area for each of us, and 3 bathrooms. Third, like I said before, it’s very close to downtown, and in fact only 10 blocks (less than a mile) from the central plaza that is the heart of the city! (It’s also 11 blocks from a famous street filled with pubs where all the students hang out.)

And one last thing. There are 9 towers (nine!) just like this one being built literally 2 blocks up the street from where we live, which means there will be 4 to 5 thousand people waiting to be reached right in our neighborhood!

Buildings

So, like I said, it is a miracle, and I’m actually living in the house, although there is quite a bit of fixing and cosmetic work that needs to be done (the whole house needs to be painted). But at least we have a place to live now and can tackle one job at a time. And I’m thankful for my sister and brother-in-law who are coming tomorrow to stay for several days and help fix a bunch of stuff.

Please pray for Lisa, out daughter, who is having her baby any day now. Pray also for no issues with Customs when our stuff arrives in 2 weeks. (Karina is in the US for the baby arrival and everything is in her name.) Also next month we are having a meeting with pastors from the US partnership and people from 3 other potential Vineyards here in Argentina. It will be great to meet face to face.

Anyway, let me leave you with this: We have an amazing God!

Mark

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Expect Delays

Expect Delays 2

Hello dear friends,

I guess the story of this move has been a lesson in “Hurry up and wait”. Starting with the delay in selling our Franklin house (more than two months longer than expected), to the delay in leaving for Mendoza (3 weeks later than expected), to the shipping of our household items (almost 2 months later than expected), well, you get the picture.

And here we are 4 1/2 weeks in Mendoza now, and still in “waiting mode”. And in the meantime we feel like any ministry has been placed on hold until we are “settled”, or at least until we have a place to call home. (Instead of living out of our suitcases as we have been since mid-January!) Still our list of people we are praying for is growing, and in fact one guy told me once we started up our meeting he’d like to come and check it out!

But what can I say? we know the Lord’s timing is always better than ours. And we have been trying to learn patience and perseverance and the Lord has been continually good to us. In fact, when we get to our lowest, or most anxious moments, He will drop a little bit of grace into our laps, to remind us He’s still carrying us in his hand. This has happened over and over again in the time we have been here.

So where do things stand? We should finally be closing on our new house this coming Friday (a week later than expected) and we can probably move in Friday or Saturday, although we won’t have any furniture or anything. We are praying that this will actually happen. In the meantime we had to move out of our apartment but are staying temporarily with some friends. Karina is leaving for the US next Tuesday for the baby’s arrival. (I’m going to be a grandfather, wow!) She’ll be gone for 6 weeks,  but I finally got an Argentine temporary document with which I should be able to drive and at least open a bank account in the meantime. Meanwhile I’m trying to apply for permanent residency, but I can’t get a hearing until April.

Maureen

So our stuff is finally on the ocean, on the MSC Maureen (above) scheduled to arrive at the end of the month which is a huge relief! That was one of the final loose ends that is now resolved. The last major loose end is that I had some translation work I bid for but the people never got back to me, so please pray for work for me (and for Karina too) in these upcoming months.

Well, I apologize for the long post. We are doing fine and in good health, enjoying the summer weather down here. Trusting in the Lord to keep smoothing the way one detail at a time. (And I have only shared a few of the issues we face!)

Lots of love to all of you, we appreciate the prayers!

Mark

 

Another Big Day!

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Today was a day that started off in confusion and ended up in immense gratitude. Three weeks to the day of having arrived in Mendoza we made an offer on a house and it was accepted! Not to get into all the details, but there seemed to be complications with almost every house we wanted to look at or they would be taken off the market. This house was one of the first we saw, and we loved it, but there was another buyer who had dibs on it. So we said “Lord, if you want us to have this house, you can make it happen”. But today, after being quite discouraged most of the day yesterday, the realtor called and said the owner wanted to sell to us! So, if all goes well, we close on our house in Franklin early next week and we should have this house ready by the time our furniture gets here at the end of March.  (Lord willing!)

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The house is older, but it’s in move-in condition with just cosmetic and minor work that will have to be done.  Very close to Mendoza city center, close to the universities, 3 blocks away from one of the main avenues in the city. It’s basically everything we prayed for, and at the right price too! Oh, and it has a vacant lot next door that we’re saying can be the future Viña church building!

Anyway, I can tell you all more about it in a future post. Right now I also need to thank the Lord because our furniture finally got picked up last week! As of now the container is being loaded on the ship. (We can track it on the web.) From there it will take about 4 weeks to get to us.

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And we want to thank our amazing friends from the Franklin Vineyard who worked so hard helping us sort our things, pack boxes, haul car loads to donation centers, clean the house, and the enormous job of loading the container. A huge thank you! You know who you are, and we are so deeply grateful to you and to your kind, generous and willing hearts. It goes without saying that we could not have done any of this without you!

So now that we will have a stable base of operations, it’s time to start praying about the next steps!

Blessings to you all, and thank you so much for your prayers. They are working!

Mark

A Very Big Day

Photo Feb 07, 3 58 56 PMHello dear friends,

We have been in Argentina for 2 weeks now. The time has really flown! After our first week in Mendoza, we took a 10 hour bus ride to Villa Maria, Cordoba to visit my mom and dad and sister. (That is us on the bus in the photo.) It was a most excellent time, and it was great too see them all in good health and doing fine. From there we came to the city of Cordoba, where I am writing now, to visit Karina’s side of the family. It’s also been a nice relaxing time and they are all doing great. Tomorrow we head back to Mendoza to start seriously house hunting.

So why is today a big day?

Not just because it’s Valentine’s day (They don’t celebrate it here anyway), but because today our container is finally supposed to arrive and we have our good friends on hand in Franklin ready to load it up! After all these false starts it’s finally happening! We are also praying for no rain because rain is forecasted all day. In all reality, we thank God for the delay because now it will arrive here at the end of March which gives us time to find a place to put our stuff in.

The other reason it’s a big day it that today we should hear back from the buyer of our old house as far as the final settlement of the contract. The buyer said that the home inspector found quite a few things that they wanted fixed, so we countered by offering him cash to fix the things himself. Today we should receive his answer, and hopefully that is the end of it and we can finally close!

It’s not over yet

But as in every step of the way, we have also had our setbacks, so please continue to pray for us. The first is that, because of the delay, now Karina won’t be here when the container arrives, and everything was done in her name. She will be traveling back to the US on March 13 for the birth of our grandson. But at Customs they told us she will need to be here in order for them to release our stuff. Still, our freight guy here says he can get a work-around, so we need to pray for that. Otherwise either Karina will have to come back early (with a penalty) or we will have to pay storage charges a the dry dock. (Which could be  a lot of money.)

The other thing is that we found out that from the time you put money down on a house here until you actually close the time could easily be 40 days. That could put us after the container arrives, so we need to pray that we be able to close quickly. We have already looked at a few houses and there are 2 we would be fine with (see photos below). But we have a list of around 10 more we want to see. All in the general area we want to live in, and within our price range.

So please don’t stop praying for us yet! And the list of people in Mendoza we have met  and are praying for is constantly growing. We are kind of waiting until Karina gets back from the States to start “seriously” meeting, but in the meantime we are trying to show the love of Jesus to all that come our way. We also need a place to live for the month of March, since we have to give back our little apartment. We’ll probably just rent a room in a house, especially since Karina will be gone 1/2 the month.

Thank you for being there for us!

Mark

Mendoza – Day 1

mendoza birthday

We are finally in Mendoza! We left Nashville at 4:30pm Tuesday and arrived at 5:10pm Wednesday, minus 2 of our bags. It appears one is in Buenos Aires and one in Toronto, but we should get them tomorrow. But besides that everything went smoothly.

The great news for the day is that a prospective buyer accepted our counter-offer on the house. He is paying cash too! So if everything goes well, we should be able to close in 21 days. Thank you Lord!!! Please pray that everything goes well with the inspections and all that.

So today, Thursday, was our first full day in Mendoza. It was also Karina’s birthday! So we celebrated by going out to have “Café con Leche” for breakfast. (See photo above.) We are staying until the end of the month at an apartment we are sub-letting from someone we met of Facebook. It is a nice little 2 room apartment in the downtown area. We have until February 28 to find something else. The apartment is 3 blocks away from a huge conglomeration of bars and pubs. Crowded even on a Wednesday night! I said to Karina – here is our church!

We then met our freight forwarder who is a nice Christian man and is working as hard as he can to get our stuff shipped. There have been delays at the ports due to the winter weather we had 2 weeks ago, but he promises us we have a reserved space on a ship that sails next week and they should pick it up Monday or Tuesday. It seems sort of strange to not be there when our stuff is loaded, but we are so grateful for our friends from church that are doing that for us, especially Nancy Hawkins, Mike Gray and Kelly Choate. But they are not the only ones. And thanks to our daughter Lisa who is bravely keeping everything under control with the house sale, the container and everything else.

Anyway this man and his wife invited us to lunch and then drove us around a bit to see some neighborhoods. They go to a Baptist church that has more than 5000 members (!) We’ll probably visit there on Sunday.

Then for dinner we met with a woman called Roxana who is now the third member of our new church! She got saved at a Vineyard church in Chile and has since moved here and has been anxiously waiting for the Vineyard to start up. She has 3 children and her husband is still working in Chile. We had some good conversation over steak sandwiches (“lomitos”) and then went to see her nephew play at a bar. I want to meet a lot of musicians, and I hear it’s a very tight-knit community here in Mendoza.

mendoza birthday 2

Anyway I just wanted everyone to know we arrived safely and are doing great. Tomorrow we start house hunting!

Thank you for your prayers!

Mark

Tomorrow we go!

Ordination

So here we are, our last full day in Nashville. It seems really strange because it hasn’t really sunk in. If actually feels like any other trip – except that this time there’s no return! We leave tomorrow at 4:35pm from Nashville, to Toronto, to Santiago, and arrive in Mendoza at 5:10 pm Wednesday. (I know, that’s a long trip, but they were the most affordable tickets we could find.)

It was rough being in the last church service at the Vineyard and La Viña and saying goodbye to our dear friends. (Karina did’t go – she was at home still packing and sorting.) We had to say goodbye to our bird, Billy, on Saturday, and to Karina’s car (also called Billy) on Sunday.

As far as everything else, the house hasn’t sold yet, but we did get an offer that, while a bit low,  we are willing to work with and see if we can reach an agreement. Our container still hasn’t come, and it looks like tomorrow it won’t either, at this point. So we are leaving our friends Doug and Nancy in charge of getting it loaded up whenever it does come. And are also thankful for our many other friends who have offered to help.

So our next update will be either from the airport of from Mendoza. We appreciate your prayers. If God is teaching us to trust in Him, then we are doing our best in the midst of our circumstances. After all, Abraham waited 25 years for the fulfillment of God’s promise to him, so I think we can wait a few weeks!

Mark

Today we bought our tickets!

CheapOair.com_Logo

Yes, even though our house still hasn’t sold (and it’s been almost two months!), the news for today is we went ahead and purchased tickets to fly out of BNA on Tuesday Jan 30 at 4:35 pm. It was a very good fare – too good to pass up. 

In the meantime, we are thanking the Lord because last night I was all ready to click the “Purchase” button on tickets for next Wednesday, the 24th, but I just felt uneasy about it, which now I know was the Holy Spirit’s warning. So this morning I called my pastor, Jon, and he suggested we wait one more week to travel. 
You see, our plan all along has been to ship our stuff out on the 18th, to be the ship that sails the 25th from Charleston. Well then later today I get a call from our freight forwarder to say there may not be space available on that ship, which means we may not be able to load until the 25th – the day AFTER we would have flown out of here with our non-refundable tickets! So yes, thank you Lord!
It still may ship out this Thursday, and if anyone is available to come over and help us load, please let me know. Or in all probability it will be a week from Thursday, but I’ll keep you all posted. And since we’ll be here anyway, it gives us more time to pack, as well as to sell stuff we’re not taking.
what-fits-40-foot-container
Anyway we are trusting in God in the midst of this “hurry up and wait” season, and He has been showing us his goodness, not just in things like what happened today, but people have been extremely generous to us in their support, and we are blown away by this outpouring of love.
Anyway, we are Going to Mendoza, come what may!
Until later
Mark