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

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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.

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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!

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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.
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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

We get sent off

Vineyard Sendoff

Well today we officially got prayed for and sent off by our sending church, Vineyard Franklin, along with a host of friends, new and old. They threw a great party for us, with amazing food and live jazz courtesy of my good buds David Ives, Kevin Kirkpatrick and Davin McLaird. (This last part was a total surprise!) Around 120 people came to say good-bye.

There were prophetic words spoken over us, and a lot of words of appreciation, and even gifts. What a great night! With both of us now being “oficially unemployed” the generosity of some of our friends over these last several weeks has moved us to tears. God is showing us his amazing love though our brothers and sisters. (as well as confirming this calling over and over again.)

In the meantime, our house hasn’t sold so we’re not going anywhere just yet. We pushed our shipping date out one more week, to the 18th. (It has to be on a Thursday because the ship leaves every Thursday. ) So if anyone can come by and help us load that morning, that would be great! (We don’t have an actual time yet, but they said early in the morning.) But we are NOT moving the date any further out.

Meanwhile we are spending our days packing, sorting through what to take and what not to take. It’s amazing how much junk we have accumulated in the last 30 years. We left Seattle for Boston back in 1987 with only what would fit in our car and now here we’re filling up a 40 ft container. Here’s what a 40 foot container looks like:

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8ft x 8ft x 40 ft.

So please keep us in your prayers. The house needs to sell, and soon!

Mark and Karina

Waiting for Rain

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Hello dear friends and supporters,

We have been building this ark for almost a year now, and still no signs of rain! (What that means is that our house hasn’t sold yet, after more than a month on the market and despite everyone telling us it would sell in 2 to 3 days.)

According to our plan, we would have a contract by now and we would be on our way to Mendoza by Jan 15. Now we are trying to discern God’s purpose in this, and coming up with alternate plans of action if needed.

We already have rented an apartment in Mendoza by faith for the months of January and February, and have also decided by faith to go ahead and ship our household goods on January 11. (The ship leaves every Thursday. ) We also, by faith, have ended our jobs, so we have all the time we need to pack and prepare.

As many of you know, the reason we waited this long to put our house on the market was that we had decided to spend one last Christmas at home with the kids, even knowing the end of the year is a difficult selling season. And thankfully Rafael, Samantha and Lisa were all able to be here and we’re having a wonderful time. But now it’s time for it to sell or rent, or whatever the Lord has planned for us.

But please pray that the house will sell and for the timing of it, and that we’ll know what to do.  I know God will provide for us during this transition time, and he already has in some unexpected ways.

Sunday January 7 at 6:00pm the Vineyard will be having a huge going away celebration for us. If you live close to here, you are welcome to join us!

Merry Christmas to all of you and thank you for your prayers and support!

Mark and Karina

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